Electricians pitch Energy Retrofits

June 28th, 2010 | Posted in Blog | 21 Comments »

The green construction market is booming and to keep up with the high demand for eco-friendly buildings, certified general electricians are transitioning themselves into energy contractors by participating in and facilitating energy efficient renovations better known as retrofitting. Retrofitting refers to the improving of an existing building with more energy efficient equipment. Forecasts show that over the next three to four years retrofitting will have become a multi-billion dollar industry! In fact, McGraw Hill estimates it will become a $10 to $15 billion dollar market by 2014.

Lighting Energy Use By Building Type

Lighting Energy Use By Building Type (courtesy of EnvironmentalLeader.com)

Although intended for electricians, one of the most popular green retrofits that can be used by any energy contractor, building owner or homeowner looking to adopt sustainable building practices is re-lamping (which hopefully leads to de-lamping). Lighting retrofits present the biggest opportunity for electricians and interested building owners. Lighting accounts for more than 40 percent of the commercial sector’s electricity consumption and 20 percent of all electricity used in the United States (ACEEE). Adequate lighting systems and energy efficient substitutes, such as The Green Savings Company’s T5 Retrofit Kit, can significantly reduce these numbers by replacing antiquated lighting systems.

Getting back to cost efficiency perks and beyond the environmental benefits of eco-energy consumption, motivation is offered to building owners to retrofit their lighting systems. Utility companies and other organizations offer incentives and rebates for retrofitting, while new legislation requires buildings to use energy-efficient lighting. Finally, factor in the 2.2 million buildings that are candidates for lighting-system upgrades, and it is easy to see why green construction and energy efficient equipment is anticipating such vast growth in the market.

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  • Kevin

    Sitka Enterprises has successfully completed many lightign retrofit projects in numerous categories with a unique line of fluorescent retrofit products and LED’s, contact us for assistance with your building needs
    http://www.sitkaenterprises.com

  • Kevin

    Sitka Enterprises has successfully completed many lightign retrofit projects in numerous categories with a unique line of fluorescent retrofit products and LED's, contact us for assistance with your building needs
    http://www.sitkaenterprises.com

  • Robert Nadel

    Sad to say in my experience with the majority of electrical contractors that i have dealt with (the exception being the ones who focus on retrofit projects) have little understanding or desire to shift gears and pursue the Green Market here in NYC. We have one of the largest untapped areas of office buildings that because of how space is leased, the incentive to remove T12s is nil. The cost of electric is built into their lease per sq foot with the owner of the building. The tenant pays a flat fee, no matter what they do. Whence no reason to change out inefficient lighting.

  • Robert Nadel

    Sad to say in my experience with the majority of electrical contractors that i have dealt with (the exception being the ones who focus on retrofit projects) have little understanding or desire to shift gears and pursue the Green Market here in NYC. We have one of the largest untapped areas of office buildings that because of how space is leased, the incentive to remove T12s is nil. The cost of electric is built into their lease per sq foot with the owner of the building. The tenant pays a flat fee, no matter what they do. Whence no reason to change out inefficient lighting.

  • Moe

    The Green Savings Company’s T5 Retrofit Kit is supposed to take the space of a 32W T8 lamp with 2850 lumens and replace it with a T5 lamp which emits 2900 lumens. How do they justify using less lamps, and getting the same amount of light output?? Especially when the efficiency of the kit is so poor??

  • Dan Noiseux

    I’d like to add that as a manufacturer of lighting control solutions, some of the many challenges we are facing:

    - Experienced Electrical contractors are in most cases, not very familiar with all the progress made in the recent years and the simplicity of the new technologies available today. So they tend to overcharge on the installation cost just in case it would be more complicated that originally stated by the vendor and in their favor, I have to admit that some jobs quickly become indeed more complicated if not designed properly. Forget about any type of wireless that is always “plug and play” without any issues ever and forget about running new control wires without running into some hurdles too, especially in retrofit environments.

    - The use of wireless systems is affecting the distribution of the job costs. Electrician used to bill time by the hour and sell wires by the spool find it a lot less attractive. So the specification to request wireless controls need to be set by the person or entity that’s paying the bills. Hopefully the new generation will be promoters and find the right business model to make it more attractive for them too.

    - Engineers and architects are also still not very familiar with control systems other than HVAC which have been around for a while now, so it requires more efforts on their part to specify the right products. Plus there are a lot of un-met promises in the field that make everyone skeptical of new products and new solutions.

    - There are a lot more agents, reps and distributors in the field to sell fixtures than there are that sell controls. Unfortunately, many have some control product lines in the linecards but are not promoting them because they are not familiar enough with the products.

    Last a comment on the BAS (Building Automation System) integration, we believe that this is less and less of an issue since many companies are offering gateways and bridges between different systems but I agree that integration is clearly the right way to go.

    Daniel Noiseux
    VP Business development
    DimOnOff Inc – Distributed Lighting Control and Automation

    • Dan

      Dear Mr. Noiseux; As an Electrical contractor with over 35 years experience as an JW electrician, I’ve recently completed a NECA sponsored class on “Advanced Lighting Controls. My experience with the “New” lighting controls are somewhat limited, but in everything we were exposed to at the class, nothing was something I would classify as “easy or simple”. Most of the lighting control schemes were labor intensive and I would respectfully add that as the one putting his or her company on the line in order to complete a Lighting controls job, the level of pricing whether you deem it high or low should be a luxury reserved for the one taking on the job and associated risk. Those same contols being pricey are something else to take into account before labeling a electrical contractor as submitting too “high” a bid. If any problems happen with a job, my experience is that the contractor “eats” the labor for replacing anything found “bad” and the troubleshooting time to find the problem.

      • Dan Noiseux

        Dan, it is very unfortunate that you got of of that class with such an impression, I am not familiar with what they teach but that’s definitely not a good thing. I understand your point on who takes the risk get the reward but this lead to a vicious circle and contributes perception that adding control is expensive. There is always resistance to change and new stuff but hopefully succesfull installations will contribute to a better knowledge and understanding of all the opportunities.

  • Moe

    The Green Savings Company’s T5 Retrofit Kit is supposed to take the space of a 32W T8 lamp with 2850 lumens and replace it with a T5 lamp which emits 2900 lumens. How do they justify using less lamps, and getting the same amount of light output?? Especially when the efficiency of the kit is so poor??

    • http://www.waitslowdown.com waitslowdown

      Hi Moe, check out this brand new video we just uploaded: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyFaIpviDJs

      Hope that answers your question re: delamping with the T5 Retrofit Kit. Thanks.

  • Dan Noiseux

    I'd like to add that as a manufacturer of lighting control solutions, some of the many challenges we are facing:

    - Experienced Electrical contractors are in most cases, not very familiar with all the progress made in the recent years and the simplicity of the new technologies available today. So they tend to overcharge on the installation cost just in case it would be more complicated that originally stated by the vendor and in their favor, I have to admit that some jobs quickly become indeed more complicated if not designed properly. Forget about any type of wireless that is always “plug and play” without any issues ever and forget about running new control wires without running into some hurdles too, especially in retrofit environments.

    - The use of wireless systems is affecting the distribution of the job costs. Electrician used to bill time by the hour and sell wires by the spool find it a lot less attractive. So the specification to request wireless controls need to be set by the person or entity that's paying the bills. Hopefully the new generation will be promoters and find the right business model to make it more attractive for them too.

    - Engineers and architects are also still not very familiar with control systems other than HVAC which have been around for a while now, so it requires more efforts on their part to specify the right products. Plus there are a lot of un-met promises in the field that make everyone skeptical of new products and new solutions.

    - There are a lot more agents, reps and distributors in the field to sell fixtures than there are that sell controls. Unfortunately, many have some control product lines in the linecards but are not promoting them because they are not familiar enough with the products.

    Last a comment on the BAS (Building Automation System) integration, we believe that this is less and less of an issue since many companies are offering gateways and bridges between different systems but I agree that integration is clearly the right way to go.

    Daniel Noiseux
    VP Business development
    DimOnOff Inc – Distributed Lighting Control and Automation

  • http://twitter.com/GreenSavingsCo The Green Savings Co

    Moe,

    Our UL certified ( http://greensavingsco.com/network/2010/05/the-g… ) retrofit kit's lumen output and efficiency are as follows:

    Lumens(lm): 2444.32
    Efficiency(%): 90.40% No directional
    Lumens(lm)/Power(W): 76.46

    (You can download the full report here: http://greensavingsco.com/media/GSC-Photometric… ).

  • Hertha Crebs

    I have a totally different view, but I respect you for posting this story.

  • Dan

    Dear Mr. Noiseux; As an Electrical contractor with over 35 years experience as an JW electrician, I’ve recently completed a NECA sponsored class on “Advanced Lighting Controls. My experience with the “New” lighting controls are somewhat limited, but in everything we were exposed to at the class, nothing was something I would classify as “easy or simple”. Most of the lighting control schemes were labor intensive and I would respectfully add that as the one putting his or her company on the line in order to complete a Lighting controls job, the level of pricing whether you deem it high or low should be a luxury reserved for the one taking on the job and associated risk. Those same contols being pricey are something else to take into account before labeling a electrical contractor as submitting too “high” a bid. If any problems happen with a job, my experience is that the contractor “eats” the labor for replacing anything found “bad” and the troubleshooting time to find the problem.

    • Dan Noiseux

      Dan, it is very unfortunate that you got of of that class with such an impression, I am not familiar with what they teach but that’s definitely not a good thing. I understand your point on who takes the risk get the reward but this lead to a vicious circle and contributes perception that adding control is expensive. There is always resistance to change and new stuff but hopefully succesfull installations will contribute to a better knowledge and understanding of all the opportunities.

  • Raleigh Photographer

    Great article! You won’t believe how much time it took to find an authoritative source.

  • http://www.uechallenge.org/economics/economics-supply-and-demand-quiz/ Micah Arnholt

    Terrific information, seeking forward to tomorrow’s revise!

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