The Retrofit Companies Blog

Industry Expert NALMCO Highlights LED Project

LM&M Magazine

 

A Must-Read in the Lighting Industry.

LM&M, the official NALMCO publication, provides information on the latest industry trends and developments in planned lighting maintenance and lighting technology — content that’s beneficial for NALMCO members as well as owner-occupiers and other industry professionals.  

 

TRC is thrilled to grace the pages of the NALMCO LM&M Magazine as a featured Project Spotlight in the newly released May issue. NALMCO is an organization that has really set the standard for Lighting Quality Management and brings together business experts in the Lighting Industry.

We are a proud member of NALMCO and are honored to share our case study, focusing on LED lighting, design and energy savings in schools and school districts, with the loyal LM&M readers. We get a lot of questions from our customers regarding success stories that they can relate to, and so many businesses face similar challenges to those that were resolved in this project. Check out the original case study Lakeville School District - Lighting Case Study.

 

LM&M May Cover

 

 

Are these issues sounding familiar? Take a look at our Investment Grade Audit E-Book to learn why this the likely the next step for you.get a smart start to your lighting projectReady to take that next step and improve your lighting? Have questions about if you should go with LED lights and why?

Talk to a Lighting Expert

 

 

5 Ways Lighting Can Save Our Planet

 

Chances are that your business has discussed ways to limit their carbon footprint, be more environmentally friendly and maybe even kick starting some green initiatives. Learn more about how easy it is have a positive impact on our planet with this 5 Easy Ways Lighting Can Save Our Planet infographic. 

 

Lighting Can Save the Planet - Infographic

How-To Find the Best Energy Rebates


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You probably know that there are a lot of energy rebates out there that may save you money upfront or have a great payback in the end. But are you sure you are maximizing your savings through energy rebate programs? Do you hear about rebate programs in your area but are not sure what you quality for?

TRC has a team of experts that help you find rebates through utility companies and other programs to reduce upfront costs and increase your payback. We pride ourselves on serving our customers with a full service rebate program from start to finish, providing the research, expertise and best possible options for each project as we stay on top of the ever-changing rebate programs.

Step 1: Make rebates easy

This is the easy part, just call one of our experts and we will help you find the best rebate programs in your area.

Schedule a call with our lighting consultant

But if you want to know a little bit more before calling...

Step 2: Know your market

The LED market is expanding rapidly and this energy-efficient lighting is becoming more affordable. The utility companies are adjusting the rebate levels based on these trends. Rebates for some LED lighting categories have reduced in 2018, but new lighting categories get added to the rebate programs as the lighting technologies continue to change and develop. There is still time to take advantage of the opportunity to save on your energy efficient LED lighting.

Step 3: find the right rebate program

We can help you determine what programs you qualify for and where you can maximize your savings. Many businesses will qualify for programs under the following utilities, however most utility companies (small or large) offer some sort of rebate program. Call us and we will do the work for you!

Xcel Energy

  • Prescriptive and custom rebates
  • Larger users often qualify for Xcel rebates
  • Rebate Finder Tool

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CEE (Xcel Energy territory program)

  • Calculated based off of total energy savings
  • If you are a smaller user within an Xcel territory, you may qualify for these rebates

SMMPA (Southern MN Municipal Power Agency)

  • Prescriptive and custom rebates

Step 4: take it a step further for more savings

Have you considered installing lighting controls in your building for even greater savings? Lighting controls can save thousands on annual energy bills while increasing comfort in your building and making it easier to run. As part of Xcel Energy’s Efficiency Controls program, you may qualify for a cash incentive that corresponds to the energy-savings potential of your control system.

The more energy your project saves, the more your business can earn rebate dollars.

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By working with our rebate experts, you could be saving your business hundred or thousands of dollars just by letting us guide you. It’s so easy, call us and we will walk you through the simple steps.

Schedule a call with our lighting consultant


 

The Surprising Impact of Lighting Redesign

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Before their lighting redesign and retrofit, this arena building was underlit and had major shadows.

Rick A Shay Ranch is a horse lover’s sanctuary nestled at the end of a wooded drive in Chisago City, Minnesota. Owner operator Pam Foshay started her ranch nearly 20 years ago, and describes her history with horses as spanning several decades including a notable list of credentials. On the ranch Pam offers lessons, boarding, and training in a range of styles from basic handling and trail riding to dressage and games. The training is physical and mental for all involved. From her description, most of her clients are children and young adults with whom she loves to share her vast experience and cites that best parts of her job are the long relationships she is able to have with riders. She says some of them started with her when they were under ten years old. She has watched them grow, volunteer, and develop their dedication to the hard work of caring for the animals into impressive points of interest when applying for colleges and jobs. Many of them are now in their 20’s and still spend time at Rick A Shay Ranch.

Pam’s primary arena was constructed in the late 1990’s, and at the time, the lights installed were previously used. Some of the primary issues with the old lighting, aside from being inefficient and expensive to operate, included cones of light and many shadows within the arena area. She knew it was time for an upgrade, so she began working with The Retrofit Companies to have a new lighting system designed and installed.

Consultants from The Retrofit Companies designed a system where interior and exterior metal halide and incandescent fixtures were replaced with new LED fixtures. Inside, the 17 existing metal halide fixtures that used over 450 watts each were replaced with 12 new LED fixtures that consume only 102 watts per fixture. With the system redesign five fixtures were removed, and lighting performance is improved. Photometric studies prior to installation allow us to see projected outcomes and determine if a fixture will perform in the manner expected. On the exterior of the building, new LED fixtures with dusk-to-dawn sensors now light the side of the building and the doorways automatically as needed, making early chores easier for her and late departures safer for her clients.

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After the project was completed, inside was almost as bright at the outside!

We asked Pam about the other improvements she and her riders have experienced since the project was completed, and were surprised by some of her answers. She told us that people comment on the improved look and that the better lighting is important to the young riders as they learn new skills. Regarding the performance of the system she says, “It’s two times brighter, and no glare. We turn them on, and zing, they’re on!” She noted that it’s nice and bright, and during the winter it’s always a sunny day inside. “It’s inviting, let’s put it that way.” We know that improved lighting does have an impact on people, and has been proven to increase productivity so we asked about the horses. One of the most interesting aspects of the project we think, was Pam’s answer to this inquiry. She says the horses can see better in the new light. They are able to better use all of the arena space since shadows are reduced and they’re more relaxed; in turn this relaxes the riders for a more enjoyable learning experience.

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Pam’s new lighting system is anticipated to reduce her annual lighting costs by an astonishing 84%. The LED retrofit qualified for a utility rebate of $4,100, and offers a simple payback of one year and nine months. These remarkable results aren’t exclusive to large projects, or giant warehouse spaces, even smaller businesses can see dramatic improvements with lighting redesign and upgrade projects.

Curious about lighting redesign and project planning? Get our ebook!

Why invest in a lighting study?

 

Linear LED & Other T8 LED Resources

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There's a giant world of information about LED linear tube options, energy efficient lighting, and how to get the most from your retrofit project, but do you really have the time to seek it all out? If you're like most any professional we've met, the answer is no. You need concise, accurate information in order to make informed business decisions. To save you a few clicks, today we're sharing a rundown of all our information about T8 LED tubes to date - from "What is a Linear LED T8?" to some recall products we've noted, and a video of how simple installation mis-steps result in product failures. Keep reading for a distilled list of high points!

 

1) Are you considering a lighting upgrade by replacing your T8 fluorescent lamps with T8 LED linear tubes for energy efficiency? This is a wonderful leap in the lighting world, affording lighting designers, facility managers, and other contractors the ability to essentially retrofit existing fluorescent fixtures with LED linear tube options. It can be seen to have benefits and cost savings over a major redesign and new lighting system overhaul; however, there are many considerations to be aware of as you begin planning your lighting project if you only intend to replace fluorescent tubes with LED tubes.Unfortunately, it’s never as simple as just changing a light bulb. Keep reading to learn some of the pitfalls and concerns to keep in mind as you learn about LED T8 lamps. [READ MORE]

 

2) There are 3 general types of T8 LED tubes used in LED lighting retrofit projects. In this post we evaluate each of these LED linear tube options, sharing best uses, and some pros and cons.

 

3) Deeply consider how you would like to approach your lighting upgrade investment, are you simply looking for greater energy efficiency, or do you want to improve lighting, reduce maintenance expenses, and step in to the future with a well-designed system?

 

4) One common retrofit includes integrated LED lamps to eliminate the need for a ballast. This might be the right solution for your facility, but this video illustrates the future care and education required of each individual tasked with maintaining a lighting system. There is a large potential for injury for an uninformed individual maintaining these systems. LED T8 hazards exist, and a simple oversight can cause serious damage. Watch here to see how two common mistakes are made in maintaining integrated LED T8 fixtures.

 

5) Deciding to invest in energy-efficiency is a decision that every company or business must come by on their own. Oftentimes, an investment in energy-efficiency will yield more than a return on investment. Let’s look at 9 signs that could be telling you it’s time to consider investing in LED Lighting.

 

6) T8 LED Lamp recalls from Cree and from Sylvania.

 

Looking for additional insight? Our professional lighting consultants are available! Schedule now:

Consult a Lighting Pro

Understanding LED Linear T8 tubes

In our previous two blog posts, we discussed LED linear tube options for your LED lighting retrofit. First we gave an introduction and discussed some safety concerns, and then outlined the three types of LED tubes. Keep reading to learn a final set of variables to consider when selecting LED tubes, and next steps to get your project going on the right foot!

Know what you are trying to accomplish when selecting LED tubes

Even when you have the correct combination of linear LED tubes and existing ballast or wiring configuration, simply grabbing an LED tube and installing it may change lighting levels drastically, undoing the original success of a well-designed lighting solution. Safety and compatibility requirements aside, there are two additional primary factors to consider when selecting LED T8 linear lamps to help maintain good lighting design that may already exist in your space. The first is lumen output and the second is the beam angle of the lamp.

When LED tube wattage is too high, the result is an over lit space. This may mean you have more light than you need, and that’s not the end of the world; however, that result means energy is being wasted. You are dismissing potential energy and utility-cost savings. You don’t have the optimum lighting design for your application.
Beam angle is critical. A traditional fluorescent lamp casts light 360 degrees around the linear tube, but T8 LED is available in a range of beam spread from 160 to 325 degrees. Simply put, this beam spread can dramatically affect how a space looks when lit with linear LED. There are specific applications for beam angle, and using the incorrect beam angle could achieve undesired results. For example, a 160-degree beam angle will stripe a fixture and also change the optics of the fixture, once again undoing a well-designed project. A 325-degree beam angle lamp will not "stripe" a fixture and will utilize the optics of the fixture much like a fluorescent bulb.

If you are ready to make a change to energy-efficient LED, and a linear T8 LED seems like the best solution for you, it’s important to understand the variables you will face when confronted with this sizable purchase.

Next Steps for a Successful Lighting Project

  • Look for a neutral vendor, one pushing a single product line or manufacturer should be avoided. Choose someone that can explain the differences between products and price points so you can choose the solution that best fits your needs.

  • Ensure you have partnered with a lighting designer that has seen a variety of these lamps perform. One challenge that we face with this constantly improving technology is that photometric data on the lamps can’t be paired with IES fixture files in some instances.

  • Ask for case studies in industries similar to yours, or ask to see some products in action. It can be very helpful to see these lamps in person.

  • Ask for a test in your space. You may want to hire a reputable lighting partner to install a test area to be sure the results are what you want, and meet your lighting project goals.

  • Consider whether or not you need to increase light levels. Ask whether lighting controls would make sense for your business and lighting project goals. Both of these can impact how much energy a lighting project could save for your organization.

  • Always consult the utility company’s rebate guide to get the system with the most rebate incentive, a higher priced system may result in a lower NET project cost based on rebates. Without understanding these rebate structures, you may be leaving money on the table.

 

Deeply consider how you would like to approach your lighting upgrade investment, are you simply looking for greater energy efficiency, or do you want to improve lighting, reduce maintenance expenses, and step in to the future with a well-designed system? If you would like to know more about the benefits of a lighting retrofit beyond energy savings, we recommend our article outlining 6 other reasons to retrofit beyond money and energy savings.

If you're ready to get started with your energy efficient lighting upgrade, contact our constultants today!

Consult a Lighting Pro

 

3 types of linear Led tubes

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There are 3 general types of T8 LED tubes used in LED lighting retrofit projects. In this post we evaluate each of these LED linear tube options, sharing best uses, and some pros and cons. If you haven't yet read the previous introduction LED T8 technology, we recommend our post called  "T8 LED LIGHTING RETROFIT INTRODUCTION & SAFETY." Keep reading to learn about the three types and how they can benefit your energy efficient lighting upgrade.

TYPE A LINEAR LED TUBES

Type A Lamps are a fluorescent ballast compatible lamp with exceptions. These exceptions are expansive, in fact almost every manufacturer suggests consulting their list of compatibilities before installing LED T8 tubes. We have found that there are even scenarios where the LED lamp product is not compatible with ballasts from the same manufacturer.

The benefits of this type are that they come in different wattages and beam angles, and lumen output for this type can be controlled by the existing ballast: Low Power (LP), Normal Power (NP), and High Power (HP). Most often, these lamps are installed as a simple “relamp” project, but it is important to consider the age of your ballasts when choosing this type. If you intend to change ballasts the week after you install these LED lamps, that may undermine the goals and objectives of your project. Whether or not type A is going to be the best solution for your project depends greatly on your maintenance story.

TYPE B LINEAR LED TUBES

Type B lamps are a direct wire lamp, the most dangerous of the three. This lamp requires the ballast to be removed and the sockets wired direct to line voltage. This system will also require an un-shunted socket, where terminals on the ballast are wired independently. Even though the fixtures are to be marked as having a direct wired lamp, the potential for an LED ballast or LED driver type lamp being installed is great. This will cause severe problems including lamp failure, sparking, even fires. Because you eliminate the need for a ballast, these lamps are chosen when trying to maximize maintenance savings, but safety must be part of the overall consideration to choose a lamp of this type. We have shared a quick video that demonstrates how easily this fire hazard can occur

TYPE c LINEAR LED TUBES

Type C Lamps are an LED lamp with a fixture mounted driver, the drivers are now available with three different standard outputs as well as programmable for more or less output depending on the light levels required. The Type C lamp is also similar to an LED fixture, as you have a light engine and a separate driver. These lamps aren’t considered nearly as often as they should be. They typically offer the longest life, and dimming capability that the others do not. The reason they’re not chosen as often is due to their higher price point. Total Cost of Owning a lighting system should be evaluated when considering whether these are affordable for your project. The type C lamp has just recently achieved controllability using different Mili-amp Drivers. The drivers are more expensive, but in some instances the will achieve a higher lamp life rating 60,000 versus 50,000 hours.

 

Curious about what a LED retrofit can do? Check out our collection of case studies!

read more case studies on TRC blog

T8 LED Lighting Retrofit Introduction & Safety

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Are you considering a lighting upgrade and have you investigated replacing your T8 fluorescent lamps with T8 LED linear tubes for energy efficiency? This is a wonderful leap in the lighting world, affording lighting designers, facility managers, and other contractors the ability to essentially retrofit existing fluorescent fixtures with LED linear tube options. It can be seen to have benefits and cost savings over a major redesign and new lighting system overhaul; however, there are many considerations to be aware of as you begin planning your lighting project if you only intend to replace fluorescent tubes with LED tubes. Unfortunately, it’s never as simple as just changing a light bulb. Keep reading to learn some of the pitfalls and concerns to keep in mind as you learn about LED T8 lamps.

Be careful when selecting LED T8 replacement tubes

True lighting designers design spaces to be illuminated so they meet industry light level standards and the needs of the people who occupy a space allowing them to effectively do their work. After all, the lighting required in a retail setting or a classroom will be dramatically different than what is expected in a manufacturing facility or operating room.

In the days of fluorescent lighting great design was achieved with the correct combination of lamps, ballasts, and reflectors to gain maximum lighting for as little wattage input as possible using photometric design. This meant that these spaces were as energy-efficient as possible while maintaining adequate light levels for the activity taking place in them. Since the advent of LED technology, specifically Linear LED Tubes, many facilities are looking to make the leap into even greater efficiency by replacing their existing fluorescent tubes with linear LED tubes. See some recommended light levels for specific industries and types of tasks here.

Without replacing the fixtures, linear LED lamps allow facilities to effectively retrofit their fluorescent technology to something more efficient with relative ease. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, unfortunately there are many variables among the available LED tube products and selecting the wrong one to update your existing fixture could lead to a poor outcome ranging from being over lit or ruining your existing lighting design, to dramatic malfunctions that end up being an outright dangerous fire hazard.

In our next Linear T8 LED blog post, we will discuss three types of LED tubes, the scenarios where you might find them, and the potential outcome of incorrect energy efficient lighting retrofit procedure. While we know this technology to be effective, safe, energy-efficient, and that it looks great when properly installed, it is most definitely not a one-size-fits-all solution. 

Are you ready to learn more about planning for your LED lighting retrofit project? Read "How Much Does A Retrofit Cost?"

Get a Free E-Book "How much does a retrofit cost?"

Xcel Energy LED Retrofit Rebates Expanded

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Beginning July 1, 2016 Excel Energy is expanding their LED lighting rebate offerings for retrofit projects and new construction. Significant to this update is the inclusion of another type of 4 foot LED linear tube rebate for retrofit projects valued at $6 per lamp. Benefits for other tube type LED retrofits range from $2 to $10 per tube based on type.

The entire rebate structure for retrofits and new construction projects is available online for you here. This utility rebate program is available to Minnesota business customers of Xcel Energy.

Other rebate types for LED upgrades included in this program:

  • Exterior lighting such as parking garages, wall packs, parking lot, canopy lights and area lights.
  • Refrigeration lighting for freezers and refrigerators in convenience and grocery stores
  • Interior lighting including troffers, linear tubes, screw-ins, hibay and low bay lighting, and exit signs

 

Why upgrade to LEDs?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LEDs offer the potential for cutting general lighting energy use nearly in half by 2030, saving energy dollars and carbon emissions in the process. Additionally, they offer several advantages over conventional lighting:

  • A long life span, typically up to 50,000 hours or more, which can greatly reduce replacement and maintenance costs
  • They create a bright, shadow-free environment that can improve the safety and comfort of your employees and customers
  • Durability and reliability, they’re less prone to breakage and contain no mercury  
    Read the LED Information Sheet here.

 

If you're ready to learn more about how to get a rebate for your lighting project, please contact one of our lighting design experts today!

Consult a Lighting Pro

Is this the end of CFL?

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Not long ago GE announced that they will be ceasing production of CFL lamps. "By next year, many of those bulbs will no longer qualify for the coveted ENERGY STAR rating, which introduced a new lighting specification..." Is this the end of CFL?

You can read their full announcement here for more insight about energy efficient lighting and why the change is being made. The Department of Energy (DOE) cites GE's change as an example of a shift in the industry and a reason supporting the importance of their rule making efforts.

For consumers looking for more answers, we recommend reading the DOE article directly. It answers the following questions:

  • How did DOE develop the proposal, and what is a proposed rule making?
  • Why is DOE issuing efficiency standards for light bulbs?
  • How will the proposed rule affect consumer choices?
  • What would this rule mean for the average American family?

 

LED INSTANT utility REBATE FROM XCEL Minnesota

UPDATE: FEB 2016

Xcel Energy recently made their LED Instant Rebate available 'indefinitely' - check out these offers if you are considering a lighting upgrade project and contact TRC to get started!

 

Talk to a Consultant About Rebates

 

 

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE LIMITED-TIME OFFER!

Back in May of this year we published a blog post about the Xcel Energy Business LED Instant Rebate for Minnesota customers – a new rebate program that was launched in the beginning 2015. This utility rebate program was designed to help the commercial customers in Xcel Energy’s service territory upgrade to more efficient lighting, and make it more affordable by offering instant pricing incentives on select Energy Star rated LED’s.

To continue to help businesses increase the energy efficiency by converting to energy efficient LED lighting, Xcel Energy have come out with a limited-time rebate offer.

 

What is does this limited-time offer comprise of?

  • Decreased minimum customer contribution for promotional rebates from $5 to $2 per qualifying lamp or retrofit;
  • Increased rebate amounts, which are shown in the table below:

 Limited-time rebate offer for Xcel Energy's Minnesota commercial customers.                 

 

Sounds like a great opportunity to save for less!

Hurry and take advantage of this promotion as these additional incentives expire at the end of this year, which means that the qualifying product needs to be purchased between Sept 1st, 2015 and December 31st, 2015!

 

Interested? Click below to contact our office & talk to a consultant about your rebate potential.

Talk to a Consultant About Rebates

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FEATURED Lighting POSTS

Parking Garage LED Lighting Retrofit Case Study

Lighting Retrofit - Vs - Lighting Redesign

Linear LED & Other T8 LED Resources

Understanding LED Linear T8 tubes

3 types of linear Led tubes

T8 LED Lighting Retrofit Introduction & Safety

Pros and Cons of T8 LED REPLACEMENTS (Links)

What are the other benefits of upgraded lighting?

Alliant Energy Lighting Rebate Info

Lighting insight, Utility Rebates & More

FEATURED Environmental POSTS

Shedding some light on led lamp recycling requirements

Aerosol Can Recycling Process

Aerosol Can Recycling as Universal Waste in Minnesota

How to Plan Your Own Community Recycling Day (REPOST)

Pre-Paid Recycling Program

2016 Residential E-waste Recycling Prices for TRC

2015-16 computer Recycling Prices for TRC

New Residential E-waste Recycling Prices for TRC

Mercury Spills & How To Safely Handle Mercury Waste

Understanding Mercury Waste & Mercury Recycling Process

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