Upgrading your lighting could save your business money in the long term while providing a better and brighter environment for employees and customers

Lighting technology is moving fast. We’re well beyond the days when incandescent or fluorescent bulbs were the only options. Today, many businesses are switching to LED lights because they’re brighter and more energy-efficient than traditional bulbs, making them highly desirable upgrades for both indoor and outdoor areas. 

However, it isn’t always as simple as replacing your existing bulbs with upgraded models. In some situations, your fixtures might not be compatible with your desired bulbs, making a retrofit necessary. Here’s a look at the positives and negatives of investing in a lighting retrofit for your business.

Key Takeaways

  • A lighting retrofit can save a business money
  • Upgrading the lighting makes the business more attractive to customers
  • There is an upgrade cost
  • The pros usually outweigh the cons

4 advantages of a lighting retrofit

The benefits of installing upgraded lighting are usually far more significant than the drawbacks, and retrofits are advantageous to businesses of all sizes. Some of the main benefits include:

1. Using less energy

Energy savings can be significant when upgrading your lighting, as the U.S. Department of Energy reports that LEDs use 75% less electricity than their incandescent counterparts. Reducing your carbon footprint should be a priority because of the potential effects of climate change and switching the light bulbs your company is using is one way to dramatically reduce energy consumption.

There’s also the cost savings, as using less energy means your monthly bills will be lower. The exact amount you save will depend on local energy prices, how many bulbs and fixtures you replace, the size of the property, and how long you leave the lights on, but estimates suggest your business could save over $3,600 for every 25 light bulbs over 25,000 hours of usage. 

Most businesses will have way more than 25 light bulbs installed, so the cost savings grow exponentially based on the size of the building and the scope of your lighting retrofit. Generally, you can expect to break even on your investment in two years, at which point it’s all savings for your business. 

2. Achieving better light quality

Another advantage you’ll encounter when upgrading to LED lighting is better light quality. 

For example, the color rendering index (CRI) measures a light’s ability to reveal an object’s true color compared to natural light. This rating system goes from 0 to 100, where a 100 rating would be equal to natural light and a 0 rating would provide almost no visibility. 

LED lights tend to have better CRI ratings, providing better visibility of objects in dark settings. Therefore, a lighting retrofit can improve how well people can see within your building and offer more brightness in your parking lot or garage at night. 

Having better light quality makes your building a more pleasant place to spend time, creating a better atmosphere for customers and staff. It can also make the business safer and improve employee productivity. 

3. Producing less heat

LED lights don’t get warm like incandescent and CFL bulbs. In fact, an incandescent light releases about 90% of its energy as heat, while that number is about 80% for CFL products. 

Producing this heat is problematic because it means you’ll spend even more money cooling your building in the summer. These bulbs can even become fire hazards in some situations. 

4. Lowering maintenance costs

An often overlooked benefit of a lighting retrofit is the reduction in maintenance costs. 

A typical incandescent bulb lasts for about 1,200 hours. Many businesses will leave at least some of their lights on around the clock, so a bulb might last for about 50 days, at which point you’ll have to replace it. 

Of course, you won’t leave every bulb in the building on 24 hours per day, but even if these lights are only on for 12 hours daily, you’re looking at replacing them every three-and-a-half months or so. 

In doing so, you’re not only on the hook for buying new bulbs every three months, but you’ll also have to hire an employee to handle this job. This scenario creates a trickle-down effect because that employee won’t be available for more pressing situations around the building. You might even have to hire an additional maintenance person. 

Most LED bulbs last for about 50,000 hours, and some even pass the 100,000-hour mark, so you’re looking at replacing them every five to 10 years. 

These numbers alone suggest the long-term cost savings provide reason enough to upgrade the lighting around your business.

The problem with a lighting retrofit

Although the benefits of a lighting retrofit are significant, there remains an issue: The upfront cost. 

You’ll have to invest in your building if you want this upgrade, especially if your fixtures aren’t compatible with LED lights. The amount this lighting retrofit will cost is entirely dependent on your structure. If all you have to do is replace the bulbs, the job will only cost you a few thousand dollars or less, and much of that expense is something you’d have to spend anyway on new bulbs. 

However, this project could run hundreds of thousands of dollars if you have a large property and all your fixtures require replacement before upgrading your lighting. 

Getting an estimate before making your decision ensures you make the decision that works best for your business. 

Upgrade your lighting

It’s crucial to look at the pros and cons before deciding on a lighting retrofit because it will ultimately come down to how much this upgrade will benefit your company. There will undoubtedly be long-term cost savings because you’ll be using less energy and replacing fewer bulbs, but it’s up to you whether the upfront cost is worth it. 

Universal Electrical is a full-service, licensed electrical contractor serving the South Florida area. We can assist as you decide whether a lighting retrofit is suitable for you and can even handle the job if you require fixture upgrades. Contact Universal Electrical today for a free quote.