If your building has not already upgraded to LED lighting, this article may be useful in terms of developing your own plan for a LED retro-fit. Local Law 88 and Local Law 134 require that all buildings – 25,000 sf or larger – upgrade to energy efficient LED lighting. While it is still a few years until these lighting upgrades are mandated, these projects pay for themselves so quickly that prudent building owners will want to implement them as soon as possible.

The financial benefit of LED upgrades for Hotels and Assisted Living Facilities are especially compelling, as they are required to upgrade the entire building to LED, which includes both common areas as well as all living areas, including hotel guest rooms. This requirement does not apply to multifamily residential buildings, where the LED upgrade requirement is limited to common areas only – not the residential units. As a result, an LED upgrade project for both hotels and assisted living facilities is significantly larger, but interestingly, has the potential for more significant savings and faster paybacks – usually in the range of 1-2 years compared to 2-3 years for most residential buildings.  This “faster” payback equates to a 50% or better return on investment in a LED upgrade project – far above the range of commonly expected ROIs in stocks, mutual funds or bonds.

Because LED products use significantly less energy than traditional lighting products, the result of any LED retrofit is always a major cost reduction due to the lower levels of electric consumption.  Our recommended strategy is to use the LED savings realized from the lower utility bills as the vehicle to fund your retrofit project.

To better illustrate how the utility bill reduction can “fund” your retrofit, in the chart on the reverse side are some comparisons of electric consumption levels of traditional lighting products as compared to LED products – along with their useful product lives.

This five-year useful life warranty – or greater – is the key ingredient to the funding of your retrofit.  Since the average payback period for the project cost of a LED retrofit ranges from 1 to 3 years, having a five warranty is your assurance that the projected savings will more than cover your project cost – with a couple of years to spare. Another benefit from a LED upgrade is less maintenance. With the longer useful lives of LED products – minimum 5 years – far less building staff time will be required to change lamps that have gone out. This 5-year useful product life is especially important for hotels to virtually eliminate lamp changes in guest rooms during the warranty periods, as well as the replacement for lighting that is difficult to access.

Finally, it is important to note that Hotels and Assisted Living Facilities can qualify for the Con Ed Commercial & Industrial LED lighting rebate program. To qualify, you will need to work with a Con Ed Market Partner, such as Green Partners, that is qualified to access these rebates for LED projects.

To initiate your own LED retrofit project, we recommend starting with a lighting model that will give you an accurate picture of the economics. You need to be able to compare your existing lighting costs – including annual electric consumption, costs for lamp replacement products as well as maintenance time for lamp replacement – to the cost-effectiveness of your proposed LED retrofit plan. In this plan model, you must have specific LED replacement products selected to determine your installed cost, as well as your reduced annual operating expenses including the estimated Con Ed rebate to develop your payback calculations.

As a Con Ed Marketing Partner, Green Partners has the capacity and expertise to facilitate LED lighting project models utilizing Con Ed software for a reliable estimate of your costs. Green Partners also has the capacity to provide a turnkey installation for your retrofit projects, including sourcing product as well as installation.

One final word of practical advice. Make sure that you install a sample of each LED product that you plan to incorporate in your retrofit. These samples should be installed in the same locations where the final installation will take place. Green Partners will provide and install LED samples at no cost for qualifying projects.