Bill ShankBill Shank

One Size Does Not Fit All – Revisited

It’s all Henry Ford’s fault. He told his customers that they could buy their Model T in any color they wanted, as long as it was black. And many companies take the same approach when proposing an LED upgrade. If a parking lot has one, two, three, or four fixtures on a pole now, that’s what they propose. Take one down, put one up. No mess, no fuss, and they can usually present their proposal in the first meeting.

You can see why they do it. By standardizing their solutions, they are able to be much more efficient at selling them. But does this benefit the customer? I submit that it does not, and I’ll prove it.

First of all, without performing a photometric design, no one knows if their proposed solution will meet the standards. This puts the customer at risk for premises liability. For more information on this topic see my previous blog post here:

More to the point, without making an effort to optimize the design, the customer could end up paying more for a poorer result. Let me illustrate this with a study we did for one of our customers.

This property currently has two area fixtures on every pole in the parking lot. In one case we optimized the design to use the fewest number of fixtures that would yield a minimum of 0.5 foot candles (fc) throughout the parking lot. In the other case we replaced every fixture one-for-one, using the same fixtures that have been used by a competitor at a similar site. The results are summarized in the table below.

1 for 1 Optimized Difference
Minimum fc ? 0.5 ?
Average fc ? 3.88 ?
Annual Energy Savings  $    5,279.00  $    6,504.00  $      1,225.00
Investment  $  24,949.27  $  11,990.00  $ (12,959.27)
Payback (years) 4.7 1.8 -2.9
ROI 21.2% 54.2% 33.0%
Net Present Value  $  11,390.00  $  32,782.00  $   21,392.00

We confirmed that the competitor who replaced fixtures on a one-for-one basis did not develop or supply a photometric design, so no one has any idea if the lighting on the property meets the 0.5 minimum foot candle specification. The optimized design does meet the specification, and provides an average of almost 3.9 fc.

Now let’s consider the difference in up-front investment. In this study the investment for the optimized design is 52% less than the 1 for 1 design. This yields a dramatically shorter payback and a higher net present value.

In short, the optimized design delivers proven light levels for less that half the investment. Why doesn’t everyone propose optimized designs? Because they take time, and expertise, and a willingness to put the customer’s interest first.

To find out more about LED upgrades and what makes Lighting Technologies better than other lighting contractors, click here.

Ask how Lighting Technologies can help you get the best light for the lowest investment on your LED upgrade project. Call us at (678) 945-0467 or send us an online request and a sales rep will get back to you within one business day.

“Save your energy. We’ll take care of it!”