Updated: Nov 4, 2020
While thinking of a lighting upgrade, you might be confused between the retrofit and redesign approaches.
Coming up with a workable lighting upgrade plan often involves asking the right questions. However, what makes a question right?
This article lists ten such questions that facility managers should ask before a lighting upgrade:
What objective is the upgrade trying to achieve?
Even though reduced re-lamping and energy conservation are often the key reasons for an upgrade, discussing all the desired advantages might lead to a different way out. An upgrade in lighting could lead to an increase in the quality of lighting, or improve sales or safety, for instance.
What is the current lighting quality?
Sometimes, the initial lighting setup is designed for a general purpose, with calculations performed based on typical assumptions or ‘empty rooms.’ Lighting comfort might not have been a factor at all in the original design.
Therefore, it is essential to critically analyze the current arrangement to develop the most effective design.
What is the acceptable light quantity?
This quantity differs for every type of premises. An office, for example, might benefit more from uniformly distributed, lower levels of light, compared to uneven light levels.
In retail, however, the opposite might be right.
What do your eyes show you?
Using 4 to 12 luminaries, mockup the solutions that have been proposed. A mockup might be costly, but it is certainly worth it if it tells you whether to go for a complete redesign or just a retrofit.
Mockups especially work best in empty spaces, as that prevents a direct comparison to the existing.
Are you maintaining long-term vision?
For office buildings, the highest cost is employee salaries.
If the lighting is distracting, it can prove detrimental to employee productivity levels - thereby reducing the savings achieved through energy conservation. Merely using the payback method to calculate feasibility, can prove shortsighted.
Are there any alternative redesigning opportunities available?
Several energy-conserving strategies can be utilized when the current luminaire locations do not restrict you. Redesigning allows the installation of luminaries that complement each job.
Which energy-saving measure provides the maximum value?
Low-cost ways to enhance energy efficiency include improving the reflective characteristics of the walls, ceilings, or furniture, as well as avoiding glossy finishes, or using a lighter color to repaint the walls.
What daylight opportunities do the existing buildings present?
You can only conserve energy by reducing the electric lighting, which needs duly commissioned and user-friendly controls. Glare controls and daylight quality can be improved by automated blinds, films, and window treatment.
How will lighting controls lead to more savings?
Studies show employee satisfaction linked with the employees’ ability to control their lighting. Wireless controls work best for an all-fluorescent installation. However, lighting controls will lead to savings if they are calibrated and appropriately designed, and do not lead to any distraction or annoyance within the occupants.
Have new technologies been adequately placed?
There is always a powerful desire to solve an issue through some sort of magical technology. Make sure the designing needs are appropriately assessed before you decide to go for a technical solution. Ensure that design follows the technology and not the other way around.
Now that you know the questions to ask – your lighting awaits to be upgraded in ways never seen before.