Part of our job at CooLED is to teach you about the benefits of LED lighting, like how much it can save your business (a lot) and how easy CooLED can make the process for you (very). For this article, we spoke with our favorite LED expert, Dan Borski.
Dan has been working with the owners and property managers of multi-family housing to change out their aging lighting systems. Residential complexes have a lot of exterior, parking lot, and hallway lights which are active for long hours. Much of the workload for their maintenance staff involves repairing or replacing lamps and fixtures. Here is a short Q&A that may shine some light on the subject.
Q: Have you seen an increase in the conversion to LED lighting in the multi-family housing industry? Do you anticipate this attraction to grow?
Dan: Yes, and Yes. I see the utility rate increasing in the near future and well beyond, creating an eagerness for property managers of multi-family housing facilities to invest in an LED conversion. Many managers are finally getting permission to change. Most already know there are excellent energy savings and fewer maintenance hassles with LEDs. Today, LEDs can be purchased with a great payback. But beware, some products can be cheap and give good LEDs a bad rap.
So, the interest is very high and LED lighting is a proven consumer technology. There are more chances than ever to catch companies before they go through a potentially costly trial and error period. The multi-family housing market seems to be consistent and healthy.
Q: Is more weight given to the opinions of owners or to those of the tenants?
Dan: The owners already have a lot of experience in knowing what the tenant wants and what they’re going to get with a lease. Plus, owners are the ones who pay for upgrades. However, tenant complaints regarding inadequate light for safety concerns or annoying “light trespass” glare are often the reason for an owner’s push to find an LED solution sooner than later. Tenant complaints about “troublesome” light fixtures will eventually rise on the list of things the owners want to change, making the decision to convert that much easier.
Q: How does owner/tenant split metering affect the decision-making process?
Dan: On the owner or “house” meter side of things, it has become more of a no-brainer to switch to LEDs for common, public, and outdoor areas. It lowers energy costs, reduces complaints, and gives maintenance more time for other duties.
In the case of the meter being under the tenant, it’s a different story. Many property owners will only repair and replace the fixtures “fixed on the wall or ceiling” as needed, including the bulbs. If the owner can frame it as a tenant advantage resulting in a lower tenant electric bill, then it can become more of a selling point.
Q: When switching to LEDs at a property, can everything be changed to LED? Is it better to replace existing fixtures or retrofit the existing fixture with new lamps?
Dan: I haven’t seen many fixtures or situations that couldn’t be changed to LEDs. I keep up with the latest advances in technology to find the solutions. Of course, cost is always a big concern.
We form the basis for our proposals through interviews with owners, property managers, and service technicians at the property in question. My first thought is to provide a one-to-one retrofit solution if the existing fixtures are worth keeping. Generally, retrofits will provide a quicker payback, and we are always keen to keep the payback period as short as possible. In many situations, not only does the owner want to replace old lights with LEDs, but also increase the light output and quality. Our proposed retrofit solutions will usually do that.
Sometimes we find fixtures that really won’t pay to retrofit because of the poor shape they are in. If it is more cost-effective and provides a better overall result, we will offer a new LED fixture. After conducting a thorough and detailed site survey, we present recommendations along with upgrade alternatives for each solution. We often offer options to significantly improve light output and/or upgrade the fixture aesthetically. In either case, the solution we recommend is always top quality and will have a long life with a low life-cycle cost.
CooLED is your trusted LED Lighting Project Management Team. We bring LED lighting solutions to commercial, industrial and retail businesses and specialize in multi-location coordination from coast to coast. As a full-service company, we manage your LED upgrade from start to finish and submit your utility rebate information for you, saving your business 50-80% off your lighting and maintenance bills.