“When you go into a parking garage, yellow light does not give a sense of safety and
security to people,” explains Joe Stark, regional director of support services for Presence
Saint Francis and Saint Joseph Hospitals.
The hospital initially planned to retrofit the existing HPS fixtures with LED lamps,
but ultimately ended up installing pendant-mount LED luminaires instead. This secured
lower operating costs for the garage and provides even white light that also resulted in
clearer security camera footage.
How to Make the Right Decision
There’s no automatic answer to which lighting technology best fits your facility. To
determine which product can meet your needs, consider these tips.
1) Run the numbers. Incentives and project bundling can help make projects more affordable. Some are specific to a particular lighting technology – for example, Efficiency
Vermont currently offers 20% bonus rebates for some LED fixtures and controls in addition to its general incentives for energy-efficient commercial lighting equipment.
2) Think beyond the one-to-one swap. There’s more to good lighting than just changing out
your old lamps for newer, more efficient ones, says Alexis Troschinetz, behavior change
and metrics coordinator for Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), a statewide partnership in Minnesota that provides resources for community-based clean energy projects.
“Depending on your upgrade, it could be beneficial to take a look at the lighting design
for the area,” explains Troschinetz. “You might not have to do a one-to-one changeout.
You could do less, but still get a good quality lighting output for the space.”
Westcor Land Title Insurance Company in Maitland, FL, opted to bypass the one-to-
one temptation entirely by bringing in a lighting designer during a planned renovation. The
designer was tasked with addressing the inconsistent light quality and constant buzzing
sound of the existing fluorescent fixtures. The end result called for more than 100 LED
downlights and over 200 troffers across the 20,000-square-foot space. The 90-plus CRI rat-
ing helped highlight the textures and brightly colored accents in the office.
3) What warranties are offered? If you’re switching to a new technology, determine
whether the vendor’s offered warranty is compatible with your comfort level, Troschi-
4) Do your research. When Testoni needs LED lighting, he tries to stick to products that
are DesignLights Consortium certified, as the designation signifies a dependable level of
quality and efficiency in commercial LEDs.
“The only problem with DLC approval is that the list isn’t maintained as fast as we
would like, so there could be some high-quality fixtures on the market that just haven’t
completed the approval process yet,” Testoni explains. “Typically, if the manufacturer
already has many fixtures on the list and their new one isn’t on it yet, I would still move
forward with it.”
5) Be proactive. Develop your own criteria to help narrow down the myriad lighting
options on the market, Testoni recommends. “Most of the time, facilities people come in
contact with LED through a representative of a certain product or company,” he adds.
“It’s better to stay ahead and be the one looking at products – vendors will give you
specific solutions based on the products they have. Not all lighting products are created
equal, so find out how they aren’t.” B
Janelle Penny email@example.com is senior editor of BUILDINGS.
AN EXTENSIVE EXTERIOR RETROFIT at UC
Davis covered over 70% of campus pedestrian walkways, bike lanes, and roadways.
The existing HID wall packs and post-top
luminaires were replaced with 100 LED
versions of each. The university also
replaced 1,200 street and area lights with
dark sky friendly LED lighting. All are fitted
with occupancy sensors.