7 Steps to Successfully Installing an LED Lighting Retrofit.

We have been covering the 7 steps to a successful LED lighting retrofit here. If you don’t want to read all of the details in each post here is a quick review of the 7 steps.

  1. Identify high wattage fixtures and lamps.
  2. Investigate the possibility of removing fixtures and/or lamps.
  3. Consider all types of LED lamps and fixtures
  4. Create a proper baseline.
  5. Install New LED Lighting and Controls.
  6. Capture All Available Rebates & Incentives
  7. Perform Proper Measurement & Verification

Step 1: Identify High Wattage Fixtures & Lamps

The first step is to identify the high energy consuming lamps and fixtures. The most common type of fixtures retrofitted today are T8 linear fluorescent fixtures. These fixtures and lamps are easily installed and can easily be replaced if you are interested in doing a 1 for 1 retrofit.

These are also being phased out due to new mandates in energy consumption. Because these are becoming obsolete, you may soon fine these fixtures and lamps hard to replace so naturally moving forward to LED makes a lot of sense.


Step 2: Investigate the possibility of removing fixtures and/or lamps.

The second step in any successful lighting retrofit is removing any unnecessary lamps and fixtures. Sometimes, when offices are built, more fixtures are installed than necessary. This can cause a number of issues and reduce employee happiness.

By removing unnecessary lamps or fixtures you can increase the return on investment and even decrease any demand that may be caused through your lighting load. Because, LED’s typically have greater lumens per watt than traditional lighting sources you can decrease the number of lamps or fixtures without reducing the number of foot candles in your office.


Step 3: Consider all Types of LED Lamps and Fixtures

There are a number of different types of LED lamps and fixtures. It is important to not only consider if you are going to replace the whole fixture or just the lamp but also to consider the type of fixture or lamp you will be retrofitting.

For example, there are a couple of different types of linear T8 lamps that you could consider retrofitting to.

Each of these types of lamps have pros and cons that you would want to properly consider. It is important to do the proper research as well as work with a qualified company to make sure any fixture or lamp you chose to use will work with your overall operation and energy plan. As with all things, it is also important to know what the UL listings, code requirements and overall safety guidelines are to each before decisions are made.


Step 4: Create a proper baseline

Whenever you implement an energy conservation measure it is critical to establish a baseline. When it comes to a lighting retrofit, a lot of factors can contribute to measuring your return on investment (ROI). Therefore, it is important to create the baseline as early as possible to get as much pre-construction data as possible.

Because light fixtures are traditionally installed on plug loads they typically have more than just light fixtures on the circuit. Because of this it becomes hard to know exactly the amount of energy that a fixture is consuming.

Traditionally people have measured the ROI of lighting retrofits by tracking numbers using spreadsheets. Although this is possible, it is very hard to take into consideration all of the other loads on a circuit plus weather normalization. It can also be very difficult to gather all of the utility bills every month for this process.

Systems like the Vitality Utility Bill Automation and Real-Time Metering make creating this baseline and measuring the ROI an easier process. By having the right energy management platform and metering infrastructure you can automate the entire process without the headache of manual data gathering.


Step 5: Install New LED Lights & Controls

If you have completed all of the steps before this one, now is the time to execute your retrofit plan. Now it becomes critical to perform proper installation of the fixtures and lamps. At first sight, this can seem like a fairly easy step that you may consider doing yourself, but without proper knowledge of lighting circuits and fixtures this can quickly turn into a headache.

Due to their nature, LED lamps and fixtures use significantly less power than traditional fixtures. When you start to reduce the load on any circuit you can jeopardize the integrity of your electrical system. It is important to consult with or simply hire a qualified electrician to verify the installation of your LED lamps and fixtures.

This becomes even more critical as the installation of lighting controls begins to be integrated. One of the best parts of a lighting retrofit can be the implementation of a lighting control system. These systems can help you save energy by implementing features such as occupancy, vacancy and even sweeping.

There are many advantages to implementing a lighting control system such as increasing ROI and maximizing available rebates and incentives.

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Step 6: Capture all available rebates and incentives.

This is the one step that really should be done out of sequence. If you are following the 7 steps to a successful lighting retrofit, you should make sure that you are meeting all requirements for rebates and incentives before any construction.

Most utilities provide rebates and incentives for upgrading to LEDs. Navigating the complex field of utility rebates and incentives can be very difficult and confusing. This is where having the proper professional with experience in navigating these water is critical.

To make things easier, websites such as DSIRE and energy management companies such as Summa Energy Solutions can help you identify the proper incentives and rebates that you could qualify for during your LED retrofit.

This process becomes even more complex as you start to research available tax incentives that you may qualify for. There are a number of tax incentives available for energy projects such as LED. For example, with the 179D tax deduction you could qualify for up to $0.60 per square foot for your LED project.

Make sure you do your research and verify all requirements needed before any installations are done so you don’t miss out on maximizing the ROI of your project.


Step 7: Perform Proper Measurement & Verification.

One of the most critical steps to any energy conservation measure is performing a proper measurement and verification, so you know exactly what your return on investment is.

What is measurement and verification? According to Noresco, M&V is defined as follows:

Measurement and Verification (M&V) is a formal, systematic process for determining the functional and energy saving performance of a building’s energy-using systems

According the the department of energy, measurement and verification can be broken down into four steps:

  1. Determining baselines and estimated savings.
  2. Developing the M&V plan.
  3. Developing the post-installation M&V report, which is part of conducting post-installation M&V activities.
  4. Performing annual M&V, which is part of the annual M&V activities.

In essence, measurement and verification is the process of determining the proper return on investment for your energy conservation measures. By properly implementing an M&V plan you can know how your energy projects are performing.

Like creating a baseline, this could be done manually through spreadsheets. By deciding to do your M&V through spreadsheets, however, you can create an number of issues that could make getting the proper measurement a headache.

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Energy management systems such as Vitality can automate this process, allowing you to see the return on investment in real-time and remove the headache of data gathering and entry into a complicated spreadsheet.

Measurement Picture.

When you have successfully completed all 7 steps of an LED installation, you should now have a more energy efficient building. By doing this you now have created a system that will allow you to move on to other energy conservation measures.

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