Upgrading existing commercial structures is a big business today. It is estimated that 90 percent of the construction activity taking place within the US is classified as a renovation or a retrofit project. Updating the existing lighting system by replacing conventional lighting technologies—fluorescent, high-intensity discharge, halogen, or incandescent—with LED immediately reduces a significant amount of energy needed to illuminate the interior and exterior of a building. According to the most recent Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), 17% of electricity consumed by commercial buildings in the US is for lighting, making it the largest end user of electricity. In addition to dramatic improvements in energy efficiency and lamp life, these new lighting systems can also provide better quality light, improving the look, feel, and functionality of the space.
A lighting retrofit has three distinct phases: the lighting audit, the design of the new lighting system, and its installation. Unfortunately, the traditional lighting retrofit process is error prone, often requiring vendors and contractors to rely on incomplete or inconsistent information about an existing system to design replacements resulting in mistakes and costly delays during installation. Another shortcoming in the process is the designer’s limited knowledge of the vast (and expanding) sea of LED products in the market. Typically, the team designing the retrofit system is aware of only a handful of brands and their associated product portfolios. Their lighting designs often feature only those familiar brands producing solutions that may be lackluster and more expensive.
mySupplier is a global technology company that has revolutionized the lighting retrofit process by combining the best technologies currently available with their years of experience in the industry and an encyclopedic knowledge of the price points and performance of much of the current LED market offerings. The result of these efforts is an innovative lighting retrofit process that decreases audit errors, improves design accuracy, streamlines implementation, completes the full scope of service faster and, ultimately, provides customers with a better lighting system at a lower cost of ownership that achieves a greater ROI. Lighting contractors and Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) can realize significant benefits—increased revenue, increased efficiency, increased profitability and achieve greater service scale—by selecting a partner that offers resources tailored to improve the lighting retrofit process.
Let’s take a closer look at how mySupplier has digitized every phase in the lighting retrofit and the value associated with these changes.
QUALITY-CONTROLLED LIGHTING AUDITS
The purpose of a lighting audit is to capture as much information as possible about the existing lighting system and the building. The information gathered during the audit is then used by the design team to develop the layout of the new lighting system. The greater the level of accurate detail noted in the audit, the better informed the ultimate design will be.
Traditionally, audits were conducted by an auditor walking through the space recording miscellaneous details in a notebook or basic spreadsheet program. The resulting notes were often disorganized and mistake prone. Spelling errors, cryptic short-hand memos, and inconsistent details from one interior space to the next all made it more difficult for designers to determine precisely what type of system they were replacing. It was common for auditors to miss approximately 10% of the lighting fixtures on the job, because an auditor got lost or couldn’t get access to certain areas. Follow-up visits were often required to clear up misunderstandings or missed areas during the audit phase of the project.
mySupplier employs, state-of-the-art software specifically developed to identify and acquire the fixture attributes that are most important to a successful specification. Using a tablet, auditors will be prompted to fill in details about fixture mounting styles, dimming performance, color temperature, wiring, control types, and emergency back-up, among other things. Certain qualities can be made required fields based on audit requirements. The software provides cleaner and more comprehensive audits. It alerts auditors to missing information, while they are on-site, which reduces errors and follow-up visits and closes the gaps that plague the traditional audit process.
Beyond fixture attributes, this lighting audit tool allows auditors to take photos of the existing space and write notes directly onto the image. Now audits can easily capture existing conditions, space types, electrical layouts, and customer needs that will inform the optimal lighting design. With this digital tool, mySupplier audits contain an unprecedented level of detail that is communicated with unparalleled clarity. The improved accuracy and documentation of the mySupplier audits reduce errors and increases the efficiency and speed with which the lighting audit can be completed.
This quality-controlled audit process delivers real value to customers. “We were able to audit 50 percent more projects utilizing the mySupplier team, without adding to our staff,” said the CEO at a leading national lighting contractor.
VERIFIED AND PERFORMANCE-ENGINEERED DESIGN
With LED technology flooding into the market, finding quality products that function as advertised is a critical step in specifying a lighting system that will perform as expected—a step that many companies don’t provide. mySupplier independently verifies the performance of the fixtures they consider for inclusion in their designs. This is one of the ways that they distinguish their design process from others. mySupplier also use seasoned design professionals to run sophisticated lighting analysis that optimize the lighting design of a project and create a generic specification for the replacement system. Designers then compare the performance and qualities of hundreds of pre-approved fixtures to find the optimal solution in terms of price and performance.
The extra steps taken by mySupplier in terms of the experience they hire, the sophisticated lighting analysis they perform, the products they vet, and, ultimately, the products they select enables them to deliver lighting retrofit solutions that offer better pricing, better performance, and better value than any competitors in the industry.
Designers at mySupplier are experienced professionals who have specified lighting systems for a variety of facility types. They are aware of the unique issues and code-mandated functionalities that these systems must address, and this level of expertise is reflected in the quality of the solutions they produce.
Lighting analysis begins with assessing the existing design. By evaluating the lighting layout and photometric performance of the original system, designers can identify opportunities for improvement in terms of light output, energy efficiency, and even lighting distribution. 3D and video simulations can also be performed when requested.
Best practices in lighting retrofits recommend that a product-and vendor-agnostic model will lead to the best outcomes. These are the types of models that mySupplier creates. While these designs specify generic fixture type, color temperature, functionality, wiring, etc., the specific fixtures are not identified. After the model is generated, mySupplier teams cross-reference available (and vetted) lighting fixtures to quickly find the optimal solution in terms of performance and price.
Once the optimal solution has been identified, the recommended system needs to be effectively reflected in a proposal. With support teams around the world, mySupplier can turn proposals around much faster than industry standard. This can offer a strategic advantage to customers vying to win a client and project.
CLOUD-BASED MATERIALS AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Cloud-based project tracking and project management is an important point of differentiation for mySupplier clients. The cloud-based process turns projects around faster and offers clients greater transparency and access to progress being made throughout the project. The cloud-based process begins when the initial audit report and audit photos are uploaded. Interested parties can view line-by-line reports, audit details and images in real-time and on-demand. There are no outdated drafts or time delays for anyone with access to the cloud.
This level of access creates real benefits in the design and implementation phase. During installation, project managers can have real-time information on logistics, scheduling, and task completion. Clients can see the status of materials delivery to each site and the installation status down to the fixture level, which is updated daily. Dashboards will track audit status, project schedules, installation schedules and inspection and compliance reviews.
RESULTS: BETTER LIGHTING SOLUTIONS AND PARTNER SCALABILITY
mySupplier has revolutionized the lighting retrofit process by delivering tremendous results by increasing the quality, longevity, and overall experience for their customers and their clients. Customers were also able to achieve unprecedented growth and win larger-scale projects than ever before. This is because mySupplier’s a la-carte services model is designed to provide support in any way shape or form required by the customer. If a customer specializes in installation, but needs help turning around high-performance designs at competitive price points, mySupplier offers the expertise and assistance they seek. If a customer needs help with every stage of the retrofit, from audit to design through installation, mySupplier can offer that as well. mySupplier has revolutionized a problematic process and can offer professional support in precisely any area a customer needs it.
Contact mySupplier’s leadership team to learn more: