When seeing is believing

A lot of energy upgrades are hard to see. Air-sealing and insulation are important, but live inside your building’s walls, floors or ceilings. But lighting is different!

Here is a dramatic snapshot taken this week inside a local manufacturer’s factory floor. This company is upgrading 100% of its lighting throughout all of its facilities (about 1,400 fixtures).Untitled

The lighting upgrade will deliver about 250,000 kilowatt-hours in electric savings per year equal to about $50,000 in reduced electric costs.

But the most dramatic impact is the instant visual one. The new lighting delivers more light with better color at every workstation and desk, while using fewer fixtures with lamps that will last longer and use far less electricity.

In this panorama view on the darker, right side of the photo, you see an area of the factory where we have not yet installed the new fixtures. Here, as is common in industrial setting, the old, existing fluorescent tube fixtures were installed running the length of the floor in parallel rows. The dark gaps indicate where one or more fixtures in a row have failed.

On the brighter, left side of the photo, you see the adjoining area of the floor where we have already installed the new lighting. Rather than long rows, we placed the newer fixtures equal distances apart and used lenses that spread the light out evenly.

The new fixtures cast more light (higher foot candles at workstation height) and more even light across the floor to eliminate dark spots. This location pattern for the new lights allowed us to remove most of the individual task lighting that had been added above each workstation due to the under-performance of the old lighting scheme.

The owner will qualify for performance-based incentives from NYSERDA of about $40,000, due to the large electricity savings that the new lighting will deliver. Federal and state depreciation benefits (about $107,000), and reduced maintenance (about $25,000 saved) reduce the out of pocket further.

After all the incentives and avoided costs, the total lighting project has a 3 year fiscal payback for the owner and an instant visual payback of better illumination from the front door all the way to the shipping dock doors.

PS: If you look carefully, you will note the skylights that parallel the old rows of tube fixtures. We took this photo in midday to give you the most optimistic photo of light conditions under the old fixtures even with the skylights bring daylight in. The only Photoshop enhancement we added was the “Before” and “After” text.

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