Upgrade Commercial Lighting

Why To Upgrade Your Commercial Lighting

Energy Savings

Energy rates continue to increase rapidly. What is your company doing to mitigate this erosion on your bottom line?

From 2006 to 2015 energy costs have risen more than 45%.  Rate increases are being phased in between 2016 to 2018 that will see a further 10.5% increase.

On November 26, 2013 Energy Minister Bill Bennett announced that BC Hydro rates will increase 25.5% over the next five years. “Come April 1, 2014, your bill will go up by nine per cent, followed by another six per cent hike in 2015. The government is then looking at increases totalling 10.5 per cent in the three years after that. The Energy Minister called it a balanced and responsible plan for BC Hydro. ‘It keeps electricity rates as low as possible while BC Hydro makes investments in aging infrastructure and new power projects, and it supports our growing population and our expanding economy.’ Bennett notes rates could go up even more in the five years after that, although the BC Utilities Commission will have final say. He is encouraging you to turn to Power Smart to reduce your bill. ‘Getting the energy audit done, making some changes at home, using less electricity. Ratepayers have opportunities to use less electricity.’ Bennett argues the government has worked to bring the total rate increase down to 25.5 per cent from earlier, higher estimates.” http://www.news1130.com/2013/11/26/bc-hydro-rates-to-jump-25-5-per-cent-over-next-five-years/

During the press conference it was noted that [the rate] increase could translate to an increase of around $139,000 per month more for the province’s heaviest industrial users. “BC Hydro CEO Charles Reid said users could mitigate the higher electricity costs by conserving more power, but noted B.C. consumers are already getting a fairly good deal. ‘Our rates are still among the lowest in North America,’ said Reid, citing a 2013 Hydro Quebec study of electricity rates in major cities. The study determined Vancouver customers pay 8.91 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity consumed, while neighbours in Toronto pay 12.48 cents per kilowatt-hour. According to the study, Calgarians pay 14.81 cents per kilowatt-hour. Only Montreal had a lower rate, at 6.87 cents per kilowatt-hour.” http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-hydro-rates-to-increase-28-per-cent-over-5-years-1.2440437

Energy savings are probably the number one reason business owners and facility managers should consider upgrading from inefficient magnetic ballast fixtures. Magnetic ballasts have been the fixtures of choice for more than 30 years and still continue to be installed in new construction because architects, engineers, and end users are often too limited by initial fixture costs. A typical retrofit project replacing existing magnetic ballast fixtures with energy-efficient fixtures can pay for themselves in 1-5 years leading to significant long term savings for the client. An energy analysis comparing existing lighting to the proposed lighting can be done demonstrating the net positive cash flow and ROI expected over set time periods. Operational lighting costs of past clients are typically reduced by 35-65%. This can produce savings of hundreds or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for clients.

On March 1, 2011 BC Hydro (BCH) filed an application with the British Columbia Utilities Commission seeking a rate increase of 9.73% for three consecutive years (2012-2014) totalling a 32% increase. The response was to approve an 8% increase in 2012, and 3.9% increase for 2013 and 2014 totalling a 16.6% increase. Looking back between 2006 and 2010 BCH rates have increased by roughly 20% (Review of BC Hydro: June 2011).

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 10.47.47 AM


Lighting technologies continue to evolve, changing with them pays for itself. T12 (1 1/2″) fluorescent tubes are 3 to 4 times more efficient than incandescent lighting and last 10 to 20 times longer. T8 (1″) tubes are 25-35% more efficient, last longer, and have significantly less mercury than their T12 predecessors. T5 (5/8″) tubes are 60% more efficient than T8s and continue to push life span longevity.

Environmental Impact

Integral Lighting can help company’s quantify their environmental footprint and the exact amount of reductions conservation in lighting can produce. Armed with this information a company can market themselves as having reduced their environmental footprint by “x” percentage over the past year.
We value corporate responsibility, proper disposal and recycling of old lighting products is important. We ensure that mercury from old light sources is captured and kept from going into landfills. Metal, glass, and plastic are also sent for recycling into new products.

A recent study by the US Department of Energy estimates LED lighting could save approximately 190 TERRAWATT HOURS OF ELECTRICITY per year by the year 2030.  That is equivalent to: the annual output of 24 LARGE POWER PLANTS (1000 MW) enough electricity to power 95 MILLION HOMES and at today’s prices that is $15 BILLION IN SAVINGS.

Safety & Productivity

Workplace lighting is the least expensive and most important component influencing work place performance. Research demonstrates that light has a profound impact on people —on their physical, physiological, and psychological health, and on their overall performance — particularly in the workplace. And yet, despite having an intuitive understanding of the importance of light, as well as research-based data that proves its significance, we often fail to give it adequate consideration when planning for the workplace1. Various case studies illustrate dramatic increases in worker productivity when lighting is improved and equally dramatic worker productivity declines when lighting is poor. Furthermore, increased light levels have been proven to reduce the number of workplace injuries. High workplace productivity is essential for the survival of just about every business and leads to an increased competitive edge and long term financial stability.

Improved lighting with enhanced scotopic qualities have been shown to increase contrast recognition leading to lower error rates, increased safety and improved energy levels in a work environment. Improved light quality has also lead to a significant increase in sales in retail spaces. If you want to do some of your own homework on this subject feel free to read the studies for yourself:
The Importance of Lighting in the workplace
Industrial Accident Prevention Association:
Lighting Research & Technology (various articles)
Occupational Safety and Health Branch of Labour Department

Sustained Light Level

The Achilles heel of magnetic HID ballast lighting is its poor lumen maintenance. The amount of light output produced by an HID lamp decreases dramatically with age. Standard Metal Halide (MH) lamps lose on average 55% of their lumen output by the time they reach their “rated lamp life”. It is not uncommon to find HID lamps still operating well beyond their rated life producing only 15-25% of the original light level at the work plane. Newer style pulse start lamps fare a little better by retaining around 57% of their lumens at end of lamp life. Regardless of how dim the HID lamps get over time they will still use the same amount of electricity as when they were new. If a building owner were to request a set level of light at the work plane they will only get that light level for the first few thousand hours of operation, after which time the facility will be perpetually under lit. Newer lighting technologies have made significant gains in “lumen maintenance” meaning the light level will be preserved enabling lower wattage fixtures to be specified from the beginning.

Increased Light Output

Electronic HID, fluorescent and LED systems typically all produce more lumens per watt (light created verses energy consumed) vs. a standard probe start metal halide. This is largely because of the improved fixture efficiencies. For example, a when replacing a 400W metal halide with a LED luminaire it is possible to achieve great light levels while savings over 60% in electrical and maintenance expenses.

Further Energy Savings Through Dimming

Currently most high bay facilities are not utilizing any light dimming system. This design flaw creates significant energy saving opportunities. New light installations frequently utilize dimming systems so that when activity on the floor is reduced lights reduce their power consumption. Technologically advanced sensors ensure you have light where you need it and don’t waste it where you don’t.

Hot Re-Strike

If you operate on the standard 400W metal halide system, which is installed in upwards of 90% of high bay buildings, you may have noticed that when there is a power interruption (even if only for a few seconds) your high bay lights take 10-15 minutes to come back on. The cost of this down time and potential safety hazards it creates is significant to any business. New lighting technology offers significantly reduced (3-5 minute) re-strike for eHID, or instant re-strike for HPS, Fluorescent and LED technologies.

No Stroboscopic Effect

The arc in a magnetic metal halide is operated by a ballast on a 60Hz system meaning that the light output is modulated at 60 times per second. This rapid variation in light output creates what is known as stroboscopic effect. Because of the stroboscopic effect, an object such as a drill or grinding wheel, that is moving at a uniform speed may appear to move in jerks, standstill, or even move in the opposite direction. By upgrading to newer technology you can completely get rid of the safety hazards created by stroboscopic lighting.

Fire Risks

Magnetic powered metal halide lamps can have arc tube ruptures that been known to cause fires in warehouses and industrial applications. The National Electrical Manufacturing Association (NEMA) recommends that magnetic HID lights be switched off for 15-minute periods to periodically cycle the lamp, allowing a subsequent cooling and heating of the arc tube. This process allows cracks to propagate which may lead to the bulb bursting during start up. In addition NEMA advises customers not to store flammable, combustible, or oxidizing materials beneath any magnetic HID luminaries. Electronic HID and fluorescent fixtures have the capability of controlling the arc so that the internal arc tube is kept at the optimum temperature thus eliminating these risks. LED fixtures have no arc tube to pose such a threat.

Maintenance Savings

The average metal halide lamp powered by a magnetic ballast needs to be replaced every 12k-20k hours. As these lamps are typically 30’ or more in the air the cost of replacing a lamp is substantial. Often a lift needs to rented and by the time a few lights are changed out and invoices are reviewed the cost to change a just one light can cost more than $100. New high bay lighting systems can reduce maintenance costs significantly by extending lamp life to 30k-120k hours.

Financial Rebates

BC Hydro has several programs providing rebates to customers encouraging them to update to newer more energy efficient technology. The average client of Integral Lighting will receive between a 35-75% rebate for the project costs. Amounts will be determined based on several factors most notably whether the customer is a large user of electricity.