Industry Spotlight: Get Lighting Right the First Time

The importance of having a lighting plan and an LED lighting distributor partner

By: Joshua Burnett

When an organization considers an energy savings project, one of the most popular options is a lighting upgrade. Lighting renovations can be accomplished alone, or they can easily be bundled with other efforts, such as HVAC and water system retrofits. They are often regarded as low-hanging fruit because the project timeframe is short and the savings are immediate. These overhauls are typically completed via an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) executed by an Energy Service Company (ESCO).

Comprehensive lighting upgrades can be very lucrative for ESCOs, but there are a couple of crucial areas where problems can pop up. The first is customer satisfaction. Lighting projects can be tricky because altering the illumination in a room, building, or outdoor space can completely change how it looks and feels. Done poorly, issues like bright spots, unexpected shadows, and uneven lighting can plague a project. 

The second potential problem area revolves around the cost of picking alternative fixtures. If the customer isn’t satisfied with the fixtures post-installation or if they fail to meet the client’s specifications, resolving the issue can get expensive very quickly for the ESCO. If it requires facility downtime, it can also get expensive for the end user and drive additional frustration. The ideal situation involves creating a comprehensive lighting design before a single part is ordered; this eliminates guesswork, allowing the customer to know that they’re getting precisely what they need.

Gym School using Fluorescent Fixtures
Gym School after converting to LED Lighting Supply 120W UFO LED High Bays

However, developing a good lighting plan is no easy task. Incorporating factors such as voltage input, space dimensions, fixture count, how the space is used, and how brightly the area should be lit requires an experienced engineer. Many ESCOs are too small to have a dedicated professional in this area, often leading to uncertainty, an over-reliance on estimation instead of calculation, and lower customer satisfaction levels than should be expected. 

LED Lighting Supply is a commercial and industrial LED lighting distributor that noticed this problem. They listened to contractors and saw the opportunity to provide complimentary lighting plans to small- and medium-sized ESCOs that didn’t have the resources to create them in-house. LED Lighting Supply Vice President Neil Peterson states, “What we found was doing the proper lighting plan based on the customer’s requirements allowed us to recommend the proper fixture to produce the right amount of light, depending on the number of fixtures.”

The results have been impressive. In their first year offering this service, LED Lighting Supply completed 640 large-scale photometric lighting plans and 1,200 smaller ones. Examples include working with Florida Power & Light to conduct a comprehensive lighting upgrade to the Miami International Airport. The facility had several specific requirements: the lighting needed to be operational 24×7 but had to operate as coolly as possible without sacrificing performance or risking failure. The LED Lighting Supply Team looked at all of the options and came up with an outside-of-the-box solution. They designed the airport’s light system to use 120-watt drivers that were dialed down to run at 80 percent performance, resulting in a 40 percent reduction in heat from the unit without increasing the probability of failure. 

Miami International Airport
Miami International Airport

To get started, LED Lighting Supply works with its customers to learn about the specifics of the space and, if a PDF drawing of the targeted space is available, they can overlay the lighting plan onto the pdf. The team typically turns around a lighting plan within 24 to 48 hours. When the lighting plan is completed the ESCO will receive a comprehensive report that shows the following; 

1. Luminaire Schedule: Fixture Model, Lumen Output, Quantity and Light Loss Factor [LLF] used in the report.
2. Luminaire Location Summary: includes coordinates for angles and tilting. [Outdoor Lighting Plans]
3. Calculation Summary: Summary of Foot Candle/Light Level Results for the Area.
a. Average Foot Candles
b. Min Foot Candles
c. Max foot Candles
d. Max/Min Ratio
4. Lighting Plan: Full area lighting report showing foot candle results on the floor every couple feet.

Even though they don’t collect a profit from the lighting plans, LED Lighting Supply has found that it’s a win-win in the long run. Well-designed lighting plans result in higher sales, lower return rates, and a host of customers who couldn’t be happier. The company sources only high-performance LED fixtures to maximize energy savings; depending on the product class, these provide 130 to 180 lumens per watt. Every product they offer comes tested and warranted for peace of mind. They keep shipping costs low by using an extensive drop ship program and maintaining stock in multiple warehouses across the country.  

LED Lighting Supply was recently named into the Inc. 5000 2020 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America

Contact LED Lighting Supply to learn more,
**All photos provided by LED Lighting Supply