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  • George Crawford, Green Partners NY

How to jump start your LED retro-fit project

If your building has not already upgraded to LED lighting, this article may be helpful in terms of developing your own plan for a LED retro-fit. While it is a given that LED retro-fits will save money on energy consumption as well as maintenance costs, it is important to understand that the amount of savings can be very significant, even when the retro-fit will include replacing the newer, more energy efficient fluorescent products such as CFLs. It is also important to note that with today’s LED lighting quality, name department stores as well as museums and galleries are now converting to LED. These are users that require a very high quality of lighting, where second best solutions are not an option. So start with the premise that there is a quality LED lighting solution for your project. The purpose of this article is to help you achieve that successful LED lighting solution.

The starting place, as with most projects, is a spread sheet or a model to quantify the economics of your project. For this projection, you will need an accurate measure of your existing lighting configuration, including annual electric consumption, purchase costs for lamp replacement products as well as maintenance costs in connection lamp replacements. This is the “before”, the “benchmark” that you will use to measure the cost effectiveness of any proposed LED retro-fit options developed for your project. For the “after”, you will need to include the specifics relating to each LED product selected – cost, energy consumption, anticipated useful life, warranty information, Energy Star designation – or not, funding availability and anticipated lamp maintenance.

With this “before” and “after” information, you will then be able to compare the amount of energy and annual cost to operate and maintain your existing lighting as compared to the projected costs of operating and maintaining your proposed new LED lighting retro-fit.It should be noted that the preparation of your “spreadsheet” will require knowledge of currently available LED product best suited to replace your existing lighting, the ability to determine the installed cost of the proposed replacement LED product as well as the amount of funding that would be available for your project, including financing options. With regard to funding opportunities, as a general rule, utilities want to encourage and promote energy savings measures. Because all quality LED products use substantially less energy than comparable incandescent or fluorescent lighting products, funding LED retro-fits offers a very cost efficient solution for utility companies to achieve their goal of energy savings. Funding from utility companies is also beneficial to the end user, because they receive the cash payments – “funding” – to offset a significant portion of their investment in their LED retro-fit.For buildings that want to conserve cash, financing a LED retro-fit is a viable option. There are a number of financial institutions, such as Barret Capital or M-Core Credit that specialize in financing energy saving related projects. The debt service for this type of financing is tied to the savings that result from the energy efficiencies achieved from the retro-fit.

Contact Barry Korn ( or Michael Weisberg ( for more information.In terms of developing a retro-fit plan with accurate projections, you should only consider working with a knowledgeable consultant, who will not only be able to source available utility funding for your project, but will also have access to computer software in order to model the “before” and “after” scenarios of your project.

To start your LED Retro-Fit on the right track, you can access additional New York Real Estate Journal articles on LED retro-fits at . Get started with your LED retro-fit with the confidence that you will have a successful project. George Crawford is principal of Green Partners.

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