COST OF OWNERSHIP VS ROI

Return on Investment (ROI) is often the most reviewed metric when in an energy project.  At EDE while we know how important ROI is. We also know that the Cost of Ownership is the MOST IMPORTANT metric for any new purchase.  When you get into lighting controls and solar the long-term financial benefits will continue to pay long after the investment is paid off.   

If Company A reduces the companies energy waste by $10,000.00 per month with a $200,000.00 investment.  Company B reduces their energy waste by $8,000.00 per month at a cost of $150,000.00. What solution will benefit the company the most? We know the answer, yet, most companies are fixated on the upfront costs of the project and really don’t look at the long-term cost of ownership.   

As previously mentioned, the cost of the equipment for a new LED lighting system with controls makes up only 5% of the total cost of that lighting system over its useful life. A whopping 90% of the cost of that lighting system is made up of energy costs (costs to operate the lighting system) and the remaining 5% is the cost to maintain the lighting system.

IMPORTANT COMPONENTS IN A LED FIXTURE

Spend a little time and research before you buy your LED fixtures. Before you buy an LED light fixture check the following:

Quality of LED diodes being used in the fixture

Ask the company you are working with who is the manufacturer of the LED diodes.  They are many quality manufacturers that have cost-effective diodes.

Quality of the driver

The driver is the engine for the LED fixture, and you want to make sure you have a good quality driver.  There are a lot of knock-off or very cheap drivers in the market today which are used in cheap fixtures. The failure rate is 50% plus higher when these cheap drivers are powering LED fixtures that are in use for 5,000 hours per year or more or when heat is an issue in a facility (ceiling temps above 120F).

Quality of the fixture’s heatsink

The heatsink pulls heat away from the LED diode’s housing.  Heatsinks are a passive form of cooling; there are no moving parts or power required.  Some materials serve as better heat sinks, such as forged aluminum.

LUMENS vs FOOTCANDLES

Lumens are a measure of a lamp, bulb or LED diodes performance.  A fixture that has 24,000 lumens represents the original light level output or the “brightness” of the lighting source. Light delivered to a work surface is measured in footcandles, not lumens.  A footcandle is a measurement of light often measured by a light meter.

DEMAND CHARGE

A demand charge/fee is a charge some commercial customers receive for a peak period of energy consumption throughout a given period, generally speaking, a month.  The utilities measure this with an onsite demand meter. The utility companies implement demand charges/fees to ensure they can always meet their clients capacity needs.

Can you reduce your demand charges? Yes, through a carefully orchestrated effort you can lower your demand costs.  If you would like to learn more, please email or call us for help.

IMPACT OF LIGHT ON HUMAN PERFORMANCE, ENERGY AND MOOD

Today companies are designing color tuning lighting systems that provide three different color temperatures, and the results are as expected, more energy, fewer headaches, fewer sick days and the list goes on.  Light is an essential ingredient for our health, and we tend to forget this.

We all know about Seasonal Affective Order the disease that is treatable through light therapy.  Today their many illnesses that we are learning can be treated with light. There are numerous studies out today on the impact light has on work performance, mood and team member energy levels. If you would like information on this, please contact us.

MOTION SENSOR vs LIGHTING CONTROLS

There is a lot of confusion today about these two.  A motion sensor measures motion and controls a light fixture.  When there is no occupancy after a set amount of time, the Sensor will turn off the light fixture.  Lighting controls can be very robust and do so much more. Today lighting controls provide unprecedented insight into facility operations and help businesses create better business decisions.  Here are just a few things lighting controls are doing today:

  • Improves safety

  • Measure temperature and moisture

  • Provide high-end fixture trimming
  • Provide asset tracking

  • Informs retailers where shoppers are traveling through their stores. What products and displays are receiving the most attention.
  • Improve security
  • Decrease energy waste by 30% over an LED fixture with a sensor and 50% over a LED fixture
  • Perform building maintenance checks
  • Provide measurable documented energy savings
  • Performs automatic emergency lighting tests as scheduled and provides a detailed report
  • Increase the life of the LED’s
  • Provide valuable facility insight into traffic flow
  • Task Tuning – different light levels for various areas of the work environment (provides significant energy savings)
  • Power metering
  • Collect data and provides real-time control from anywhere to help Energy Managers reduce waste even further

WHY IS OCCUPANCY IMPORTANT?

Most companies have no idea what their lights are costing them monthly to operate.  When you understand that 750W equals one horsepower and many light fixtures use half of one horsepower or more, suddenly they begin to get a glimpse into the cost of their lighting.  

We have over 10-years of historical data that supports the following facility occupancies:

  • 30 – 35% for manufacturing facilities (some as low 20%)
  • 20 – 25% for warehouse and distribution centers (some as low 15%)
  • 30 – 50% for colleges, schools, and universities
  • 20 – 40% for office and government building

This means there is a significant opportunity to reduce energy waste and further reduce these groups carbon footprint.  When you can do a deep dive into your facilities occupancy with ease, you will be surprised just how much waste you can reduce without impacting team members, tenant satisfaction, safety or work performance.

DIMMING OR TURNING OFF FIXTURES MAKES MY FACILITY LOOK DARK AND DANGEROUS

The human eye cannot perceive a 30% change in light levels.  With progressive dimming or slow dimming as some refer to it, the occupants have no idea of the light levels changes.  Remember, lighting professionals do not lower light levels when an area is occupied(when someone is working in that area). Dimming and turning off light fixtures in areas only occurs when there is no occupancy.  

Dimming is not dangerous, period.  When a fixture dims down because there is no occupancy event for a designated period, the fixture will power back up to its required level of brightness once someone walks within 20-30’ of the fixture.  Meaning, long before someone gets to the area, the fixture is at its planned occupancy setting, generally speaking, 80 – 90% power/brightness.

Lighting controls today will allow a business to group a series of fixtures in an area so that all fixtures behave with the same settings.  So when someone walks into an unoccupied work area, 6-10 or any number of fixtures can power up to fully illuminate the workspace.