How much do you understand about your commercial lighting? It’s just a light bulb, right?

  • By Josh Morphew
  • 15 May, 2017

Ever notice that the light bulb section in your local hardware store is getting bigger and the choices are getting more complicated? Bulb size, wattage, base type, dimmable or not, color temperature and more are all decision points today. Not to mention price. If you have ever come home with the wrong light bulb, you have plenty of company. For commercial lighting applications, multiply the difficulty level several times.

 

A simple looking ceiling fixture may not be as simple as it looks. Historically, commercial buildings have used fluorescent lighting for office areas and a combination of other fixtures for warehouse and even parking garage lighting . Many businesses are converting both types of lighting to LED lighting for energy efficiency, reduced maintenance, and improved light coverage. Converting from fluorescent to LED may be as easy as swapping out one light bulb for another, but, given all the nuances of commercial lighting fixtures, spending some extra time researching and planning will save time and headaches in the end.

To make a comparison, with automobiles, some parts like wind shield wipers are interchangeable between vehicle brands and models, while other parts are very vehicle specific. The same concept applies to commercial lighting fixtures. To add a level of complexity, if portions of a commercial building were built at different times, light fixtures may appear to be the same, but, can actually be different.

Some of the variables you’ll find in fluorescent lighting fixtures include:

o  Bulb (or tube) length

o  Bulb wattage

o  Bulb diameter (T12, T8, T5 – measured in eighths of an inch)

o  Bulb shape

o  Ballast (there are over 180 ballast types)

o  Tube construction (Glass or plastic)

o  Color temperature

o  Controls

Why is any of this important?

If you buy the wrong bulb for a light fixture at home, it’s not a big problem. Maybe an inconvenience, but not much more. In a commercial environment, materials and labor begin to add up quickly. Someone is earning an hourly wage to replace light bulbs and if the wrong bulbs are used, it’s usually not just one bulb, it could be hundreds.  

 

In a commercial environment, lighting provides function as well as aesthetics.   From a functional perspective, commercial lighting must match the type of work performed. Lighting for a call center will be different than for a warehouse. A bank lobby will need different lighting than a restaurant.  

In terms of aesthetics, many businesses work closely with architects and designers to select lighting fixtures and bulbs to deliver the ideal customer and employee experience. A couple of wrong bulbs or fixtures can be a distraction and potentially send a signal to your clients that details don’t matter.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. 

Are you thinking about converting to LED lighting to save on utility costs? If you are, consider working with a commercial services professional who can help assess your current situation and estimate your potential savings. If your business is serviced by OG&E, it may qualify for rebates that can significantly reduce the upfront investment and help you achieve a faster ROI.

 

Light bulbs and fixtures have different lifespans, and while a 75,000-hour bulb may appear to be more expensive than a 25,000-hour bulb, consider what it costs to acquire, uninstall, install and dispose the 25,000-hour bulb 3 times.

To recap

There are many choices when it comes to commercial lighting. It is vitally important to match lighting to the task. When considering your options, evaluate  the cost/benefit of updating to LED lighting. You should also take the time to determine if your business would qualify for a utility rebate for the project. Last, but not least, work with a professional who can help save you time and frustration by doing all the legwork for you.

For all your commercial lighting needs, contact Baxter Commercial Services 

Whether you are looking for 10 light bulbs or an entire new commercial lighting system, contact Baxter Commercial Services in Oklahoma via email or telephone today.

By Josh Morphew 19 Jun, 2017

As a facility or building manager, you face numerous decisions daily. Some of those may involve repair or replacement decisions for air conditioning or refrigeration equipment. Cooling technology is evolving to meet environmental standards and these changes could impact your decisions. In this article, we will discuss changes in refrigerant technology and their implications to daily operations.

By Josh Morphew 12 Jun, 2017

For many businesses, backup generators serve a critical need. If they fail to perform when needed most, it can have a significant detrimental impact on business functions. Consider the critical nature of a backup generator at a hospital where a surgeon operates on patients or a call center with 1,000 agents waiting to close deals. One is life-and-death and the other could be if the call center is a 911 helpline.

 

Facility managers are often the people responsible for the proper care and maintenance of backup generators. After years of installing and servicing generators, our team of electrical contractors has identified a list of reasons why backup generators fail as well as a guide on what can be done to prevent these failures. This is not an exhaustive list, but it does represent the most common problems throughout the facilities that we service:

By Josh Morphew 05 Jun, 2017
This particular case study covers how commercial lighting solutions helped Yukon Public Schools to save 400,000+ kWh annually by retrofitting their lighting and participating in the 2013 OG&E’s Schools and Government Efficiency Program. Four Yukon Public Schools were retrofitted with lighting and 70% of the total project costs were covered by OG&E incentives. Several schools in Oklahoma have been able to afford lighting retrofit projects thanks to the OG&E incentive program.   At a time when every educational dollar counts, a program like this can potentially put money back into a school district’s budget.
By Josh Morphew 29 May, 2017

When commercial HVAC systems breakdown, it can be a huge negative impact on the business. We have found that preventative maintenance can assist in reducing or even eliminating the risk of breakdowns and failures. Below is a case study to illustrate.

In mid 2013, Baxter Commercial Services was approached by a client who owned and managed a retail shopping center with 20 individual units. The problem was that the HVAC systems were frequently breaking down.

This caused several problems including lost retail revenue, ongoing costly repairs, angry tenants and lease renewal implications. The landlord wanted to discuss preventative maintenance programs as the breakdowns were becoming far too frequent and costly.

Following the discussion, Baxter Commercial Services technicians performed complete diagnostics and inspections of all 20 units. The team discovered clogged coils and filters on many units and other signs of little to no maintenance had been performed on units. The experts further advised landlord that some units were older and the lack of maintenance had cumulative impact that would likely result in the need to replace several units during the year.

It was also advised that after the  initial round of maintenance, ongoing maintenance would be performed every six months. During the first year, 5 older HVAC units failed and were replaced.


Once Baxter Commercial Services was in charge of the HVAC system upkeep, consistent maintenance was performed every 6 months over the following 3 years.  During this period, there we no unit failures nor breakdowns.   The before and after contrast was significant. The landlord avoided costly repairs and could either re-invest those dollars into other projects or increase the operational profit margin.

Moreover, the landlord said that tenants reported lower utility bills and were happier in general resulting in a higher percentage of lease renewals.

By Josh Morphew 15 May, 2017

Ever notice that the light bulb section in your local hardware store is getting bigger and the choices are getting more complicated? Bulb size, wattage, base type, dimmable or not, color temperature and more are all decision points today. Not to mention price. If you have ever come home with the wrong light bulb, you have plenty of company. For commercial lighting applications, multiply the difficulty level several times.

 

A simple looking ceiling fixture may not be as simple as it looks. Historically, commercial buildings have used fluorescent lighting for office areas and a combination of other fixtures for warehouse and even parking garage lighting . Many businesses are converting both types of lighting to LED lighting for energy efficiency, reduced maintenance, and improved light coverage. Converting from fluorescent to LED may be as easy as swapping out one light bulb for another, but, given all the nuances of commercial lighting fixtures, spending some extra time researching and planning will save time and headaches in the end.

To make a comparison, with automobiles, some parts like wind shield wipers are interchangeable between vehicle brands and models, while other parts are very vehicle specific. The same concept applies to commercial lighting fixtures. To add a level of complexity, if portions of a commercial building were built at different times, light fixtures may appear to be the same, but, can actually be different.

By Josh Morphew 01 May, 2017

The enactment of the Montreal Protocol came with implications for owners, equipment operators, and managers of commercial buildings.  The international environmental agreement requires nations and states to phase out all the refrigeration and air conditioning systems , that uses the R-22 refrigerant, a commercially-produced hydrochloroflourocarbon (HCFC-22). This substance is listed among the most notorious ozone depleting substances. It was expected that by 1st January 2015, all the existing refrigerators running on the fluid, would be phased out. However, some companies and individuals are yet to do so.

By Josh Morphew 24 Apr, 2017

Simply defined, smart lighting is lighting technology designed for energy efficiency. This can include everything from the light bulbs to light fixtures, to switches or electronic controls that adjust lighting automatically.

By Josh Morphew 17 Apr, 2017

When systems fail or equipment breaks, there are often far-reaching implications. For a manufacturer, it could mean that a production line is shut down. A restaurant may not be able to prepare food. Or a senior living center may have to make provision for patients that are sensitive to temperature swings.

By Josh Morphew 10 Apr, 2017

Businesses are frequently on the receiving end of solicitations for services sold by one party and delivered by another. One example is lighting contractors .

By Josh Morphew 03 Apr, 2017

Triple net leases are often used by property owners. This type of lease specifies that the tenant is responsible for maintenance and that the owner of the property is responsible for capital improvements. This sounds like a reasonable approach to take, so what could go wrong?

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