Lighting rebates

Transforming an Office with LED Light Fixtures and Retrofits

By David J. Alexander

While light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have become more prevalent in commercial buildings over the past decade, office spaces in particular have adopted the technology at a faster rate. However, there are still thousands of offices across the country that haven't switched to LEDs.

By learning more about the benefits of LED lighting, office owners and managers will be better equipped to make informed decisions about how to properly, affordably and sustainably transform their spaces with LED lighting.

The LED revolution and its impact on offices
LEDs can be incorporated into office spaces in many ways, including high-bay and low-bay light fixtures, troffers (rectangular, ceiling-mounted light fixtures) and downlighting. Most LED options have seen significant price decreases in recent years, and have available lighting rebates, giving office owners and managers vast opportunities to reduce utility costs and create a more environmentally sustainable business model.

Through ENERGY STAR and the DesignLights Consortium (DLC), PG&E offers links to qualified LED products, LED buyer guides, as well as energy saving tips, that can be used as resources when considering which LED products to choose. PG&E has also partnered with qualified LED distributors throughout its coverage area. A list of these distributors can be found through the PG&E website.

Office owners and managers in Central and Northern California can find LED lighting rebates and incentives through PG&E's Lighting Rebate Catalog.

6 important questions about LEDs for offices
Replacing light fixtures or initiating a lighting retrofit in an office can be a complex process, but the payoff is well worth it. Monthly utility costs go down, maintenance issues decrease and the building is in better position to meet ever-evolving efficiency requirements outlined by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

In order for an office owner or manager to be in the optimal position to undertake a lighting change, there are several questions that should be asked, including some of the following:

1. Q: Where in an office will the benefits of LEDs be best realized?
A: LEDs can be used for nearly any office space, from personal work stations to the main ceiling. But in order to fully realize all of the advantages of LEDs, a retrofit of larger, existing fixtures and systems may be in order. LED retrofit kits can be found for most types of fixtures, including troffers and downlighting.2 These retrofit kits make it relatively simple to replace or modify existing, less efficient fixtures – like ceiling and wall-mounted fixtures – with LED-compatible versions.

2. Q: Which LEDs are best for offices?
A: Linear LED or troffer retrofit kits are the easiest way for offices to be transformed through lighting. LED technology has advanced to the point that it can replace the look, feel and aesthetic appeal of incandescent and fluorescent ceiling fixtures. LEDs are also optimal for situations where office owners and managers want to reduce the light output in their spaces and/or need greater dimming capability.

3. Q: Do LEDs integrate with lighting controls?
A: Modern LEDs are far more effective with modern lighting controls than their predecessors and, in many cases, offer superior performance when compared to competing lighting technologies. LEDs offer nearinstant "on" and "off" capability, respond rapidly to dimming and withstand the strains placed on them by lighting controls much more effectively than older technologies. Occupancy sensors, photosensors, dimmers and timers all integrate easily with LEDs.

4. Q: How do LEDs save an office money?
A: LEDs save offices money in six primary ways:

  1. Better efficiency means lower fixture watts
  2. Lower fixture watts means less energy used resulting in lower utility bills
  3. Longer lifespan and more durable lamps mean lower maintenance costs
  4. Less heat emission from the bulbs leads to lower cooling bills
  5. More comfortable work environment makes for better employee productivity
  6. Federal, state and utility company business lighting rebates, including those from PG&E, reduce the burden of up-front costs

5. Q: What technical specifications should be considered for an LED lighting replacement or retrofit?
A: Before making any decisions on lighting replacement or retrofitting, it is best to consult a qualified lighting contractor. When considering which LED products to install, look at their lumen output, ability to integrate controls, current mounting options in the office, whether fixtures will need to be relocated and how effective new LEDs will be in meeting your quality-of-light needs.

6. Q: Is it necessary to work with a lighting contractor on a lighting replacement or retrofit project?
A: It isn't necessary to work with a lighting contractor, but their experience and knowledge will likely make the process much smoother. An experienced lighting contractor, particularly one who is partnered with PG&E, can help find LED lighting rebates and incentives. An experienced lighting contractor will also have the experience of having performed similar lighting retrofits. He or she will be able to help office owners or managers plan and execute their lighting retrofits, as well as troubleshoot any problems that might arise during the project.

A lighting contractor can best aid office owners and managers who want to install LEDs for more energy efficient lighting. They can also provide specific information on lighting rebates and incentives to help reduce utility costs. Download PG&E's "How to Get the Best Results from a Lighting or HVAC Project" to learn more.

Sources:
  1. California Lighting Technology Center
  2. Pacific Gas and Electric Company


20 sustainability products to help businesses save money. Free download.

Office owners and managers: Learn about the benefits of LED lighting and how you can transform spaces affordably and sustainably.
  • SMB Blog Author
    David J. Alexander
    Senior Product Manager of Customer Energy Solutions for PG&E, plays a large role in the products and solutions that support SMBs. Involved in the company's energy-efficiency programs since 2006, Dave is also an energy solutions manager for the field engineering services team. He's been instrumental in the design and launch of PG&E's initial LED-focused programs and continues to serve as one its leading lighting experts in the field.

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