The continual rising cost of energy, existing outdated lighting technology, and inefficient lighting designs have given property owners the opportunity to improve their facilities by retrofitting their existing luminaires with an energy efficient lighting system. A lighting retrofit uses the existing electrical infrastructure to replace, relocate, or convert existing luminaires with the latest generation of cost-effective components.

New lighting technology has emerged within the last 6 years that generates energy savings of 40% to 50% while maintaining existing light levels. These upgraded and field-tested solutions lower energy consumption, generate a healthy financial return on investment, and can improve both the quality and quantity of light in the task area.

As with any other solution, a cost-effective lighting system must be designed and engineered carefully to accommodate the needs of each work space. Simply installing a new lamp into an existing luminaire will not necessarily guarantee substantial energy savings or an improved lighting environment. In any space that uses electric lighting, the lighting designer must evaluate potential solutions for energy consumption, maintenance concerns, delivered light levels, hostile environments, and the overall economic impact of installing and long-term operation of the new system.

In this paper, the author will discuss energy efficient lighting design criteria and how a lighting designer properly engineers a retrofit project to deliver energy savings without sacrificing light levels. The discussion includes a summary of both traditional and emerging technologies, and the long-term impact on energy consumption, maintenance, return on investment, lighting quality, and delivered light levels.

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