This week on the Bright Ideas series presented by Acuity Brands®, Kurt Vogel returns to dig further into the economics of lighting fixture replacements. Last week he explained how lighting renovations that pursue a switch to LED may create a larger carbon footprint than customers might expect or prefer. Fortunately, retrofitting with Relight can offer a solution that reduces that environmental impact.
OTHER LIGHTING REPLACEMENTS CAN INCUR UNEXPECTED COSTS JUST DURING THE STAGING PROCESS ALONE.
Another expense of renovations and fixture replacements is the labor involved. In any new construction project, the cost of labor is fairly straightforward. Electrical contractors estimate thirty minutes of labor per fixture installation in any brand new site.
On the other hand, lighting replacements in an existing building can be subject to the age and conditions of said building. That could lead to a lot of hidden costs, Kurt explains– starting just with the transportation and preparation of product.
If the material for a fixture replacement needs to get delivered and staged throughout the space, how will that be done? What if the materials arrive on large pallets that don’t fit on a standard elevator, or through standard doorways? Your workers may need to unpack and transport them separately– and if the building has no freight elevator to at least transport pallets to relevant floors, that individual delivery process will take even longer.
Furthermore, customers need to remember that these spaces may also be occupied at the same time… by office furniture, by retail stock, and by people. There will have to be space in or near each lighting location where the product can be deposited until it is installed. That might be an eyesore, or may even require rearrangement of the space. And all this is before “ladder time,” as the contractors call it, even begins.
OTHER LIGHTING REPLACEMENTS ALSO REQUIRE INCREASED LADDER TIME.
The actual act of removing an old fixture and installing a new lighting fixture is what usually comes to mind when buyers are calculating man-hours for renovations. But there are still other factors.
In a typical replacement process, ladder time will also include the laying out of plastic sheets to catch the dust and grime coming out of the ceiling when the old light is removed; and the cleanup of that refuse after the installation is complete.
Workers may have to move ceiling tiles– and those tiles could break. Replacing them will incur additional costs. Even if the contractor anticipated this potential expense, Kurt points out another problem: now the brand new white ceiling tile will stand out like a sore thumb amid the other 20-year-old tiles.
And even after the lights are installed, is there a capability to integrate controls into that space?
OTHER LIGHTING REPLACEMENTS CAN HAVE A GREATER LIFETIME COST.
Relight Kit electronics from Lithonia Lighting® are modular. When compared against other door frame kits or erector sets that get built in the field, all Lithonia Lighting Relight solutions are unitized and single-piece already. Any future controls integrations will be far easier to change or upgrade than other lighting fixtures. But that’s not necessarily the case with other fixture replacements.
During other fixture replacements, buyers need to consider: will the laborers have to get back on the ladder to set up new controls as well? Is the solution flexible enough to receive future upgrades without too much trouble? If the replacements involve the installation of LED tubes, their ability to implement control strategies in a few years will be greatly reduced. And there is also no telling what future costs of tube repairs may be as ballasts go out or tubes fail prematurely.
In short, an electrical contractor’s estimation of 30 minutes per light fixture in a new site is going to incur greater costs and man-hours for a renovation site. And all of this process may very well take place at night, to avoid disrupting the work lives of the building employees. Imagine how many days lighting renovations might take for a building with just 100 lights if each worker can’t even replace up to two lights per hour.
Many fixture replacements with lower pricing on the front end may end up with a greater lifetime cost, thanks to lengthy installation hours as well as future repair or maintenance expenses. On the other hand, the lifetime cost of Relight products (which operate identically to brand-new fixtures) is actually lower in the long run.
LITHONIA LIGHTING RELIGHT KITS CAN BE INSTALLED SEVEN TIMES FASTER THAN OTHER FIXTURE REPLACEMENTS.
Kurt experienced Relight’s efficiency first hand while working with a lighting maintenance contractor crew in a 75,000 square-foot retail space. The store had three lamp parabolics, and around 760 light fixtures.
The space was already struggling with light levels and dingy quality emitted from the old parabolics (and lighting quality can actually have a massive impact on retail businesses and employee moods). When they tried LED tubes, that only made the look even worse. So instead, they turned to a Lithonia Lighting Relight solution.
Before they even began, the staging crew had to keep in mind that they were not to disrupt the space at all. Since the business needed to remain in operation, they couldn’t rearrange or cordon off any areas of the store during the day in order to stage the materials in preparation for the renovation. They couldn’t even occupy the loading dock to unload products during business hours, because the store also needed to receive merchandise shipments.
So on a Monday afternoon, a single trailer with all of the Relight kits arrived behind the store. After closing time, the contractors unloaded the material and immediately started moving it through the store. The product, which is lighter and easier to carry than the full steel housing of an entirely new fixture, was job-packed– so there was very little corrugated material to dispose of. And because the workers were installing these kits in the existing fixtures, they were immediately able to start work from ladders. There was no lift required. There was no moving of ceiling tiles.
On that first night, the team was able to replace half of the store’s 760 lights– as well as collect all their materials, then box up and load the old fluorescent lamps back on the trailer for recycling. And on the second night, the other half of the store was finished and all the light levels were tested, and the job was done. With a crew of five people working for ten hours or less each night, that comes out to under eight minutes per fixture replacement!
A NOTICEABLY DIFFERENT APPEARANCE– AND BOTTOM LINE.
Before the second night’s work was even completed, the employees of the store were already taking notice. Half the building now stood under the old parabolics, and half with the new volumetric center-basket LED solution. It was so dramatic that the workers asked if the ceiling had been painted overnight.
All in all, it only took the space two days to receive a fully flexible, turnkey, future-proofed LED conversion and a complete upgrade in light quality.
Based on the prediction that a renovation using other lights might have required 30 minutes per fixture replacement, not even including disposal and clean-up time, Kurt and his team have conservatively estimated that in this one space, Relight saved over $50,000 in installation costs for the customer. And that doesn’t even include the increased rebates that an integrated Lithonia Relight Kit typically qualifies for, in comparison with LED tubes.
Anyone interested in learning more about Relight solutions can visit the Lithonia Lighting website, where they can find everything from specification sheets to quotes on pricing. It’s all part of an important practice by Acuity Brands to make the B2B buying experience much easier– which is what they are going to teach viewers about in next week’s episode.
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