10 Questions to Ask Before A Lighting Upgrade Begins
When considering a lighting upgrade, the most common plan of action is to replace the lamps, ballasts and existing fixtures with the new ones. However, Building Operating Management magazine suggest that sometimes redesigns are often a better option than retrofits. In trying to decide if a retrofit or redesign is your best option, consider these 10 questions before starting a lighting upgrade:
1. What are the goals for the upgrade? – Laying out all the desired benefits may lead to a different solution. Examples: improve the lighting quality, increase the effectiveness of the light or increase sales.
2. What is the quality of the existing lighting? – A design that gives poor quality of light now is unlikely to change with just different lamps or ballasts.
3. What is an acceptable quantity of light? - Quantity doesn’t always replace quality. If the space is poorly lighted, increasing the quantity could make bad situations worse with high contrast and glare.
4. What do your eyes tell you? – Carefully evaluate the overall appearance of the space.
5. Are you keeping the long view? – If lighting causes a distraction that affects less than 1 percent of an occupant’s productivity, then all of the savings from reduced energy consumption has been lost.
6. What other opportunities are available with redesign? – Redesign of the interior space can make the entire project more energy efficient.
7. What energy conservation measure yields the greatest value? – The most cost effective measure is to repaint the walls a lighter color, improving efficiency and lighting quality as well as reducing light loss by absorption.
8. What are the day lighting opportunities in existing buildings? – The most effective day lighting comes from the highest portion of a window.
9. How can lighting controls provide greater savings? – Lighting controls will only save energy if they are properly designed and calibrated so that they do not distract the occupants.
10. Are new technologies in their proper place? – Many of the most successful energy saving techniques are simple passive measures, such as proper placement of luminaires, instead of an energy reducing manufactured product.
Before moving ahead with a retrofit lighting project, take the time and care to evaluate the options and long-term benefits. You will more likely enjoy a luminous environment that is both energy efficient and truly effective for its intended purpose.