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Continuing from our May article, below are the remaining 5 mistakes to avoid!

5. Using too high of a color temperature for your outdoor parking lot lights. We get requests all the time from customers that want the highest temperature you can get so the parking lot appears brighter. We hear this from car dealers to shopping mall owners. While we don't mind going up to 5000k in outdoor, we highly recommend that you do not go over that color. We see car dealer lots with 6000k or even higher. You will notice this if you ever pass a car dealer and notice how bright the lot is BUT also notice how WHITE the lot is. All the color gets whitewashed and instead of having the bright red sports car stand out, it looks like a very odd color that has no pop. For shopping center owners you have to remind yourself who the parking lot is for. Your customers are coming out of their homes which have warm low-temperature light (2700k), they travel on the main roads which usually have even lower temperature light (2200k) and then they arrive at your lot. If you have a 5700k color in your lot, it doesn't feel natural to your customer. It feels stark, cold, and uninviting. If you are relying on creating a first impression for a customer, you want them to think your lot is comfortable, bright and inviting. 4000k is plenty for this feeling.

4. Making your decision solely on the breakeven. We hear this all the time. As long as the breakeven is 1.5 years or less, we can get this project approved. The problem with this theory is that a lot of companies know this is a requirement and they will sell you sub-par, cheap fixtures just to meet this requirement. So while you may break even at 1.5 years, you wind up having constant light failures, warranty replacements, and degraded light levels. The cheaper fixtures only last 1 to 5 years and then you have to reinstall again. Ask the owner if he would rather have a 1.5-year payback that he will have to re-install in 3 to 5 years versus a 2-year payback that will last 10 years.

3. Confusing CCT with CRI. Color temperature defines the color appearance of a white LED. CCT is defined in degrees Kelvin; a warm light (orange/yellow) is around 2700K or less, moving to neutral white at around 4000K, and to cool white, at 5000K or more. As you get past 5000k, the light looks very blue. CRI (color rendering index) is a measure of how accurately a light source illuminates objects' true colors. CRI values of a perfect 100 indicate LED lights that are able to produce white light that approximates halogen or incandescent lighting and natural daylight. As you can imagine, the higher the better.

2. Not understanding what the rated life calculation is. The rated life calculation that is printed on the spec sheet is usually BS. Did you know that a rated life calculation is an estimate based on a 6,000-hour sample? The lab doing the testing uses two standard temperatures and then the manufacturer picks a temperature to test. As you can imagine the manufacturer uses a low temperature so they can show the best results. So the number you see on the spec sheet is an estimate of how long a fixture will last based on the coldest temperature possible. When we evaluate new fixtures, we ask for the full testing data so I can see the difference between the coolest temperature and the hottest temperature. Knowing that most LEDs fail due to high temperatures, if the delta between the two tests is too high, we won't even touch the fixture.

And the #1 mistake to avoid when doing an LED conversion is...

1. Not working with an experienced lighting company. These days, everyone tries to sell LED lighting because they think they can make a quick buck. Most of these companies get in and out of the business very quickly. Since they do not have any real education in lighting, they sell you products that are good for them and NOT for you. One quick way to check if the company you are working with has any real expertise is to ask if anyone on staff has a Lighting Certified (LC) or similar certification.

Converting your facility to LED is hard enough to do one time. Imagine doing a re-install because of massive failures? If you avoid the mistakes above, you can enjoy a new lighting system that will save you money, increase the light levels, create more uniformity on your lighting and will be hassle-free for the next 10+ years! That's a good deal!!

The post Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid with a Commercial/Industrial LED Conversion (PART TWO) appeared first on SIB Lighting.

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10. Going with the cheap stuff. I shouldn't be surprised at this point but I do get amused every time I talk to a company that owns a multi-million dollar building with equipment worth many millions more. The investments companies make to ensure they have a competitive, quality products are significant. They take pride in their safety records and in the people they employ. I think that's great. But for some reason when it comes to lighting, it feels like a race to the bottom. There are so many vendors willing to sell you any type of LED light cheap. They all think that the customer only wants the lowest cost. In our experience, customers want value. The simple adage still exists...you get what you pay for. Go cheap, and you will be dealing with lighting headaches forever. Do it the right way, once, and you will be done with lighting for a very long time!

9. Not reading the actual warranty. These days, 5-year warranties are common for most LED products. But with the surge in demand for more industrial and commercial LED lighting conversions, some manufacturers are now giving a 10-year warranty. The trick with warranties is making sure you read the actual warranty policy. Just seeing the warranty on a spec sheet is not enough. You need to understand the limitations. We see many manufacturers who give a 10-year warranty but if you read all of the fine print, they only cover the driver for 5 years. Or they may say if you are using the fixture more than 4800 hours, the warranty is only 3 or 5 years. Do your homework and read the entire warranty.

8. Avoiding dirty power issues. If you have had electrical issues in the past with machinery in your facility, you need to address this before you make the switch to LED. LED technology is a bit more fickle and prone to surges than some of the older lighting technologies. The number one cause of LED failures is heat, but the second major cause is electrical issues. If you don't have any surge suppression, it may be a good time to invest in this fairly cheap technology. You are about to invest quite a bit of money to upgrade your lights so it makes sense to ensure you have clean power going to them.

7. Using occupancy sensors everywhere. While we love using sensors and control systems in projects to reduce energy consumption, it often does not make much financial sense. If you have a 24/7 warehouse that alternates occupancy in certain sections by shift schedule, then yes, it probably makes sense. Why have lights on when they could be off or dimmed 75%+ of the time? But on the other hand, if you have an active manufacturing floor with lots of people and machines, the fixtures will barely shut off. So you just spent an extra $75 on a sensor that saves you an extra $5 a year. Not a good deal!

6. Using the wrong energy rate assumption on your financial analysis. When calculating the kw/h rate to use in your financial analysis, most people just take the total monthly bill and divide that by the monthly kilowatts used. The problem with this is that you are not billed this way. You are billed on how many kilowatts you do use, but most importantly you are billed on the peak demand that you need during any given month. The utility measures your consumption all the time and they want to make sure you have enough power for the times of the month where you need it the most. So they reserve this amount of energy for you and then they charge you for it. If you are a heavy industrial user of energy and have lots of high horsepower pumps and motors, have a large HVAC system or use heavy manufacturing equipment, the percent of energy that your lights use may be fairly small. Just because we reduce your lighting consumption by 75% doesn't mean we will reduce the peak demands or even the kilowatts by that much. You must account for this when figuring out what energy rate to use in your analysis. If you don’t, I can guarantee you will be disappointed in your overall savings.

Stay tuned for the remaining 5 mistakes to avoid in our June post!

Converting your facility to LED is hard enough to do one time. Imagine doing a re-install because of massive failures? If you avoid the mistakes above, you can enjoy a new lighting system that will save you money, increase the light levels, create more uniformity on your lighting and will be hassle-free for the next 10+ years! That's a good deal!!

The post Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid with a Commercial/Industrial LED Conversion (PART ONE) appeared first on SIB Lighting.

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When it’s time to expand your warehouse, do you ask the local handyman to give you a quote or do you call an architect to have them create professional plans?

When you need to upgrade your IT servers, would you let your forklift dealer step inside your server room to give you a quote or do you call a professional IT services company to help?

When you need a new roof, do you ask your local uniform company if they can give you a bid on a new roof or do you bring in a professional roofing company?

The answer to these questions is fairly obvious. But for some reason when it comes to upgrading lighting, which affects 100% of the people that work in your company, consumes about 20 to 40% of your energy bill, and dramatically impacts safety, security and productivity, many companies have no problem buying from anyone who says they can sell LED fixtures regardless of that vendor’s expertise in the lighting industry. The local forklift dealer tells you they now sell lighting. Great, let's get a quote. Your maintenance manager has a friend who used to sell mortgages but now sells LED lighting. Terrific, bring him in.

It’s no wonder that over 50% of the people we talk to who have already converted to LED lighting are unhappy with the results and are experiencing more outages than they expected. One of the newest trends we are seeing lately is a concept that I call “re-retrofitting.” That means replacing cheap, failing LEDs that were installed less than five years ago with new, high-quality industrial-grade lighting that is the right solution for the company.

Unfortunately, this is a trend that is getting worse, not better. And the number one cause of these issues is that customers are buying from people that do not understand LED technology. These vendors are only selling on price and financial models. It used to be that the plant electrician could address any lighting needs you may have. Replace a lamp, easy. Change out a fixture, no problem. The challenge with today’s LED lighting is that LEDs are more similar to IT technology than traditional light bulb technology. An LED is actually a semiconductor device so even electricians don’t understand it. We now have to deal with special optic patterns, detailed thermal management strategies, enhanced efficacy, L70/L80/L90 forecasts, TM-Reports, Miliamp conversions, etc. It is not that simple anymore.

So that brings up the question: when it is time to retrofit your lighting, who do you buy from? The simple answer is a professional lighting company that has real experience working on similar projects for at least 5 years. Most importantly, that company needs to have an LC or someone with a similar certification on staff.

LC? It’s short for Lighting Certified. Never heard that before? Of course not, because so few people in the lighting industry invest time in education. LC is a certification from a non-profit group called the National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professional (NCQLP). It was created as a baseline standard for knowledge covering the entire scope of the vast lighting field.

To get the certification of LC, you need to pass a rigorous four-hour, professionally proctored test. The source material that you need to study from comes from a 1,300-page lighting handbook and another dozen or so manuals and guides ranging from 10 to 100 pages. In order to even take the test you need to have multiple years of real-world experience in lighting. They will NOT let just anyone take the test.

An LC has a vested interest in creating the proper long term solution for you. Most LCs are not in sales. They are consultants. They love lighting and they learn and read about new lighting technologies every day. They will run the project through a full technical site analysis, create any photometric designs, and ensure that what is being proposed will work for you now and well into the future.

So the next time your company needs to negotiate a contract, call your lawyer. And the next time you are ready to upgrade your lighting, call an LC.

The post Don’t be part of the 50% appeared first on SIB Lighting.

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The most common theme we hear when proposing new LED lighting projects is that the prospective customer must realize a two-year or under break-even in order to get internal funding for the project. While our clients understand the numerous benefits of converting to LED -- lower energy bills, increased productivity of workers, better visual appearance, enhanced safety in the facility, reduced ongoing maintenance of the lights, etc. -- many still tell us that in order to get the funding approved, the two-year or less payback is a requirement.

Since most LED lighting solutions providers know this, the inherent major mistake they make is designing proposals to specifically meet this payback threshold, versus offering the best possible solution for the customer. Let me explain.

In our industry, there is always more than one way to skin a cat. It is significantly less expensive to retrofit a T8 high bay fixture with LED T8 tubes versus replacing the fixture with a brand new LED fixture. On paper, the T8 solution may actually yield a two-year or less payback while the new fixture may come in around three years. So when these two proposals are being evaluated, it’s easier for the team to present to upper management the proposal that meets the two-year payback test.

Now let’s examine the differences in the two actual solutions in a factory that has lights on 24/7.

We recently won a project from a customer that retrofitted their T8 high bays themselves about 18 months prior with LED tubes. When we got on site they told us they were experiencing about a 60 percent failure rate with significant lumen depreciation. At that point, they expected every single tube to fail. The maintenance department was replacing more LED tubes than they ever did with fluorescent tubes. The light levels were actually now worse than before they did this retrofit and management was upset that whenever they brought customers or partners into the facility, some lights were always out. By installing the tubes themselves, they were able to pass the internal two-year payback test. But would you consider this a success? Of course not.

We are now ripping out every fixture they have, redesigning the space, and installing American made LED fixtures with a 10-year warranty and custom optics to enhance overall uniformity of light. If they would have chosen this solution originally, the payback would have been closer to three years, but with myriad advantages over their current system.

The point is rather obvious -- the payback is irrelevant if the solution is junk. The amount of time, effort and money spent on fixing a sub-par solution will outweigh any great initial payback. It is hard enough shutting down production lines once to do a project, but imagine doing it again in less than two years? It is very painful and expensive. Unfortunately, we see this more and more often as customers have opted for cheap solutions versus the correct solution.

As solutions providers, we realize that presenting a solution, with, say, a 10-year payback will most likely be rejected. However, if you are comparing two proposals where one has a 1.8 year payback and the other is three years, you owe it to your company to properly evaluate the solutions and have confidence to explain to management that the three-year break-even will yield significantly more savings, better long term performance, and less maintenance to the company.

The post The Fallacy of Break-Evens appeared first on SIB Lighting.

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We love this shot that shows one of our recent installs in the MIDDLE of the project. What a difference good lighting can make. Not to mention we are saving them 80% on the cost of their lighting and they now have smart sensors that dim the lights when no one is around.

The post Mid-project BEFORE/AFTER! appeared first on SIB Lighting.

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SIB Lighting is pleased to announce that its President, David Etzler, has recently passed the prestigious Lighting Certified (LC) exam from the National Council on Qualifications
for the Lighting Professions (NCQLP).

As stated on the NCQLP website, as the lighting industry has grown, a number of efforts have been undertaken to differentiate the knowledgeable and qualified lighting practitioner. As a result, a need was recognized for an independent, industry-wide credentialing effort. Such a program addresses multiple issues that include: safety, health, productivity, energy conservation and effectiveness, environmental concerns, governmental policy, lighting technology, and competent, knowledgeable lighting practice.

The Lighting Certification Program was initiated by the lighting industry in 1991. Both lighting organizations, as well as several governmental agencies whose mission encompasses lighting, have been involved since the beginning. Lighting Certification is designed to set a baseline standard covering the entire scope of the vast lighting field. Utilizing the NCQLP’s testing mechanism, qualified individuals can earn their Lighting Certification designation. PSI, as NCQLP’s professional testing agency, provides the expertise of an independent testing company in the construction of a valid and reliable examination that covers the entire field. The LC Examination is also continuously reviewed by the NCQLP Examination Committee to ensure that the questions which are asked are current, comprehensive, fair and reflective of lighting applications as they are being practiced across our industry today.

Join us in congratulating David on this achievement!

The post SIB Lighting president David Etzler earns NCQLP’s prestigious Lighting Certification appeared first on SIB Lighting.

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Did you know that there is an amazing benefit that the US Department of Agriculture has for upgrading lighting and other energy saving measures that can pay you up to 25% of your project?  The program is called, Rural Energy for Americas Program (REAP).  While the program is run through the USDA, as long as you meet 2 criteria, you are eligible to apply:

  • The location where we are doing the project is in an official rural zone of America. We can do a lookup of your address and determine if this is the case. Obviously, the closer you are to any big city, the chances that you are in a rural zone decreases.
  • Your business needs to be a “small business” as classified by the Federal Government. In most cases, this means less than 500 employees. Depending on the NAICS code of your business, we can check the specific requirement for you.

That is it. If you meet these two requirements, you are eligible. Also, if you happen to be in any type of agricultural business, you automatically can apply for up to 25% of the total gross cost of the project. Rebates and other incentives do not affect this program.  We have seen break-evens on projects in less than one year when you factor in the utility rebate and the REAP benefit.

The hardest part of this program tends to be the actual application.  But since we have successfully helped other businesses apply and get this benefit, we can minimize your pain and help fill out the application for you.

The post Rural Energy for America Program (REAP): How to Save an Additional 25% On Your Lighting Retrofit appeared first on SIB Lighting.

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This study compares the color rendition characteristics of the three most common commercial lighting technologies; HID (high-pressure sodium and metal halide), fluorescent, and solid state. Providing a comparison between measured and perceived color, the consumer of commercial lighting will better understand how their spaces will appear, specifically how colors will look under each of the three commercial technologies considered herein.

The post WHITEPAPER – Competitive Analysis: Color Rendering in White Light appeared first on SIB Lighting.

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One of the main issues we talk to our clients about is how heat impacts long-term LED performance. Most of the time we bring this up in the context of interior industrial lighting but for clients in the Southern and Western parts of the country, where outdoor temperatures can be sustained above 80 degrees during summer evenings, this needs to be a concern as well.

A recent Energy.gov report on the long-term performance of outdoor area lighting was just released and highlights what we have been saying for years. Under this study, area lights showed dramatic reductions in light levels and had color changes when exposed to higher temperatures.

The study also exposed the major issue the industry has with marketing LED products in this country. The gap between lab performance to field performance is dramatic. Just because a fixture says on its spec sheet that the L80 is 50,000 hours means nothing if your environment is hot and if you have harsh conditions. Too many people buy LED products from people who do not understand the technology and just show spec sheets “proving” their products will last for 20 years. If you have a hot environment or unfavorable conditions such as dust or oil in the air, you can expect most LED fixtures to last 2-3 years before reducing their light levels over 50%.

Therefore, it is imperative you talk with a lighting specialist who can analyze your needs properly and evaluate the unique conditions of your facility.

The post Heat and its Impact on Outdoor Lighting appeared first on SIB Lighting.

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High bay lighting fixtures are essential for warehouses, factories, industrial complexes, gyms and other large spaces with high ceilings. Over the years, many advancements have been made with this kind of lighting. If you’re still relying on traditional mercury, sodium or metal halide fixtures, you could stand to benefit greatly from a professional LED high bay lighting design and installation service.

Benefits of LED High Bay Lighting

There are many high bay fixtures on the market. Without the right experience, it can be a tough task to find the optimal fixtures for your unique space. SIB Lighting designers and engineers have years of experience working with high bay lighting and can provide the best recommendations for your needs. We work with leading US manufacturers to ensure the highest quality. Whether you need to light a series of warehouse aisles or a large gymnasium, we will provide the right solutions for you.

Here are some key benefits of LED high bay lighting design:

  • Efficient lighting. LED high bay lights offer much greater efficiency than their traditional counterparts. With improved technology, you will consume far less energy for the same quality or better lighting within your facility.
  • Lower cost. Upgrading to LEDs is commonly cited as one of the best ways to reduce energy costs. Using highly efficient LED bulbs will create a lower demand on your energy, decreasing the long-term costs of your lighting.
  • Greater Control. LEDs offer many advantages when it comes to control. With LED high bay lighting, you can easily dim, turn on/off, and even include your fixtures within a lighting network for optimal control.
  • Low maintenance. With modern LED lighting fixtures, you can expect long-term quality and durability. LEDs last much longer than traditional fixtures, requiring far less maintenance. This allows you to focus on the other elements of your business.

The SIB Lighting Process

Our proven LED retrofit process starts with a solid understanding of your needs and the unique requirements of your space. We perform a thorough site audit to identify key areas of focus and provide an optimized lighting design. With established best practices and years of experience, we can provide rapid high bay lighting design and installation services that are tailored to your unique needs.

Through our Lighting as a Service program, you can pay on a monthly basis, significantly reducing the upfront investment which is often a deterrent for many to upgrade from traditional lighting. Additionally, we maintain ownership of the lighting fixtures and will provide ongoing maintenance as needed. This saves you additional time and money.

Request A Quote

For expert LED high bay lighting design and installation services, request a quote from SIB Lighting today.

The post LED High Bay Lighting Design & Installation appeared first on SIB Lighting.

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