Lighting Renovations – Commercial Spaces

a guest post by Lisa J. Reed, Lighting Designer

Lighting Renovations Commercial Spaces

Does your commercial space need an update? How old is the existing lighting? Sometimes, just a lighting upgrade can make an old space seem brand new.

In our last post we discussed five key places to look for lighting renovation opportunities. Now let’s talk about specific opportunities that can be found in commercial spaces.

  1. Inside
    Upgrading the interior lighting in a commercial space can reduce electricity and maintenance costs, but it can also increase employee morale and productivity. Let’s face it. Bad light drains the life out of us, and good light makes people feel better. Look for old lamps and fixtures in offices, conference rooms, common spaces, restrooms, hallways, and stairwells. How long has it been since the last upgrade?
  2. Outside
    Does the building have a parking garage? Parking lot lighting? How about landscape lighting or any other building-mounted outdoor lighting fixtures? With commercial buildings, it is easy to focus on interiors, but outdoor lighting offers a great opportunity for energy savings with LED replacements. This is a good time to check any safety or security concerns, too. Provide even, white light and minimize glare for best results. Watch for dark corners, niches, or gaps behind large plants that could benefit from some well-positioned lights.
  3. Lamps
    Inside: If the indoor fluorescent fixtures use T12 lamps, the energy savings from a lighting renovation will quickly and easily provide a good return on investment. If T8 fluorescent lamps are being used, an LED fixture upgrade is an option to consider. Look at recessed can lights and track lighting, too. If incandescent lamps are used in any of these, replace them with either a new integrated LED fixture or an appropriate LED replacement lamp.

    Beware of using the wrong replacement product for your application. Understand the difference between a directional or non-directional source. Get the right color temperature and CRI. Confirm lamp compatibility with lighting control systems. If you are unsure, ask a lighting professional!

    Outside: Check the lamps in the outdoor fixtures, too. HID and incandescent lamps can be replaced with LED fixtures or replacement lamps in an outdoor lighting renovation.
  4. Fixtures
    In a commercial space, watch for fluorescent parabolic troffers. These old silver cubes direct all of the light downward, leaving the walls dark and spaces dreary. Replace parabolics with volumetric fixtures to improve the brightness perception in the space while keeping the footcandle level on the task where it needs to be. Consider indirect lighting where ceiling space allows. People prefer indirect lighting over parabolic lighting in the workplace, and productivity increases under indirect.
  5. Controls
    Occupancy sensors are a no-brainer. You should automatically install them in places like rest rooms, stairwells, and private offices. Occupancy/vacancy sensors plus daylight harvesting and dimming can be used in conference rooms and open office spaces. Remember to control outdoor lighting too. At a minimum, use timers. But with LED outdoor fixtures, parking garages and parking lots can benefit from dimming and occupancy sensors, too.

Commercial buildings represent about 83 billion square feet of floor space in the US. Lighting consumes 20% of the energy used in these spaces. Lighting renovation opportunities in commercial spaces abound – don’t wait. Get smart and start improving!

Lisa J Reed photo - Lighting Blog

Lisa J. Reed has been attracted to lighting (like a moth to a flame) for 20+ years. She is the Founding Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC in St. Louis, where she designs, teaches, and writes about architectural lighting.


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