So you’ve made the decision to do an LED lighting retrofit at your facility, reviewed various proposals, and are now ready to make the final decision. It may seem tempting to go with the proposal that suggests staggering the implementation of your lighting retrofit, with the key benefit being reduced upfront investment. In this post, we’ll go through the various reasons for why staggering implementation is not the answer, and the better solutions we’d recommend.
Warranty & Maintenance Issues
First, there are numerous issues that can arise in regards to warranties and maintenance if you stagger your retrofit implementation. There are several types of LED warranties, which include manufacturer warranties, labor warranties, and extended warranties, that often cover both. A typical LED manufacturer’s warranty lasts between three and five years and covers only the cost of replacing the product itself, not the labor. Labor coverage is not the norm for manufacturers, but in some cases they will extend their warranty to include this. Ultimately, the best bet is to look at a third-party provider if product and labor warranties are important to you.
LED technology requires a different life rating system than the standard you might see with older technologies. Most LEDs are rated for how long they will last before a certain percentage of light output has diminished. This way of looking at the longevity of a light source is known as lumen maintenance. As you can see, it’s a complicated process to determine the right LED warranty and what is and is not covered. Adding into this the fact that you staggered implementation so various parts of your lighting system are on different warranties and timelines and you now have a situation requiring an immense amount of work to keep track of what is and is not covered.
LED technology is rapidly changing, so the longer it takes to implement your entire system, the more out of sync you will ultimately be. Now you may be thinking to yourself, “if the technology is changing so fast, why should I do any implementation now, won’t it just keep getting better?” For one thing, changing technology does not always mean improved, at least not in the places that matter to you most – energy and maintenance cost reduction.
Consider this scenario. You work in the department in charge of IT, which includes everything from maintaining and updating your network, purchasing equipment, and troubleshooting issues as they arise. It’s been decided that you are in need of five new computers for the office, and for the sake of simplification, let’s suppose they’ll cost a total of $10,000 if you buy all five today. The manufacturer suggests you buy the computers over the course of five years, and as such you’re able to reduce the upfront cost. Seems brilliant right? Well each year you get one new computer, and each year the operating system on the computer has changed, not necessarily improved in any marginal way, but different enough that it means by the fifth year, you now have five different computers on very different systems. When an issue occurs there is never one solution. While the initial idea to spread out the cost of buying the new computers was great, you’ve now got to factor in the amount of time and resources as well as a whole bevy of other issues because of staggering.
Performance Evaluation Difficulty
To truly capitalize on the energy and maintenance savings that LED provides, it’s important to get the full picture. If you’ve decided to do an LED retrofit with the expectation of say, 60% energy reduction, $15,000 in maintenance cost reduction, and an ROI in four years – you won’t see that happen if you stretch the length of the project out for several years instead of doing a full retrofit all at once.
Now you’ve gotten to this and you’re saying to yourself, “OK, I understand the risks of staggering installation, but what else can I do?” There are a few options that could help, one of which is Lighting-as-a-Service, or LaaS. Instead of spending the capital investment for a lighting upgrade at the beginning of your project, your lighting service provider will install and warranty your new LED lighting system at their expense. Then you budget a monthly payment for your lighting. It’s effectively a way to get the advantage of the LED lighting upgrade you’ve been considering and making it cash-flow positive from day one. LaaS is expected to grow at a rate of nearly 50 percent over the next five years, which should come as no surprise. By solving many problems for today's businesses, it's a great chance for those looking for ways to retrofit their business without any sizable capital upfront. The opportunity to capture significant energy savings sooner is a huge benefit to businesses. With each day that passes without upgrading, money is left on the table.
Of course our best recommendation is to call Stouch Lighting. We will put together the best possible plan, taking into consideration every detail, from initial payment concerns, downtime during installation, and product quality. Contact Us today to learn more.