No matter how you slice it, a retrofit is almost always a serious undertaking. Even for older facilities with aging equipment and infrastructure, the sheer cost associated with such a project in resources, time and money can cause administrators and facility managers to balk at the prospect of a major systems overhaul.
But if it can be demonstrated that retrofitting efforts have had a measurable positive impact on a facility's operations budget, it may be a different story. Retrofitting often provides one of the more cost-effective ways of improving a facility's energy efficiency management, reducing day-to-day costs and staying on top of building maintenance. Fortunately, facility management technology has progressed to a point where FMs now have a variety of tools at their disposal to gather much-needed data from their facility's retrofit.
How retrofits can help
When it comes to energy efficiency management, it's a fairly simple calculus of making sure you aren't using more energy than you need. In terms of maximizing efficiency, Premier Lighting noted that there are two main options - either reduce the amount of time that you use your current lighting system, or cut down on the amount of energy your lights use. In the case of the latter, this typically means a retrofit.
Upgrading to a more modern and efficient system for lighting, heating or other building-wide systems frequently can result in long-term savings in the form of reduced energy costs - up to a point. A report from Parity Projects revealed that the most effective sweet spot for retrofits in terms of maximizing cost savings fell at around a 50- to 60-percent reduction in energy use. Retrofitting lighting or infrastructure past that point, according to the source, could more frequently result in spending more on the upgrades than was saved in energy costs.
Data may be your most important tool
If this sounds like a delicate balance to try and strike, that's because it is. Fortunately, proper use of utility tracking software can help simplify the retrofitting and assessment process significantly. For example, the UtilityTrac tool from FacilityDude can offer FMs data into how much energy they use, both pre- and post-retrofit. This data provides hard evidence into exactly how much more efficient the facility is as a result of the retrofit, as well as allowing FMs to compare utility output against standard benchmarks to get a sense of what the real savings will be as a result.