When I talk to business owners about saving money on their energy costs they all love the idea. But of course they all have the same concern being cost. Running a business big or small always has the same challenge in cash flow, sure you want to reduce as much of your overhead as possible but that often requires investment.
As business owners we understand that while we have big goals, we have to prioritize our investments. With energy being a painful and growing expense for most companies it`s important to evaluate the different option available in to two categories.
Total Investment- If the investment you would like to make is $100,000 dollars and you have $10,000, well that makes it less of an option, but important to keep in mind these investments are getting easier all the time to finance. We finance many solar installations through our financial partners with a variety of options. But having payments and interest means this needs to be factored.
Pay Back Period- This is the single most important factor for those that have cashflow but want to grow the strength of their business by reducing overhead.
Considering these 2 factors is what makes LED Lighting upgrades the low hanging fruit and first option to consider. As they generally are some of the lowest cost investments. As well as having a payback periods as little as 18 months
While LED Lighting is available for virtually every application one of the things that is often missed or poorly designed is the lighting control element.
Lighting controls, simpler is better
Motion detection- this can be a great way to ensure that lights in areas rarely used never get left on, but also important to make sure they are functioning with a simple scheduled inspection. Motion activated lights in a stairwell only used when a fire alarm goes off or your elevator is down for maintenance is great, unless its not functioning when you need and have employees dangerously going down the stairs in the pitch black.
Automated scheduling- This is a category in my view that is often overspent on by building developers after engineers spec it as the best way to save money. Keeping in mind engineers work with their favorite lighting agencies to spec lights for commercial developments. Since the lighting agencies are selling these products, it is in their best interest to spec a $5000 dollar computerized lighting automation system which will not actually do anything that a photocell, lighting contactor and 3 position switch can not do for 10 percent of the cost. These large computerized systems have their place for larger applications with dozens of circuits to control and monitor but more and more they are used to control a few circuits like the parking lot lights, lobby lights and hallway lighting.