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What’s an LED lighting retrofit?

LEDs use a fraction of the power that incandescent or fluorescent lighting consumes and last
many times longer than those types of bulbs, all while delivering the brightness, warmth and
color to fit your specific lighting needs. So now that you’re aware of how LEDs can save money,
improve lighting quality and reduce your carbon footprint, it’s time to put that green energy
solution to work for you.

You’ll often hear the word “retrofit” used to describe the replacement of your existing lighting
system with LEDs. It’s kind of odd that the word begins with “retro”, since that prefix usually
raises images of the past (think mullets and leisure suits) instead of the forward-thinking
technology that LEDs offer. Be that as it may, retrofit has become the accepted term for
upgrading your older lighting to newer, more energy efficient LED equipment.

Lighting accounts for about 15 to 20% of a typical commercial building’s energy use, so if you
haven’t already done an LED retrofit, every day you wait is costing you money. But if it’s any
consolation, you’re not alone. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says that as recently
as 2012, more than three-quarters of all the floor space in the nation’s commercial buildings was
lit by standard fluorescent lights, with another 6% of floor space still lit by incandescents.
Although LEDs have greatly increased their market share since that last government survey,
there is still a lot of old lighting out there that should be replaced.

It’s always best to take a whole-building approach to energy efficiency instead of treating each
separate measure – such as an LED retrofit – as a “one-off”. There are several reasons for this,
including the coordination among your building’s energy systems (i.e., installing low-heat LEDs
may impact your air conditioning needs) and more attractive rebates offered by utilities or
government entities for bundling energy efficiency measures to maximize energy savings.

Ideally, then, an LED retrofit is one part of an overall green energy solution for your business.
However, not every business owner may be in a financial position right now to undertake a
complete energy makeover. In that case, doing an LED retrofit as a stand-alone energy saving
measure immediately is better than waiting until a full upgrade can be made.

The first thing you should do before starting an LED retrofit is to decide why you want to do it. Is
it simply to reduce your energy costs (nothing wrong with that being the only reason!) or are you
also interested in adjusting the brightness or color quality of your lighting? What about using
lighting to improve the aesthetics of your space or the visual comfort of your employees or
customers? There are no right or wrong reasons for doing an LED retrofit, but knowing what
your goals are before you get started will help you install the lighting equipment you’ll need to
achieve them.

Once your goals are set, the next step is to have a lighting professional conduct a lighting audit.
An audit is the simplest and most effective way to evaluate your existing system and identify the
improvements needed to achieve your goals, ensuing that every area within your building has the
appropriate amount of light. The auditor’s recommendation will include the cost of each item and
an estimate of energy cost savings, so you can easily calculate how quickly your investment will
be repaid. If you have multiple locations that you’re looking to upgrade, it’s best to use the same
auditor for each site so you’ll have a consistent approach to the retrofits. An Ecology Action
energy efficiency advisor can assist you in choosing the lighting auditor who can best serve your
needs.

One of the advantages of LED lighting is that it can be used in existing fixtures, saving the cost of
installing new ones (as many businesses did years ago when they converted from incandescent
to fluorescent). In many cases, your existing fluorescent lighting fixtures can be retrofitted to LED
by simply removing the ballast and fluorescent lamp holders and replacing the fluorescent tubes
with LED tubes. There are also applications that offer a “plug and play” option, allowing you to
swap out your fluorescent tube with an LED without the need for removing the ballast and lamp
holders.

If you can’t use your existing fixtures for any reason, or if you’re altering your building’s lighting
plan by changing their location, you may need to install new LED fixtures. This is going to be a
more expensive option, but may result in greater long-term savings because fixtures specifically
designed for LEDs will operate more effectively than a retrofitted fluorescent fixture.

Incorporating lighting controls into your LED retrofit has the potential of increasing your energy
efficiency by providing the right amount of light when and where it’s needed. Lighting controls can
be as simple as a timer that turns lights on or off at pre-set times. They can also include more
advanced devices, like occupancy sensors that automatically turn on lights when motion is
detected in a space that isn’t continually in use (these have become popular in storage areas,
restrooms and conference rooms) or photocells that will adjust lighting levels depending on the
amount of available daylight.

In addition to meeting your building’s indoor lighting needs, the versatility of LEDs makes them
ideal for any of your outdoor lighting requirements. An LED’s performance is not affected by hot
or cold weather, which is why you see them now being used in safety-related outdoor
applications like traffic signals, streetlights and vehicle headlights. Commercial buildings often
have “wall pack lighting”, the fixtures mounted on the outside walls that provide both security for
the building and pathway lighting employees or customers. Wall pack lighting can also be used
for aesthetic purposes by illuminating the outside of your building. Lighting designers can take
advantage of the directional nature of LEDs and the variety of color temperatures available to
create dramatic effects while reducing your energy costs.

If your building has an outdoor parking lot or enclosed parking – like an adjacent deck or
underground parking – it’s important to include those areas in your LED retrofit. Parking areas
can be an ideal place to produce energy savings because they generally require large amounts
of lighting for safety and security. Parking lots have traditionally used high intensity discharge, or
HID, lighting like metal halide and high-pressure sodium lamps. While these kinds of lights
provide the brightness needed for parking areas, they use a lot of electricity. LEDs can deliver
the same level of brightness while using a fraction of the electricity, and can direct their light
precisely onto the areas that need to be lit instead of diffusing it in all directions. They’ll also last
three to four times longer than most HIDs. As with interior lighting, some LED lamps can be
retrofitted into existing fixtures in parking areas, saving the cost of installing new fixtures.

An LED retrofit is a key part of a green energy solution for any business. It’s easy to do and can
yield big savings. An Ecology Action energy efficiency expert can get you started in brightening up
your business – and your bottom line – with LEDs.

Agri-tech Company to Grow Tomatoes in New York with LED Lighting

80 Acres Farms, an indoor farming operator, is growing tomatoes on one of the busiest streets in New York outside the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum as part of the Guggenheim’s new exhibition in collaboration with Rem Koolhaas, Countryside, The Future, which is taking place from February 20 until August 14, 2020.

People in New York will be able to look through a large window in the indoor farm to view a crop of fresh tomatoes being grown continuously during the next six months under precise LED lighting and other controlled conditions. The first tomatoes grown will be ready for harvesting and consumption by late-March.

The grow module was set up to demonstrate how indoor farming can benefit the world through growing fresh, nutritious, and pesticide-free food near populations, anywhere in the world by using fewer natural resources. For the Guggenheim exhibition, 80 Acres Farms, Infinite Acres, and Priva have collaborated on the 700 square foot grow center and all of the state-of-the art ag-technology within it. The Infinite Acres grow module is expected to grow 50,000 tomatoes during the exhibition.

Properties of Light and How They’re Used in Architecture

If you’re a lighting manufacturer or supplier, you already know that light has a major effect on how a person experiences a space.

Did you know that architects and building engineers rely on these same principles and the science of lighting when designing a space? The main architectural principles of lighting can be broken down into three categories: light color, measuring light, and bouncing light.

Light Color

In architecture, the standard for white light is considered daylight at noon during the month of June. According to experts, Northern light is generally the most consistent and has more light at the blue end of the spectrum, while late afternoon light is more on the red end of the spectrum.

Measuring Light

Luminous Flux – This is the rate at which a light source emits light, measured in lumens.
Luminous Intensity – The measure of the light intensity that takes into account the amount of light and the amount of coverage. For example, a spot light and a flood light may emit the same high amount of lumens, but because the spot light is focused into a smaller cone, it has a much higher intensity. Intensity is measured in candelas or candlepower.
Illuminance – Illuminance is the amount of light that falls on a specific surface area. Measured in lux (metric) or foot candles (imperial – read more about foot candles here), a 1000 lumen spot light will illuminate a small area much more than a 1000 flood light because more lumens from a spot light are hitting the smaller surface.
Luminance – Luminance is the measure of an object’s brightness or the amount of light coming off an illuminated surface. This measurement is called a foot-lambert.

Don’t Forget to Consider Bouncing Light

When choosing fixtures and designing the space for optimal light, consider the reflections that will occur in the room depending on windows, furniture, and accessories (especially mirrors and other reflective surfaces).

Remember, besides the principles of lighting, choosing the right lighting for a residential or commercial space come down to how the space should physically feel (for example, the right lighting can make a room feel larger), and more lighting isn’t always better! Choosing the right lighting is the most important thing.

Trust Parker Lighting as Your Preferred Lighting Supplier

We have knowledgeable associates who can assist you in choosing the appropriate products for your specific application.

 

Guidelines for Bathroom Lighting

When it comes to proper lighting, one of the most important rooms in your home is the bathroom. When you first wake up in the morning, the lighting in the bathroom can set the mood for your entire day!

The lighting in a bathroom is especially important when you’re washing and grooming. Optimized lighting and daylighting are also important for our circadian rhythms, which can play a big role in overall health.

Good lighting is important for everyone, and the best bathroom illumination opportunities can be broken down into these categories:

  • Light levels – How much light is needed in the bath? For someone just waking up, 10 foot candles (fc) might be plenty. After a shower when it’s time to shave, or if you’re trying to read the small print on a medication label, better visibility is needed. Lighting experts say fixtures that provide at least 75 to 100 watts of illumination are ideal for master or guest bathrooms.
  • Daylighting – Natural daylight is perfect for brightening your mood and helping to set the circadian rhythms that regulate our sleep cycles. Try to design your bathroom with as much natural light as possible. Consider a skylight if possible in addition to one or more windows.
    Overall bath lighting – If you like a more luxurious design in your bathroom, a chandelier or can bring elegance to any space. A warmer light temperature in a bathroom will give it a spa-like feeling.
  • Vanity lighting – In front of the bathroom mirror, lighting is very important! You want to see colors accurately, and have the option to dim or raise the light levels if needed. LEDs are preferred over fluorescent because they’re easier to dim.
  • Lighting at the Tub – Building codes are strict about lighting over tubs. Since there can’t be open or hanging fixtures over the tub, nd spotlights work.
  • Night Lighting – Some light is needed in the bathroom at night for safety, but not too much. When the eyes are adjusted to darkness, very few foot candles are needed. A 5-watt nightlight is just right for most homes, according to lighting experts.

Trust Parker Lighting as Your Preferred Lighting Supplier

We have knowledgeable associates who can assist you in choosing the appropriate products for your specific application.

How To Hide Under Cabinet Lighting Wires

Do you have those rooms in your house that are decidedly dark and dingy looking around certain areas? We’re thinking of kitchens where corners and sections of the countertops have the main ceiling lighting blocked by the cabinets above.

This can be remedied with the use of practical, compact and versatile under cabinet lighting fixtures. However, one of the major downsides to using this style of lighting, is that it requires an extensive network of wiring that, if left uncovered, can make your kitchen look rather untidy and messy.

However, there are ways to avoid this happening. By using some forethought, planning, preparation and clever designs, you can hide the wiring for those under-cabinet lighting so that it will look like areas of your kitchen or other dark rooms light up as if by magic.

Placement of the Wiring
As you read further through this article, you will see a lot of suggestions that revolve around interesting and aesthetically pleasing ways to cover over the wiring. What, though, if that’s not an option, can you still hide them?

Yes, the idea is to keep the wires affixed to the wall or surface as close to the bottom edge at the front of the cabinet as they can, using a slight overhand on the cabinet to keep them hidden.

However, if you run the wiring around the bottom edge of the cabinets at the back, they will be more easily spotted whenever you or anyone else walks into the room.

Wooden Valances
You will find some lighting fixtures tend to hang down somewhat from the underside of cabinets, which is not ideal if you are trying to keep the fixture or just the wiring hidden.

This problem can be solved by installing a wooden valance to the underside using some wood adhesive to extend the front face of the cabinet.

You can decorate this wood appropriately so that even if you don’t find the right color to match from the beginning, you can use a stain or paint to get it as close to the rest of the furniture as possible.

You then just need to use staples or tie wraps to keep the wiring securely hidden beneath the cabinet and behind the valance.

Inside the Cabinetry
If you are starting from scratch and have the benefit of foresight to plan out where the wiring is going to go, you could make necessary cuts into the cabinet where you can feed the wires so that they are hidden.

This is a great plan for recessed lighting, with the end of the light fixture penetrating the cabinet. That section will need a wooden plank placed across the top that’s exposed with a hole and channel made inside it to allow you to feed the wiring through the cabinet and into the outlet on the wall.

To create a neat and tidy hole and channel you can use a router. The wooden plank can then slide into place within the cabinet’s interior. To finish you need to use a wooden plank without any openings to cover the completed construction.

Cable Protectors
We’ve left one of the simplest and quickest ways to keep unattractive and unsightly wiring for under-cabinet lighting out of the way. That is with cable protector. One way to do this is by bundling the wiring carefully and compactly into a bundle and then using tie wraps to hold it in place.

You can then stick it the underside of the cabinet using staples (being careful of course not to pierce the wiring and ruining all your hard work). The length of the wiring should be long enough to run from the lighting fixture itself to the wall outlet.

A cable protector normally takes the form of a wooden rectangle with a length the same as the bundle of secured wiring.

You can then use a router tool to cut a special groove into the wood where the bundle of wires can lie safely and securely without there being the possibility it will be pinched.

Then you finish the work by installing the cable protector over the bundle of wires on the cabinet’s underside to completely hide the wiring as if it was never there in the first place.

If the wooden cable protector does not match the color of the cabinet, you can use a suitable stain or paint to make it all look seamless. Or as close to seamless as possible.

Obviously, if you can plan your under cabinet lighting solutions at the time when you are planning your kitchen, that would be the best and easiest way to keep the wiring hidden.

However, we know that’s not always possible. When it’s not the above tips are a great solution to ensure your kitchen looks as stunning as it should.

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