LED Lighting offers much more than energy savings

  • By Josh Morphew
  • 20 Feb, 2017
LED Lighting can provide more that direct energy savings.

At this point most everyone we visit with is well aware of energy saving components of LED lighting. As the costs and efficiency of the bulbs and fixtures themselves continue to improve, the length of time for a facility to recoup the investment in lighting has gotten shorter. Still, the investment level for many facilities is still quite a significant upfront investment.

While there are companies who are willing to step in and finance the lighting retrofit to LED, there are certainly additional costs to be considered any time capital is borrowed. Borrowing money to finance lighting projects simply isn’t an option for all businesses, for those companies which it makes sense, there are no shortage of lighting companies available to provide this funding source.

Many of our Oklahoma clients who have decided to make the investment in high efficiency LED lighting have shared with us how they wished they had done it much sooner. The timing from one business to the next will vary and has to fit in with the overall business plan, but there are other benefits to capture than just the energy savings.

Going beyond direct energy savings

Many of our clients, as well as non-client local business we have visited with, have shared with us other reasons they decided to move forward and invest in changing out their lighting to high efficiency LED.

Rebate programs available for most Oklahoma businesses

Both OG&E and Oklahoma City area businesses, as well as PSO and Tulsa area business, have rebate programs available. Many other utility providers in Oklahoma also have some type of rebate or incentive program for their commercial customers.

Programs we have seen range from actual rebates to situations where some of the project is paid for directly by the utility company. These can be especially helpful to offsetting some of the upfront investment on lighting projects. The type of rebates available to your business from one utility provider to another will vary, we encourage you to check with your provider to see if they have any programs available for you.

 Another feature is that most will allow you to take advantage of their programs for portions of your facility. Some business may only upgrade parts of their facility, typically the areas where the savings will be the greatest. Some businesses we know of chose to upgrade the lighting in their warehouse area and parking lots before addressing the office areas of their buildings.   

If you are in the OG&E or Edmond Electric utility areas, we are familiar with their programs and would be help you determine the associated rebates which could be available to you. If you are in another utility provider’s service area in the state of Oklahoma and would like to upgrade your lighting, we would

Wide flexibility of applications

With each passing year there are more and more lighting options available using LED technology. This trend will likely continue for years to come, it has to be a designer’s dream. Things which in the past would have been very difficult and costly to add lighting to, are now much easier to customize lighting for.

Some options we commonly see used today in commercial projects include:

  • LED Light Sheets – These panels will often have the appearance of an acrylic panel, with LED lighting embedded in the perimeter. These panels can be customized to most any shape, size, thickness, and color, giving them limitless potential for eye catching commercial lighting.
  • LED Linear profiles and strip lights – These lights can be used for a large variety projects. In the past, coves and accent pieces in architecture were very limited on the types of lighting they can use. Today, LED strip lighting or linear lighting solutions allow for most any look or feel the business would like. You can see the effects of these types of lighting in most an urban center over the last 5 years, as the appearance of many existing buildings has been greatly transformed using LED strip lighting.
  • Smart Lighting compatibility – LED lighting tends to work well with a wide variety of control systems. Technology is evolving quickly allowing for lighting system to integrate with a building’s wireless internet, as well as other systems of sensors.

For example, some buildings lighting is integrated with occupancy sensors throughout, and will automatically turn lights out in areas of the building not being used. There are parking lots where sensors are built into the lighting system to monitor the availability of parking spaces.

Less impact on heating and cooling loads for buildings

One often overlooked component of facility lighting is the impact it can have on the heating and cooling loads for the facility. Traditional lighting produces much more heat than LED lighting, which can be a real issue in hotter climates like Oklahoma.

The added efficiency and reduced demand for cooling on building HVAC equipment can reduce the operating and maintenance costs for the facility. LED lighting still produces some heat, but a well -designed LED lighting system will have negligible impacts on the cooling demand for your facility.

Reduced maintenance costs for the facility

If you completely replaced all of the lighting in your facilities with 10-Year LED lighting, you would have zero lighting maintenance in most instances for the next decade. Many of the businesses we have visited with who invested in an LED retrofit have shared this impact on their bottom lines was substantial.

We have even heard of a few businesses who have hesitated to move forward with a retrofit because they have a couple individuals in their employment whose only tasks involve traditional lighting maintenance, such as changing out bulbs and ballasts. We obviously cannot advise anyone on how to handle this, though we have heard of a few businesses being able to repurpose those roles while improving the efficiency of their maintenance operations.

For many business types with internal maintenance, not having to deal with traditional lighting maintenance has allowed them to stay focused on other areas of building maintenance for tenants and owners.

Baxter Commercial Services provides licensed electrical services to businesses across Oklahoma.  Services include lighting design and LED retrofits for interior and exterior application.   Contact Baxter Commercial with any questions about LED lighting and rebate programs available. 

By Josh Morphew 29 Jun, 2017

  • Most refrigeration equipment operating on R-22 is likely many years old. Compare the age to the life expectancy of the equipment.
  • Is the unit still under warranty? If so, what type of repairs does the warranty cover?
  •  Review maintenance logs to determine the service vs. repair history of this equipment. How often has it required service?
  • What is the nature of the current problem? How significant is it?
  • A typical 25-ton commercially packaged unit will require about 25 to 30 pounds of refrigerant. If there is a leak, the entire system will need to be drained before testing can be done to isolate the leak. Those two steps alone may cost $1,000 or more. 
  • How much refrigerant has already been lost?

  • If the leak can be repaired, what is the cost of the repair and the cost to replace the refrigerant? The price of R-22 is subject to supply and demand. Prices have been steadily increasing with little to no new R-22 production.
  • It is not uncommon to see service/repair calls increase with equipment that is beyond the midpoint of its expected lifespan. If your unit needs too many services and repairs, it may be more economical to replace the unit.
  • You can no longer replace just a compressor or evaporator. Components manufactured today are designed for newer refrigerants and are not compatible with R-22.

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 19 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 12 Jun, 2017

Electronics are vulnerable to electrical spikes: surges in voltage that occur for several reasons such as:

·        a power line or phone line being struck by lightning,

·        utility power being restored after an outage,

·        utility services being interrupted from construction,

·        an accident or a fire, and/or

·        high winds that cause power lines to cross and acr.

 

Even seemingly small occurrences, such as normal motor or compressor cycles within a facility, can render small but damaging fluctuations to electronics.

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.

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