8 Reasons to Invest in a Lighting Retrofit Upgrade

Gone are the days of high utility bills and frequently required lighting maintenance. As technology has improved and LED lighting has become more affordable, there’s no need to waste time and money on the lighting of the past.

In fact, upgrading your old and inefficient lighting system can yield a number of benefits for your company. From the obvious reduction in energy consumption to rapid ROI and building integration opportunities, the decision is easy.

When it comes time to consider a lighting retrofit for your facility, here are a few of reasons why an energy-efficient lighting upgrade should be a consideration.

1. Maximize Utility Rebates

When it comes to sustainable lighting solutions, there are a number of rebate options available. In many cases, rebates can pay for large portions of the project when they are identified and scoped into the work early on. It’s important to do this research early in the process, because if you wait too long to apply, the rebate may expire or have reached its maximum spend allowance.

Once the rebates have been approved, the payment may be directly paid to the end user or it may be applied to the project costs. This process will vary depending on the specific rebate and the state in which the project is completed in.

Assessing your project will help ensure you are taking advantage of the most aggressive rebates being offered by choosing the correct lighting products for your space.

For example, many utilities offer aggressive rebates for specific product types or with on bill financing (OBF) options.  Accommodating these programs within the lighting proposal often results in significantly faster ROI and potentially high levels of funding for the project from the Utility provider. 

2. Reduce Energy Consumption

One of the top and most common reasons for investing in a lighting retrofit is for the energy consumption benefits. Depending on the application, the reduction in lighting load alone can be up to 50% or more. There is also opportunity for added savings by applying advanced control strategies to reduce consumption an additional 40% or more in most spaces.

With LED lighting, there is the potential to reduce the number of light fixtures required to light a given space, meaning you’ll save by purchasing fewer products. They also generate less heat than traditional lighting solutions and will result in HVAC energy spend savings.

Lastly, upgrading your lighting system allows for energy consumption and light levels to be adjusted throughout the day to save additional funds.

Here’s how having the ability to adjusting lighting can improve cost savings:

  • Adjust the lighting required for off-shift cleaning crews
  • Turn lighting on for security checks during off-hours
  • Only have required lighting on over weekends
  • Easily change lighting for an empty office in the evenings

3. Improve Site Safety

Lighting retrofits can improve site safety by addressing areas of low light that could be potential safety hazards. Working with installers who provide design and photometric analysis will identify areas for improvement such as low-lit parking lots. A retrofit upgrade can improve light levels in these high-hazard areas while still reducing energy consumption. The use of lighting controls can automatically ensure lights are on and at the appropriate levels for the areas they are in.

4. Enhance Aesthetics

The right lighting selection doesn’t only reduce energy and costs, it can also enhance the aesthetics of a building. The proper choice of color temperature can enhance the existing color scheme of a space and highlight prominent building features. Added exterior building lighting designs can add dimension and emphasis to an existing architecture. Depending on the project requirements, lighting aesthetics can be done in white or RGB color schemes.

5. Increase Productivity

LED lighting has been shown to improve employee productivity. This can be done by ensuring that light levels and the color temperatures are adequate and appropriate to the task that is being performed. With a retrofit upgrade, it’s even possible to allow individual light levels and color adjustments to accommodate personal employee preference.

For employees working in an office at a desk, it might mean softening over lit environments to reduce eye strain and fatigue. In the warehouse, it might be adding additional lighting to darker, hard to see areas for additional visibility.

No matter what location a lighting retrofit is designed for, it allows for improvements in employee productivity.

6. Integrate with Building Management Systems

Building management systems can integrate with upgraded lighting systems. Retrofits are often compatible with BACnet and Niagara AX protocol, and many lighting control systems have Tstat capabilities for increased savings where no central BMS is present. Lighting occupancy stats can also be used to achieve HVAC set back optimization.

Lighting data can be incorporated into existing BMS analytics and other data analytic applications. Once implemented, all building controls can be viewed on one central platform to monitor performance and make adjustments.

7. Achieve Rapid ROI

It’s very common to see ROI for LED lighting retrofit projects within three to five years.

With the use of rebates and proper ECM selection, ROI investments can be brought down under two years. In addition, Lighting as a Service (LaaS) offerings and other financial tools allow savings and benefits with no cash out of pocket. Cash flow is usually positive immediately upon project completion.

8. Lower Operations and Maintenance Costs

New, longer life products require less periodic maintenance and extend the time between relamp/retrofit expenses. Longer lifespans and reliability save additional money in difficult to service spaces that require time and equipment to access.

Lighting controls can add to the functional life of products, report, and predict outage moving maintenance activity from reactive to preventive. Advanced lighting controls can track occupancy rate and times to improve savings on cleaning and housekeeping costs.

Lighting the Way to Savings

Lighting retrofits are not only a sustainable solution to push your company into the future, but also provide cost savings opportunities. Whether you’re simply in need of a new lighting system due to outdated and wearing equipment, or looking to take advantage of the number of benefits a retrofit will provide – now’s the time to invest.

This article was originally published in September 27, 2019 and updated for accuracy and relevance.

Wesco’s Lighting Solutions

Not sure where to get started? Partnering with a lighting solutions partner, such as Wesco’s will ensure that you have the proper upgrade for your facility and are reaching optimal savings. The right partner can take the guessing work out of the best upgrade option and rebates available for your project.

Jared Meyer


Greg Hermanowycz
Greg is the Director of Technology and Project Development for Wesco Energy Solutions. He brings 30 years of experience in international and domestic business leadership, sales, operations/post-sales support, architecture/lighting design, and project management. Greg received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the New York Institute of Technology and holds certifications from NCQLP, LEED AP, and is a member of the American Institute of Architects and the IES. He is dedicated to innovative and energy-efficient solutions with a customer focus.