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How to Conduct a Lighting Audit

How to Conduct a Lighting Audit

By Vanessa Peng

If you’ve decided it’s time for a lighting upgrade at your facility – congratulations! Whether you’ve made the decision to save money, cut energy usage, improve the look of your building, increase productivity and safety, become more energy-efficient, meet corporate sustainability goals, or for a multitude of reasons…your facility is sure to benefit from a lighting overhaul.

Once you know you need a lighting upgrade you’ll realize just how many lighting fixtures you have in your facility. Even small businesses have lots of lamps and fixtures when you consider closets, hallways, and most rooms having more than one light source. The number of lighting fixtures in your entire building is one component to the most important and first step to a LED lighting overhaul – a lighting audit.

What is a lighting audit?

A lighting audit is the process of creating an in-depth analysis of your existing lighting system,  drawing up a floor plan for what your current lighting situation is, what your plans are for an improved and new lighting floor plan, and how you will accomplish your lighting goals.

It sounds like a daunting task and it very well could be, especially if you have a large facility. A lighting audit requires knowledge of lighting fixtures and how they will impact different environments within your building. While it can be an exhaustive undertaking, that shouldn’t stop you from getting the lighting you need.

We will share with you the steps to conduct your own lighting audit or you may want to consider hiring a commercial lighting retrofit company. A lighting retrofit contractor can take care of the lighting audit for you and will have the experience to help you choose the best lighting solutions for your facility.

What are the benefits of a lighting audit?

Without a lighting audit, you won’t be able to overhaul your current outdated, inefficient lighting system. An audit ensures every fixture is accounted for and changed if it needs to be. If you skip the audit you will likely have lighting levels that don’t meet your needs and possibly even increase your energy bill instead of seeing cost savings. Conducting a lighting audit also helps you justify an investment in upgrading your existing lighting system.

How do you conduct a self lighting audit?

If you choose to do the lighting audit yourself, no worries – we can help guide you. Here are some steps to make sure you don’t waste your time and have a successful audit!

1. Decide on your goals.

What is the reason why you want to undergo a lighting retrofit? As mentioned earlier, there are so many reasons why businesses need lighting overhauls; you could have dozens of goals with a new lighting system. List your objectives by priority so you can make sure you accomplish what you need in the upgrade or be able to tell a lighting retrofit partner what your plans are.

Here are some goals to consider as you compile your list:

2. Gather essential materials.

Before you jump into counting lamps and fixtures, you need to have the appropriate tools in order to do it right. These are the items you will need in your lighting audit toolkit:

  • Light Meter
  • Audit form with pencil
  • Digital laser
  • Tape measure
  • Camera

A light meter will measure your current light levels and will display readings in foot-candles. Foot-candles read the light intensity of an area. As lighting retrofit professionals, we use light meters to measure the amount of foot-candles at numerous points in your spaces to determine any specific dark spots and develop an average foot-candle value for each space.

You will need to know this information if you plan to brighten areas in your facility or determine if you are following suggested lighting level guidelines from lighting and safety organizations.

An audit form is extremely important. It is where you will record all your findings, line by line. It is best to use a spreadsheet. Feel free to use your favorite digital spreadsheet, be it Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.

You will jot down pertinent information about your existing lighting system, including the number of fixtures, the type of fixtures, number of lamps per fixture, the number of lamps per ballast, wattage numbers for fixtures, the condition of the fixtures, the ceiling types of different rooms, current light levels, and any other information particular to your lighting retrofit.

A digital laser and tape measure will help you find the exact dimensions of a room. You’ll also need these tools to see how far off the ground your lights are. If you have blueprints you can use them along with the laser and tape measure.

With a camera you can capture before and after images, but more importantly know exactly what types of fixtures you have and the lighting and color levels of your current lighting situation. A cell phone camera should suffice, just make sure your pictures are clear, not blurry.

3. Figure out key numbers.

Now you need to figure out your run hours. Are the lights left on all day? Are they kept on during the weekends? What are your hours of operation? How many shifts does your facility have?

You’ll want to look at your energy bills to note your peak hours and the differences between the summer and winter. We usually request 12 months of energy bills from our clients to ensure we calculate accurate kilowatt hours (kWh) since time-of-use-rates can differ quite a bit depending on the season and the facility’s location in relation to weather patterns.

5. Ready, set, go! Start your lighting audit!

You’re now armed with the steps and the know-how to conduct your very own lighting audit. You are now on your way to a cheaper to run facility that is brighter, safer, and more productive!

If you’ve decided you would rather let a commercial lighting retrofit contractor take the tedious task of the lighting audit off your hands, we’re here to guide you.

We will help you select the right lighting solutions that align with your goals and count all those fixtures for you! On top of that, we have a team of incentives specialists that can help you save even more through rebates from your local utility provider.

Let our experience make the process easy for you. Many of our clients say they are surprised to find how much money we can save them without having to do any of the heavy lifting. Call us (800) 834-8737 or check us out online: usenergyrecovery.com.

Let the professionals handle your next lighting project