How to Future-Proof Your Lighting Upgrade

Cree-Education-SanDiegoCommunityCollege-SanDiegoCA-061615-001LED lighting has already advanced to the point where waiting for the next big thing results in a loss of gains. And, often accounting for up to 40 percent of the electricity bill, lighting translates into thousands of dollars in annual energy expenses – a reality that is enticing facility managers to ‘flip the switch’ to LEDs. Yet, lighting is often the last transition in upgrade projects. How can building operators future-proof product decisions throughout scope-to-install and begin taking advantage of LED lighting sooner rather than later?

Start by selecting high-performance lighting products backed by extended warranties. Leading suppliers offer up to a 10-year warranty, instilling confidence that the products specified will deliver on the quality and long lifetimes promised. Additionally, one of the greatest benefits of LED lighting is that it is inherently smarter than traditional light sources. As an example, San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) installed more than 1,200 wirelessly-controlled Cree® LED light fixtures in February 2015 as part of an effort to improve the workspace for its employees, lower operating costs and still meet the demands of new building codes. At the time of planning, LED was in its infancy and Cree’s SmartCast® Technology lighting controls were new to market. By working with a trusted supplier, the district could not only convert to LED lighting but also maximize the use of daylight harvesting and minimize wasted energy at times of no occupancy. Now several months after the completion of the initial install, SDCCD is gearing up for a second wave, adding 800 additional units based on the immediate positive impact on the school’s expenses and learning atmosphere.

Building operators should also be wary of “too-good-to-be-true” solutions. Technology meant to last should be treated as a value-driven investment: to increase confidence payback, be mindful of energy consumption, control integration, warranty and lifetime when calculating total cost of ownership (rather than upfront cost alone). Quality products may also help operations qualify for incentives. SDCCD funded its LED lighting project completely through California’s Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39), and the Cree LED lighting solution qualified for incentives from SDG&E.

By John Casadonte, vertical marketing manager, lighting at Cree, Inc.

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