How to Figure out the Cost of Lighting for Your Austin, TX Business

Interior LED lighting

Are you looking at your business energy bill thinking there must be a cheaper way? Or, are you planning to retrofit your workspace with LED lighting but have no idea how to estimate it? Switching over to LED in Austin, TX is a step in the right direction to saving money and reducing your carbon footprint.

Calculating the cost of lighting for your business can be tricky. There are many factors that depend on how many bulbs and what types you need. Overall, LED beats out incandescent and fluorescent bulbs.

Let’s look at the total life cycle cost of these three bulb types.

  • Incandescent is often the cheapest to buy but the most expensive to run. 40 wattage, 6 month lifetime, annual ownership cost of $47.
  • Fluorescent bulbs cost a bit more upfront but last longer. 32 wattage, 1.5-year lifetime, annual ownership cost $30.
  • LED now costs the same as fluorescent but has a significantly longer lifespan. 5 wattage, 6-10 year lifetime, annual ownership cost $6.

Knowing the basics of bulb costs and energy efficiency will help you estimate the cost of lighting for your business. But, what are your options for buying and installing new lighting? The three main ways to purchase new lighting are a cash purchase, equipment financing, and LaaS (Lighting as a Service).

Cash Purchase For LED Lighting

Paying outright for LEDs is an option if your business has the ability to pay in full during installation. Many companies choose this to avoid interest and loans. It could be a smart choice, but it also puts a lot of pressure on your cash.

Most businesses in Austin, TX don’t have a lot of money laying around to be spent entirely on lighting. Cash purchase of LED can really be a big burden to companies looking to newly install or retrofit.

Paying cash is a huge investment and may drain your available funds. This could prevent your business from funding projects or initiatives. Because the initial investment is so large, you won’t see energy savings for a few years.

Equipment Financing For LED Retrofitting

Option two allows you to pursue an LED retrofit at a low upfront cost through equipment financing. This is a good option for owners who don’t have large funds available. Cash can then be put back into the business and the retrofit will save on energy costs.

Although this preserves capital in your business, it also adds to your debt. Taking out a loan to pay for equipment means paying off tens of thousands of dollars for years. Another drawback is that you will be spending more on the lease than the cost of the equipment itself. By the end of your lease that equipment could be outdated, and you will be stuck with it.

LED light bulbs

Lighting-as-a-Service (LaaS)

LaaS (Lighting as a Service) is a recent business model that is quickly gaining traction. Essentially how it works is the business owner pays for the lighting and not the fixtures or equipment. This is done through a subscription basis over a multi-year term. No big one-time payment or lease.

If LEDs are the most cost and energy-efficient then why don’t more businesses install them? The initial cost of buying and installing followed by outdated equipment a few years later keeps many companies from making the switch. Paying outright can cost small businesses an average of $20,000, medium businesses $60,000 and larger corporations can pay $500,000 or more!

LaaS looks to offer a better solution. The monthly fee, which is offset by energy savings pays for new lighting. This is much more affordable than a large up-front installation. Companies in Austin, TX can avoid outdated equipment by including upgrades in their contract or replacing old systems at the end of the contract.

At times you’ll run into lighting that needs to be replaced or upgraded. The contract may or may not include this type of maintenance. Your company can choose to take ownership of the system or upgrade the fixtures before beginning a new contract.

Dry, Damp and Wet Rated LED Lighting

When thinking about what kind of lighting you need to install, you need to think about the fixture rating. These ratings tell you which environment the light is made for. If you don’t see this rating on a bulb that means it is a Dry LED. A Dry bulb is not totally enclosed and should not be exposed to water.

Wet-rated bulbs are fully enclosed fixtures that tolerate full exposure to water. You would find them in outside light fixtures and submerged in pools. These types of bulbs have a waterproof seal to keep the water away from the electrical parts of a fixture.

Damp-rated bulbs are in locations that are protected from weather and cannot be fully exposed to water. They can tolerate a fair amount of moisture and humidity. These types of bulbs can be used in bathrooms, kitchens, and greenhouses. You can also use them in outdoor areas that don’t have direct exposure to weather such as eaves of roofs and patio overhangs.

Central Texas is known for its humid and wet summers. Interior lighting in your building may need to be damp-rated to extend the bulb life. Outdoor exposed fixtures will have to have a wet rated to handle the heavy rains and humid climate.

It’s Time to Retrofit LED Light Fixtures

Interior LED lighting retrofit

LED lighting uses up to 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Knowing how much you could save by retrofitting your business, what’s holding you back? Not only do you save money, but you can also lower your carbon footprint.

By looking at your needs and your budget you can find an affordable solution for installing LED lighting. You want the deal that will get you the most energy savings at the lowest cost. LaaS outranks the other options by offering a monthly subscription to lighting services, not a lease to equipment.

Take the guesswork out of lighting your building. You want lights that work, are regularly maintained and save you money on your energy bill. Make your lights work for you, your employees and your customers.

To learn more about the cost of LED lighting and services for businesses click here.

Upgrading your school or office to LED? READ THIS!

Upgrading your school or office to LED? READ THIS! 

When most people think of LED Lighting, they think of longevity. They think of not having to change a light bulb for a very long time. And in fact, if you’ve ever looked at the box of an LED product, very prominently displayed is usually a claim that it will last for 10, 15, or sometimes even 25 years!

However, when you look at the warranty, it’s usually not the same. In fact, it’s quite a bit shorter. So then, why do most LED products boast a long-performance claim with a warranty guarantee of only half that amount? For example, a product may show a LIFESPAN of 50,000 hours, but a warranty of only 3 years. Well, since there are 8,760 hours in a year, this means the warranty expires a little over 26,000 hours into use. That’s nowhere near 50,000 hours.

So, how long do LED products last?

Here is the kicker; the performance claim is generally based on the tiny yellow LED nodes that produce the actual light. Those have been tested over and over to last for several thousand hours. However, the design of the LED product and its’ inner components are very important in reaching those performance claims. An LED product is only as good as the sum of its’ parts!

 For example, LED products do expel a tiny bit of heat, (it is an electric product after all) and electrical components and heat don’t mix. If your LED product wasn’t designed properly to expel heat, or if the driver is too close to the motherboard then the expected lifetime can be significantly decreased. Also, the quality of the driver is equally important. The driver is a component that operates much like a ballast does in traditional lighting technology. It regulates the power going to the lamp or led fixture. Sometimes, those drivers fail.

Today, LED products are designed better than ever so some of the issues mentioned above happen less frequently. But usage and quality of the installer are still big contributors to short term LED product lives.

If you are looking to do a major upgrade to LED in your schools (Austin Texas); here are 3 things to consider:

  1. Ask for a custom product warranty that’s in line with the stated life expectancy. This is achieved by working with your distributor to factor in the expected hourly usage per day, multiplied by the number of days of use each year. If there is a gap between the warranty and the expected usage then ask your provider if the warranty can be extended and exactly what the process is for filing claims.
  1. Ask for an installation and service warranty. Believe it or not, there are some companies that don’t use licensed electricians for installation. Requesting a warranty coverage will ensure that if there is an issue related to the installation, you or your school is covered.
  2. Not to be a downer, but the law of averages implies that the higher the number of fixtures or bulbs being installed, the higher the probability that at least one will fail. Make sure you are working with a company that will take care of everything if a product does go out before expected. This will help reduce the amount of time and headaches involved with tracking down the applicable parties to correct the issue all while the lamp or fixture is out.

If you need help choosing a quality manufacturer or have questions, we can help. Just send a quick note or give us a call at 512-862-7974.