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August 19, 2021

Top 6 Considerations to Account for with Commercial Lighting Contracts

Image of a person signing a contract on Bay Lighting's Maryland commercial lighting website

When considering your options for a commercial lighting installation project, it is important to make sure you will be getting the best return for your investment. Commercial lighting is a critical part of offering an inviting, productive, safe atmosphere for customers, employees, tenants, and other guests. Accordingly, it is important to communicate your goals and expectations to the supplier you are considering before signing a contract. Oftentimes, some major factors are overlooked that could otherwise guarantee a quality lighting installation project. Consider the following when reviewing and comparing contracts for your commercial LED upgrade, enhancement, or retrofit project.

1. Proper Illumination

Most commercial lighting installation projects are completed with the goal of improving the general safety and atmosphere of the property. Adequate light levels are essential for all commercial spaces, both interior and exterior. A variety of different fixtures and lamps are needed to create balanced, proper lighting over a range of areas throughout a property. Optimal lighting output is therefore absolutely critical to the success of a lighting project. If a space isn’t properly illuminated after investing in a lighting upgrade, it will be noticed. Your lighting supplier should prioritize efficient lumen output according to factors such as access to natural light, ceiling heights, and more. Something as simple as a room full of computer monitors will impact that choice in light output by your specialist. Investing in a lighting installation project should mean getting your money’s worth and creating safe environments for your customers, tenants, and/or employees. If energy savings are a main concern, make sure your lighting supplier knows this, but energy savings shouldn’t compromise quality lighting. A lighting specialist can specify products, such as LED light fixtures, that will produce correct illumination while maximizing energy efficiency.

2. Energy Efficiency and Savings

As mentioned, energy efficiency can be an important part of procuring a new lighting project. Once you’ve worked with your specialist to determine the correct lamp specifications, it’s time to select the best product and corresponding wattage. It’s important not to fall into the trap of purchasing old technology because it’s less expensive because you may be leaving energy savings on the table. Buying new, more efficient fixtures may save more and be better in the long run than purchasing year-old technology for less money.

3. Long-term Maintenance

Some fixtures can be difficult to access and therefore require a lot of time and expense to change frequently, i.e., parking garage lights located high off the ground. This is big part of maintenance savings from long-lasting LED but just because LED products are long-lasting and increase maintenance intervals, it doesn’t mean they are maintenance free. With LED long-term maintenance can often be overlooked. For a commercial office building with long burn hours, 50,000 hours can creep up quickly. It is the most cost-effective choice to invest in quality lighting products that will last as long as possible and do not require a lot of maintenance; however, if something does fail you will want to be able to fix the problem swiftly. As an example, if you’ve purchased a less reputable manufacturer’s product and an LED board needs to be replaced you run the risk of not finding a replacement board that matches or even worse, the company may have gone out of business leaving you without the opportunity to purchase a matching fixture. Quality products are also typically capable of expanding with technology and less risky from a safety stand point. Avoid dead ends and preserve your investment by going with a well-known reputable manufacturer which will allow you to maintain your fixture and replace boards, drivers, and other parts. You can ask your lighting distributor about the companies they work with and/or do some of your own research.

4. Inclusive of Clean-up

Before planning your commercial lighting installation project, find out whether the contractor provides any recycling or trash removal services. Many lighting products must be disposed of properly to avoid potential fines and environmental contamination. CFLs, fluorescent, and mercury-containing light bulbs must always be disposed of properly and are managed under both federal and state regulations. They are dangerous when damaged or broken and can contain elements that are toxic to humans and the environment. LED bulbs do not contain mercury or other toxic substances, but some contain nickel, copper, lead, and other recyclables that can contribute to global responsibility. The metal housing of many fixtures can also be recycled. Lighting fixture installation trash can pile up quickly. Most commercial property owners do not have the extra time and specific knowledge to properly handle and discard large quantities of fixture recycling. If it is not included in the proposal offered to you by the lighting technician you are considering, ask them how they manage lamp and fixture disposal. This is important for all buildings and especially important with LEED certified green buildings and sustainability. There are many contractors and commercial lighting suppliers and installers that do offer comprehensive recycling and waste disposal services.

5. Understanding Rebates

There are lots of rebates available that can help commercial property owners save a significant amount of money over time. However, the process of procuring and managing those rebates can be a bit time-consuming and perhaps confusing for busy business owners. Ask your lighting installer about rebates, if they are offered by the utility company in your area, and whether they handle the process of finding and obtaining them for you. Not all lighting suppliers are authorized to sell lamps and fixtures at the rebate price, and not all suppliers handle this service in the same manner. It’s important to understand and apply rebates properly – both instant and prescriptive. By thinking outside the box, your specialist could secure you even bigger savings and who wouldn’t love that?

6. Warranty Administration

Fixtures and lamps can come with various warranties, depending on lifetime hours or installation. It’s important to read a manufacturer’s warranty which is often included on the specification sheet. Even more important can be the process of managing the replacement of the warrantied item. It’s important to ask if your lighting distributor will facilitate getting the new product should something go wrong or will you be left to figure it out on your own. Lighting distributors have relationships with the manufacturers they represent and ensuring your lighting distributor will handle any warranty claims will save you time and frustration of trying to do it yourself. For sizeable jobs, a quality lighting professional may also leave a few extra products to cover any issues that might arise right away.

Contact Us

If you are interested in partnering with a lighting supplier in Maryland, Washington, D.C., or Virginia, contact Bay Lighting. We provide quality commercial lighting services throughout the area and offer specification services to fit into any budget. Give us a call at 301-858-9494 to get started today.

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