LED retrofits - Navigation

June 23, 2015 - Green Buildings

George Crawford, Green Partners

Every LED upgrade comes with benefits which can be significant - cost and energy savings as well as a long useful product life. If your LED project utilizes quality products and involves replacing traditional lighting, you will achieve these benefits - without question. The reasoning is basic to LED technology. LED products use only a fraction of the energy consumed by traditional incandescent or fluorescent lighting products. But there's more to the LED platform than just barebones cost and energy savings. The LED of today includes a wide range of quality LED products as well as high levels of incentive funding.
LED Product Availability: You can be confident that there is a "right" product solution for virtually every project. There are now art galleries, museums and department stores, all with very exacting lighting requirements, that have upgraded to LED. The different LED products selected by these end users would have to be an improvement over their former lighting conditions, otherwise these retro-fits would never have been implemented.
Sourcing LED Products: Newer LED technology is not generally available at retail levels. Specialty lighting along with products such as the "Anything Tube" - the LED replacement lamp for fluorescents with either magnetic or electronic ballasts or the LED "Troffer Kit" for upgrading 2X4 or 2X2 fluorescent ceiling fixtures or the 15W "Circleline" - the LED replacement for the old 40W fluorescent circleline fixture are sourced at manufacturer or distributor levels.
Economics: While LED products are more cost efficient than traditional lighting products, the front end economics must be considered. LED products are more expensive than traditional lighting. Think sticker shock. Offsetting up-front costs are utility incentives. Utility programs are usually for limited periods and subject to adjustment. Using Con Ed as an example, incentives for their customers are structured in tiers with higher levels of energy savings qualifying for higher rebate levels. While energy savings modeling, inspection, and paperwork requirements may make your eyes glaze over, the total incentives involved are significant. Rebates generally range from 50% to 100% of product cost, based on energy reduction levels.
Familiarity with and access to the latest LED products, experience with funding sources, and the ability to model LED retrofits for higher levels of energy savings are necessary navigation skill requirements needed to maximize the economic potential of a LED retro-fit. This is not a do-it-yourself job using a Sears catalogue.
For more information with regard to navigating the process, go to www.greenpartnersny.com
George Crawford is the principal of Green Partners, New York, N.Y.

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