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Lighting the way to project savings

There are a number of significant decisions that go into designing a manufacturing facility. One thing most people don’t instantly think about as a critical decision is a building’s lighting. We can all agree that lights are clearly a necessity, but with increases in technology, there is no longer an obvious answer when it comes to commercial lighting selections. Lighting has gone from a necessity to a powerful budget factor.

Architects put just as much energy into selecting the right lighting solutions for any given space as they put into the width of transfer aisles and the height of high bay doors. The latter decisions won’t save you money for years to come, but lighting can.

The critical decision path begins with the selection of lighting options, making the case to clients, and demonstrating the most value in the best choice.

A Shining Example: Case Study

The electrical team has been tasked with selecting lighting options for a 200,000 SF manufacturing facility in the Midwest. The average light level at the manufacturing space floor to be achieved is 60 foot-candles with fixtures mounted at 20-feet above the floor. With the due diligence and research phases now complete, the team has narrowed it down to two lighting options.

The first fixture type is a 2-lamp 54 watt T5HO fluorescent industrial fixture which is traditionally used in industrial and manufacturing type spaces.

The second fixture is a highly efficient LED fixture specifically designed to replace conventional HID and fluorescent fixtures for low to high bay lighting applications.

Lighting by the Numbers

Looking at the numbers is always a good place to start. Sometimes in a situation where there are multiple selections, the numbers tell the whole story, and sometimes they are just one piece of the puzzle in the search for the best lighting solution. Remember the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’, that is as true as ever when comparing lighting products.

The options on the table in this scenario continue to provide insight by diving deeper into the specifics of each:

Fluorescent Industrial Fixture:

Fixture Cost: $118.00

Per Unit Installation Cost (excluding conduit/wiring and terminations): $90

Approx. replacement lamp cost: $4.71

Lamp average life: 20,000 hours

Watts per fixture: 124

Watts per square foot: 1.38

Total $28,202


LED High Bay Fixture:

Fixture Cost: $517.00

Per Unit Installation Cost (excluding conduit/wiring and terminations): $90

Lamp module average life: 100,000 hours

Watts per fixture: 259

Watts per square foot: 1.22

Total $52,734


The best choice shines brightly

Although the LED fixture option has a higher initial cost when compared to the fluorescent alternative ($52k vs. $28k), the cost of lamp replacement over 100,000 hours (fixture lifetime) period is zero compared to $11k for the fluorescent alternative. In addition, an LED option lighting layout requires approximately 57% less fixtures to achieve the same level of lighting (60FC average) in the manufacturing space than its fluorescent counterpart. This means the initial installation cost and future fixture maintenance costs are greatly minimized. Another advantage of the LED option is that it does not require storage space and inventory for replacement lamps, whereas the fluorescent alternative does.

The LED fixture option also provides lower watts per square foot operation than the fluorescent fixture alternative (1.22 vs 1.38). This will reduce the yearly power consumption related to high-bay lighting by approximately 13%, resulting in additional long-term savings.

A few functional advantages of installing the LED fixtures in this space in lieu of fluorescent ones are worth mentioning. First, fluorescent fixtures are, in general, less efficient than LED fixtures. This inefficiency results in higher heat dissipation from the fluorescent fixture and requires increased cooling in the space, therefore increasing energy consumption. Next, since LED light modules contain no glass components, they are not vulnerable to vibration or breakage compared to conventional fluorescent lamps, therefore providing a higher level of safety for the users and equipment below. Finally, an LED light source does not suffer from flickering due to under voltage of the power source, which tends to be a common issue with fluorescent fixtures.

After comparing both scenarios, it is clear that the LED option has an overall advantage in initial installation cost, long-time energy cost, and functionality, therefore would be the suggested option to the client that is best suited for the intended use of the space. Providing savings in all three of these areas will provide a huge overall advantage to the success of the project, news any company would be happy to hear.

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Posted In: Behind the Scenes
Tagged In: electrical, lighting, case study
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Michael Sargent leads the electrical department at BRPH and provides clients with time and resource savings through efficient and technologically advanced lighting solutions.

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