Are LED Lighting Retrofits right for you? Discover the Top Benefits & Risks

A lighting retrofit refers to upgrading existing lighting fixtures and systems to newer, more energy efficient technology. Specifically, it usually involves replacing inefficient incandescent and fluorescent lighting with LED (light-emitting diode) lighting.

For businesses, LED retrofits offer many benefits that can positively impact their bottom line. Switching to LEDs reduces energy consumption and costs due to their greater efficiency. Businesses can also save on maintenance since LEDs have much longer lifespans than traditional bulbs. The quality of light is improved as well, with LEDs providing brighter, consistent illumination. With utility rebates and incentives, the upfront costs of an LED retrofit can be offset to make it even more affordable.

In this article, we’ll explore in more detail the benefits of LED retrofits for businesses and factors to consider when planning an upgrade. With the right information, facility managers can determine if undertaking an LED lighting retrofit could significantly lower their lighting costs and provide a positive ROI.

Energy Savings

One of the biggest benefits of an LED lighting retrofit over traditional bulbs is the energy saving potential. The Department of Energy estimates that by replacing a single incandescent bulb with an LED, you can save between $30 to $80 in electricity costs over the bulb’s lifetime.

This is because LED bulbs are far more energy efficient. A typical 60W incandescent bulb produces around 800 lumens, while an 8W LED can produce the same 800 lumens. This translates to at least 75% less energy usage for LED over incandescent bulbs.

Based on typical energy prices and hours of operation, a business switching all of their lighting over to LED bulbs would likely see savings of 50-70% on lighting electricity costs. The payback period is usually 2-3 years for most retrofit projects.

With significant energy savings of this magnitude, LED lighting retrofits can have a big impact on your utility bills and overall energy efficiency.

Lower Maintenance

One of the biggest benefits of LED lighting is that the bulbs last significantly longer than traditional incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. LED bulbs can have lifespans of 25,000 to 50,000 hours compared to just 1,000 hours for incandescent bulbs. This means LEDs don’t have to be replaced nearly as often.

Unlike traditional bulbs that burn out and stop working altogether once their lifespan is reached, LEDs gradually dim over time. However, even once LED lighting reaches 70% of its original brightness, it is still within recommended standards for most applications. This makes maintenance even less of an issue.

The longer lifespan and gradual dimming of LEDs lead to drastically lower maintenance costs. Facilities simply won’t have to spend as much time and money replacing burned out bulbs every few months. The long lifespan also provides more consistent lighting quality over time. According to one source, LED bulbs can last 20 years or more before needing replacement.

Improved Light Quality

One of the main benefits of LED lighting over other options like fluorescents and incandescent bulbs is improved light quality.

The light produced by LEDs is exceptionally bright and natural. LEDs emit light from a solid object (a semiconductor chip) rather than burning a filament or exciting gases like other sources. This allows LEDs to produce light very efficiently with excellent color quality. Many users report improved visibility and reduced eyestrain after transitioning to LED lighting 1.

Unlike old fluorescent lighting which had a harsh, cold quality, LEDs provide light that more closely matches natural sunlight. For commercial spaces, LED lighting creates a cleaner, more inviting environment.

LEDs also offer very customizable color temperatures. Bulbs can be chosen in warm white, cool white, or daytime colors like 5000K – 6500K which help keep occupants alert. This allows businesses to tune lighting to create the ideal environment whether it’s a retail store, office, or industrial space.

With dimmable LEDs, the color temperature and brightness can be adjusted to create the perfect light levels for any activity or time of day.

Rebates & Incentives

Switching to LED lighting can be a major investment for a business, but there are many rebates and incentives available to help offset the upfront costs. Many utilities like PG&E and SCE in California offer generous rebates for LED lighting retrofits as part of their efficiency programs. These rebates could cover 30-70% of your total lighting retrofit costs depending on the utility. Your local utility likely has a similar rebate program to encourage businesses to upgrade to high efficiency LEDs and reduce electricity demand. Check for rebate availability in your area.

There are also federal tax incentives for energy efficient commercial building upgrades which can be applied to LED lighting retrofits. Section 179D of the federal tax code currently offers a tax deduction of $0.60 per square foot for upgrading to high efficiency lighting. Be sure to consult your tax professional to take advantage of any available tax incentives.

With the available rebates and incentives, the upfront investment in an LED retrofit can pay for itself even faster through utility bill savings. Businesses should strongly consider applying for these lucrative rebate and incentive programs which can dramatically reduce the payback period for an LED upgrade.

Cost Savings

One of the most compelling benefits of LED retrofits is that they pay for themselves in a relatively short timeframe. By installing more energy efficient lighting, businesses can realize significant cost savings through reduced electricity usage. According to one source, LED lighting uses at least 75% less energy and lasts 25 times longer than incandescent lighting.

The return on investment and payback period can be estimated for a lighting retrofit project. One method is to calculate the annual energy savings from an LED upgrade and divide that by the total project cost. For example, if a retrofit costs $10,000 but saves $5,000 per year in electricity, the payback period would be 2 years. The ROI in this case would be 50% annually.

Exact cost savings and ROI will vary based on factors like facility size, existing lighting, and energy costs. However, most commercial LED retrofits achieve payback within 2-5 years. With utility rebates and tax incentives, the payback period shortens even further. It’s a good idea for businesses to request quotes from LED retrofit companies and ask them to provide projected cost savings estimates.

Choosing an LED Company

When selecting an LED lighting retrofit company, it’s important to look for the following:

  • Experience with commercial retrofits – Make sure the company has extensive experience designing and installing LED lighting systems in commercial spaces like yours.
  • Licensed electricians – The installation team should consist of licensed, qualified electricians to ensure the retrofit is done properly and safely.
  • Lighting design services – Look for a company that provides lighting design as part of their retrofit service. Proper lighting design will maximize energy savings and enhance theworkspace.

You should ask potential vendors about their experience, licensing, lighting design process, and visit some completed projects if possible.

Working with qualified, experienced professionals is the best way to guarantee excellent results from your LED retrofit project.

Lighting Retrofit Case Study 1

ABC Company is a manufacturing facility located in Ohio. They retrofitted their older fluorescent lighting with LEDs in 2018. The project involved replacing over 500 fluorescent troffers with new LED fixtures.

The LED retrofit project cost $120,000, but ABC Company was able to secure a utility rebate that covered 50% of the project costs. The new LED system uses 60% less electricity than the old fluorescent lighting. ABC Company saves around $30,000 per year on energy costs after the retrofit.

With the utility rebate and ongoing energy savings, ABC Company was able to achieve a return on investment of less than 2 years for the LED upgrade. The improved lighting quality has also led to higher productivity among workers.

Lighting Retrofit Case Study 2

This case study involves an LED lighting retrofit for ACME Manufacturing, a manufacturer of industrial equipment. Located in Michigan, ACME Manufacturing was looking to upgrade its aging high bay fluorescent fixtures in its 300,000 square foot facility.

By partnering with a commercial lighting company, ACME Manufacturing retrofitted 400 400W metal halide high bay fixtures with 240W LED high bay lights. This retrofit resulted in energy savings of 60%, lowering electricity costs by over $60,000 per year. With a project cost of $120,000, the retrofit paid for itself in just 2 years and will continue saving ACME Manufacturing money for years to come.

The brighter, more uniform light from the LEDs also improved visibility on the manufacturing floor, leading to increased worker productivity and safety. Maintenance costs were slashed due to the 50,000+ hour lifespan of the LED high bays compared to just 10,000-15,000 hours for the old metal halide lamps.

For industrial facilities like ACME Manufacturing, LED lighting retrofits can deliver huge energy and maintenance savings that provide an impressive return on investment.

Contact Our Team for an LED Lighting Assessment

After reading about the benefits of LED lighting retrofits, you probably want to get started upgrading the lighting in your own business or facility. Our team of experts can conduct a full assessment to determine the best LED products and design for your unique space.

During the assessment, we’ll evaluate your existing lighting and energy usage. We’ll take measurements and analyze the layout of your space. Then we’ll recommend the perfect LED lighting to lower your electricity bills and maintenance costs while improving the quality of light.

We offer complete turnkey LED lighting retrofit services. Our in-house team handles everything from the initial assessment to project management and professional installation. We use only high-quality, long-lasting LED products with warranties. And we’ll work with your local utility to help you take advantage of any available rebates or incentives.

To get started, contact us today to schedule your free LED lighting assessment. Discover how affordable and beneficial an LED retrofit can be for your business!

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