LED lighting technology has achieved a maturity level that eliminates all barriers to it’s adoption. Diodes are subjected to testing after manufacture and are assigned a quality designation based on the results. A top-grade diode has a life expectancy of >200,000 hours.
Whether used in a new fixture, or a retrofit, LEDs typically have the same footprint. The diodes are mounted in a prewired strip that facilities the flow of current to each one. Incoming building power is converted form AC to DC by an LED driver (LEDs are powered using low voltage, direct current).
If you own a building, an LED upgrade usually invokes a few key questions. The first is whether to retrofit existing fixtures or install new ones. Here are the key reasons why we believe retrofits represent the very best alternative.
- Major lighting manufacturers are using the same troffer design for today’s LED offerings that they utilized for fluorescent fixtures. They’re simply mounting LED strips and drivers in the troffer in lieu of fluorescent lamps and ballasts.
- Input wattages: Driver wattage requirements are almost always lower with a retrofit than a new fixture.
- Warranty: New fixture warranties are in many cases Five years while our retrofits are Ten. Some Chinese off-brands claim ten year warranties, but the major manufacturers (Philips, Lithonia, Eaton) typically offer five.
- Because the LEDs and drivers are permanently mounted in a new fixture, a warranty replacement requires removing the entire fixture as opposed to simply replacing a driver or a strip in a retrofit.
- LED retrofits offer much greater versatility with considerably fewer SKUs. If a change in a fixture’s color temperature or light output becomes necessary, it’s simply a matter of changing out strips or driver sizes (a fifteen-minute procedure).
- Installation costs are typically higher with new fixtures. Not only is fixture change-out time consuming, in order to be code compliant, the new fixture must be tethered to the building structure in two locations.
- No plenum intrusion: When an existing troffer is reused without plenum intrusion, the owner is not confronted with the costly removal of hazardous substances such as asbestos. And there’s no chance of contaminating the work space with dirt and debris.
- Fixture disposal: The going rate for 2×4 troffer recycling is $17.00/fixture. Used fixtures must be stored, then palletized and shrink wrapped for shipping. Transportation charges are high (200 fixtures will typically require a tractor trailer).
- Buy American – Our retrofits are certified under the Buy American Program.
Other key questions building owners face when contemplating a lighting upgrade focus around choosing the right vendor.
We believe the best outcomes are attained when the vendor provides a turnkey service. Choosing a company with a successful track record tackling commercial building infrastructure projects is a great starting point. You should be able to visit completed projects and talk with existing customers.
Possibly not in recent memory has there been the disparity in quality we’re seeing with today’s LED offerings. A good vendor will be able to clearly explain his/her product’s origins, the component manufacturers used, and why it represents the highest quality available.
Your contactor should be able demonstrate why his/her installation teams are qualified to perform the work, and that the necessary insurance coverages are in place. In addition to product warranty, labor should be warranted for no less than one year.
Once the installation is complete, your contractor should submit the incentive application, and all the accompanying documentation, to the utility on your behalf. As part of that process the utility will ask you to certify that the installation has been completed to your satisfaction. The onus should be on your contractor to guide the application process until the incentive check is in your hands.
Learn How LED Lighting Will Improve Your Bottom Line.
To bring all of our considerable resources to bear on your unique lighting requirements, contact The John Riley Group today.