Smart Lighting: What is it and do you need it? 

  • By Josh Morphew
  • 24 Apr, 2017

The topic of smart lighting is coming up more frequently. It prompts people to wonder what it means. 

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.

Smart Light Bulbs and Fixtures 

The shift from incandescent to LED lighting is the equivalent of going from vinyl records to digital audio files. Because LED lights are electronic and digital, they can often have control technology built in. A multi-story parking garage , for example, can install smart LED lights that can tell the garage operator which parking spaces are open, making the entire parking process more efficient for building occupants.

 

When evaluating LED lighting, don’t just focus on cost. Bulbs are typically rated by useful life in hours. While a 10,000-hour bulb may have the lowest initial cost, the total cost of operation may be significantly higher than a 50,000-hour bulb. This is due to the need to acquire and replace five times as many bulbs. How many maintenance staff do you need to replace light bulbs five times in a large facility? As you can see, there is much more to consider than simply the initial capital outlay.

Occupancy Sensors

Occupancy sensors are a great way to turn off lights when a room is unoccupied or a grocery store freezer hasn’t been opened for a set time.

Lighting controls 

Lighting controls are typically software based and controlled from a smartphone, computer or dedicated control device. Lighting controls can be programmed to adjust lighting based on the hours of operation, the amount of daylight, or any number of inputs.

 

Sensors and controls can be a viable first step in a long-term energy saving strategy.   If a business hasn’t yet converted to LED lighting, either bulbs or fixtures, it’s important to invest in sensors and controls that will work with LED lighting in the future.

 

While utilities offer business rebates for lighting conversions or retrofits, some utilities like OGE also offer rebates for installing lighting controls, making this option even more attractive.

 

Baxter Commercial Services has decades of experience helping businesses from Class A office buildings to warehouses with their lighting needs, both interior and exterior. Contact us for more information about how our lighting contractors in Oklahoma can help you.

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?

By Josh Morphew 27 Mar, 2017

Over the past 40 years, our team of commercial electrical technicians has worked with apartment complexes of all sizes and conditions. We have encountered situations where maintenance staff has spent four hours trying to diagnose and repair a non-operational HVAV unit, without any success.

By Josh Morphew 20 Mar, 2017

Some of the greatest lessons are learned through the experience of other people. As commercial electrical contractors , we have heard some horror stories about contractor encounters gone bad. Based on some of the stories that our clients have shared with us, developed the following set of questions you might want to ask before hiring your next contractor:

By Josh Morphew 13 Mar, 2017

For many businesses, ‘operating efficiency’ is a goal that the company is continuously chasing. Many times, the focus is increasing employee productivity and output so that a significant impact can be made on the bottom line. Many businesses are unaware of or overlook utility expense reduction to boost the bottom line. Electricity costs are seen as an ongoing expense and something that must be paid for a business to function. However, there are many optimization strategies that can be implemented to significantly lower your electricity bill each month.

By Josh Morphew 10 Mar, 2017

Consider the following scenario: A vicious ice storm is looming. Jim’s boss Cindy says she can’t afford downtime from an extended power outage and tasks Jim with finding a solution. Armed with the Internet, Jim searches for a rental generator . The closest generator he finds is 4 hours away and even if he could pick it up, he can’t find an electrician to help hook it up.

 While Jim had managed the facility for years, backup power was never a priority for the previous owners. The plant was already operating at maximum capacity, so they couldn’t make up for lost time with additional shifts. Regardless of what happens with this storm, Jim knows he needs a better plan to deal with any type of future power outage.

 Jim’s situation is very common. Many businesses think of backup power as an all-or-nothing scenario. Permanently installed generators are cost prohibitive so they settle for nothing instead.   Today, facility managers and building owners have more choices, providing them with the reassurance of having backup power at a fraction of the cost.

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