Lighting is one of the most important aspects of facility management to have a handle on. More than almost any other system or element of a building, your facility's lighting solution affects almost every part of your operations.
Of course, lighting fixtures are also a key part of a facility's overall energy efficiency strategy. In a period when going green is increasingly becoming the order of the day, understanding the impact lighting has on your power usage and keeping abreast of the newest federal guidelines are crucial.
More often than not, when people consider their facility's lighting, it's mainly from a perspective of how they can cut down on usage and reduce costs. After all, as FacilitiesNet reported, lighting often accounts for over 33 percent of a building's overall energy costs, so cutting down on that wherever and whenever possible is a huge part of managing operations budgets.
However, managing lighting spending is more than a process of just quantitatively cutting down on usage. As the source was keen to point out, not all forms of illumination are created equal, and the quality of your facility's lighting can be just as important as how much energy it uses. This requires a thorough knowledge of how each part of your facility is used, and what impact any changes to illumination would have on its operation.
"If the perception of the environment adversely affects productivity, any money spent on a lighting upgrade was wasted," Stefan Graf, lighting design firm IlluminArt principal told the source.
Every facility has its own unique lighting situation, and thus every building will also need to devise its own upgrade or building maintenance plan that best fits its needs. One of the more common solutions undertaken is a lighting retrofit. In this process, existing lights are replaced with newer, more energy-efficient options. This is desirable because of its comparatively low cost, but FMs must still be careful to take LEED certifications into account.
According to GreenBiz, simply upgrading the lights themselves often isn't enough. Lighting control can be just as important, as it can provide a more comprehensive and centralized solution to controlling energy usage.
While reducing emissions and controlling energy costs is by far the most important goal among facility managers, Today's Facility Manager reported that reducing maintenance is also a key method of cutting back on lighting-related spending. The source noted that more than 70 percent of FMs surveyed indicated that as a "very important" objective. Thus, retrofitting with newer, LEED-certified lighting solutions can potentially incur savings across multiple fronts. Not only are they more energy efficient, but newer lighting solutions such as LED bulbs require far less maintenance, as they last much longer and need to be replaced less frequently than more conventional counterparts.