Jul 23 2019
If you are upgrading an existing structure or building a new one, you should consider the fixed and long-term running cost. So when you give your builder his or her marching orders it would be wise to also mention to consider not only short-term functionality but also long-term running costs.
It is all too common that builders and contractors will take the view that the lowest cost solution, which makes the builder or contractor the highest margin, will suffice as warranties normally do not extend beyond one year. To overcome this you could ask for a lighting warranty to exceed 5 years as there are now reputable lighting companies that do provide 10 year warranties on their light output.
If you are wanting to be LEED certifiable you should insist in LED lighting, just be aware that not all LEDs are created equal specify a US product from a company that has been in business for more than 5 years and is an expert in LED lighting. Should you need it, you are more likely to get support from a company that speaks your language and is in your time zone.
If you want to be environmentally friendly and non-polluting you want to stay away from CFL-s, Induction or Fluorescent Lighting as it is based on mercury vapor, which is highly poisonous when the bulbs or tubes are accidentally broken. Often CFL-s, FL Tubes, HPS and other mercury containing light emitters are not disposed of properly.
With LEDs you have a totally environmentally safe recyclable product. Some LED manufacturers will guarantee to buy their product back at the end of life so that will remove the recycling burden from you.
If you have covered parking structures insist on controls, many lighting manufacturers will now include basic or sophisticated controls in their products, this means you do not need a building automation system to save energy for basic needs. You can now get canopy lights with built-in motion sensors that are infrared programmable. That means you can optimize the behavior of your lights to your operation and requirements without having to employ an expert or having to run a building automation system. Adding this level of control can and is likely to result in energy savings of 80% to 90% for covered parking structures.
If you have conference rooms or offices you can also save energy by adding occupancy sensors to those rooms so lights get turned off automatically when there is no one in there for a period of time and lights come on automatically when entering the area. This will also work for larger office spaces where lights can be programmed to hibernate at much lower light levels and still produce safe lighting and go to full or pre determined lighting levels when people are in the area.
Bottom line - you may want to investigate lighting controls to manage your light space. Try to stay with simple systems, which are self-contained so that you do not need a PC to turn on your light. They do exist and are easy to find on the internet or ask your builder to Google them for you.
Some of these systems will not come from major brands as those have focused on larger building automation systems with high ongoing cost for the automation system itself, but there are smaller and still reputable companies that have been in business for a long time and where their warranty means something.
In LED lighting it is newer companies that have more expertise than the existing lighting giants as the technology is only around for 5 years in a commercially viable form and the giants jumped on the band wagon late if they are even on yet. There are quite a few companies that have been making a variety of lighting fixtures based on LED technology and the best ones will have very long product warranties and will have been in business for more than 10 years as a company. Some of them have proven to have 35,000 hours of lighting without any light loss so a very high likelihood to work for another 35,000 hours that will make their light fixtures last more than 10 years in likely or even extreme use.
The conclusion is when refurbishing, upgrading or building a new structure seriously look into LED lighting and Light Space Control systems as it will allow you to focus on your business not getting distracted by lighting maintenance issues. You will save enormous energy adding to your bottom line and you do not have to worry about mercury poisoning the environment.
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