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Top 8 LED Lighting Retrofit Mistakes

Top 8 LED Lighting Retrofit Mistakes

By Vanessa Peng

An LED lighting retrofit is a big undertaking. It requires knowledge and understanding of products and lighting fixtures, energy usage, incentives from your utility, the best ways for installation and maintenance, and financial considerations. But, it doesn’t have to be if you choose a trusted lighting partner that can help guide you through it all, give you higher quality products, and ease of positive change without you having to stress about the project. 

Here is a list of eight LED lighting retrofit project mistakes to avoid so your lighting project goes smoothly:


Making a decision based on upfront project costs

Benjamin Franklin once said, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” 

If you choose your LED light retrofit partner based on price alone you are bound to run into issues, receive inferior products, and/or end up spending more money with hidden costs. 

Make sure the commercial lighting retrofit company you choose is upfront about costs and chooses and installs products based on your specifications. Many lighting retrofit companies will stick with only one brand of lighting product regardless of your facility, industry, or individual wishes.

If you only compare prices you may not notice one proposal lacks certain services a competitor’s proposal does. If you’re comparing proposals make sure the one that you choose aligns with your goals. 


Waiting too long to begin your lighting retrofit

Delaying to pull the trigger on an LED retrofit project can be a costly mistake. The longer you wait to switch to more efficient LED lighting, the more money you lose each day to high energy costs. The energy savings between LED and fluorescent lights can be dramatic. LED lights can last more than 50,000 hours, and in commercial environments, they’re known to last even longer – more than 100,000 hours. This can net out to a lifespan of 11 years if burned 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Fluorescent lights on the other hand, last for 24,000 – 36,000 hours.

Then there’s the possibility of prices increasing due to world events or other factors, which may mean you end up spending more.


Believing you can’t afford an LED retrofit project

LED costs have gone down considerably as the technology is being adopted by more and more companies. On top of that, the energy savings you will see on your energy bill once the project is completed could lead to a quick ROI, possibly in just a couple of years. 

There is also a relatively new payment option known as Energy as a Service, or EaaS, which works as a subscription model, similar to your trash or cable service. With EaaS you will have positive cash flow from day one and don’t have to worry about upfront costs of any kind.


Receiving inaccurate lighting audit data

I actually look forward to an energy bill every month because who doesn’t like opening it up and seeing that year-over-year usage and you literally see a 50 percent reduction."
Matt Moore Owner
Moore Chrysler-Jeep

A trustworthy lighting assessment consultant should perform a thorough inspection of your property which includes the number of existing fixtures you currently have, the number of hours each fixture is on each day, the type of lighting fixtures you have currently installed, where each fixture is located, the energy consumption of the lighting fixtures, and the square footage of your facility. 

Beware of lighting solutions companies that come into your facility and only look at a few fixtures and promise you a certain amount of savings. There is absolutely no way they can be 100% accurate without meticulously going through your facility counting every lighting fixture. You can expect many change orders from a quick audit like that and you’ll end up spending more than what was initially promised.


Calculating energy savings with an inaccurate electrical rate or wrong operating hours.

A reputable commercial lighting retrofit provider should present a proposal that uses your kWh rate and your run hours to calculate how much money you are spending on electricity now and how much you’ll save through an LED retrofit project. 

An LED retrofit company should ask you to provide copies of 12 months of electricity bills so that an accurate blended kWh rate can be calculated. If a provider comes up with a kWh number without asking for bills, that is an instant red flag. The figures they come up with will be inaccurate and more than likely adjusted so you see higher savings that don’t exist. 


Forgetting to include all stakeholders and frontline workers.

Don’t neglect the people who will be under the new lights day in and day out. They will benefit from increased morale and a brighter, safer workplace, but forgetting to include them in the project process could create animosity. If you include the employees who are on the frontlines, you can be more specific with what your particular needs are at your facility.


Undertaking an LED lighting project on your own instead of partnering with a commercial lighting contractor.

The LED lighting world is complicated – full of misinformation and gimmicky products with empty promises. Working with an LED retrofit company that knows and understands the ins-and-outs of the industry is the best way to go. A trusted provider can help you navigate the tricky process of incentives so you don’t have to and find the best products with the highest quality and savings for your commercial business.

Selecting the correct commercial lighting partner for your LED retrofit project can make a huge difference in your satisfaction as well as company morale and your customer satisfaction rates. Make sure the lighting retrofit company you choose is one you can trust to have the knowledge and care to execute your project to your specifications.


Deciding on the wrong lighting solutions company for your retrofit.

Not all LED retrofit projects are created equal and many lighting solutions companies don’t understand that. It is best for your facility and business if you choose a commercial lighting retrofit partner that cares about your needs and puts them first.



Here at U.S. Energy Recovery, we are committed to the companies we partner with. Our goals are to create a lasting relationship where we increase bottom lines and decrease carbon footprints.

Through a unique process, U.S. Energy Recovery has found a way to provide its customers with a turnkey package that includes energy efficiency utility rebates, products tailored to each customers’ energy needs, and an overhaul of energy systems without a huge expense.

Let us help you with your next LED lighting retrofit.

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