Three Reasons Lighting is An Investment

Post by on September 29, 2015 in Lighting Tips

Create something stunning.

Create something stunning.

Every project has a budget. Whether it’s a company’s new office or the latest restaurant to open on the lower east side. Budgets are real things and we all have to respect them as part of the design/build industry. Of course we think of lighting a little bit differently at SDA. We see lighting as an investment in a space, beyond an enhancement, light is at the center of how we experience spaces. Here are three reasons to look at lighting as an investment.

Great Light Is a Profit Center

Lighting can enhance branding and make a space memorable.

Lighting can enhance branding and make a space memorable.

Whether you’re building a retail space or an office, great lighting is one of the key tools in your arsenal to increasing the profit of your space. In retail, lighting design is a key way to make your product “pop” and to drive foot traffic to the key sales areas. Generic lighting tells your customers that nothing is special. Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that great lighting on products can be the difference between “OK” performance and incredible profit.

You might be thinking, “Sure, that makes sense for retail, but how can lighting in my office increase profit?” Well, there is an increasing body of research evidence that high quality lighting improves focus, attention and productivity. That happens by reducing unwanted glare, controlling sunlight infiltration to the space and providing flicker free illumination. Specifying high-quality lighting ensures the most productive office possible. Leading companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other are falling over each other to create spaces that their workers want to come to everyday. Follow that trend.

Controls Reduce Cost, and Create Environments

When engaging in a renovation or new build it’s easy to overlook lighting controls. The bottom line is whether you’re looking to save energy or to create atmosphere lighting controls are the only way to consistently wring optimal performance out of your lighting system. Here in NYC virtually any commercial renovation for which you will file drawings will require that you install an energy code compliant lighting control system. However even without the law requiring such an installation, lighting controls are low hanging fruit to reduce operational overhead. Simple occupancy sensors save a minimum of 20% in lighting energy in most commercial spaces. Tie in scheduling, task tuning and daylight harvesting and you can reduce electrical use due to lighting anywhere from 35-50% depending on the space and applications. In an area like NYC where electricity is so expensive that represents a massive savings to your business.

These savings are based on $.10 per kWh. In NYC it's $.20 per kWh!

These savings are based on $.10 per kWh. In NYC it’s $.20 per kWh!

But it’s about more than saving money. What if you’re running a restaurant? I’m willing to be that the ambience you want during the lunch rush is a bit different than the one you want during dinner service. Lighting controls that tie into music, shades and audio visual equipment can instantly change a space and create the mood you want for your restaurant, bar, or hotel lobby.

Warm White Linear lighting at DB Bistro by ECOSENSE made the wall color glow even warmer in this application.

Warm White Linear lighting at DB Bistro by ECOSENSE made the wall color glow even warmer in this application.

Good Equipment Matters

When you’re working on a space there is often a temptation (especially as the bills start getting higher) to reduce the quality of the lighting fixtures. As time and money run shorter so do people’s patience and all of the sudden substitutions are starting to happen. While it’s tempting to say a fixture is “good enough.” In our experience “good enough” usually isn’t. If you asked for your office to have dimmable 2×2 LED troffers and you’re substituting them with low-cost fluorescent odds are they won’t be dimmable. There goes the task tuning and comfortable daylight harvesting you were planning. If you have specified 2” aperture LED downlights for your booth-style seating at the restaurant and instead you swap to MR16 halogen downlights, then be prepared to install new bulbs every six months. Trust your lighting designer, architect or interior designer to make these calls for you and trust them through to the end. Remember your space is a long term investment and you want it to look amazing on day 500 not just day 1.

Remember LED has changed everything. We’re looking at lighting systems that not only can be in place for 15 years, but could very well not need any maintenance for that period of time, depending on daily use. If you’re going to create a space like that isn’t it worth investing in something great?

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