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  • Shine Lighting Professionals
    November 1, 2018

    With all the new technology available on the market, it can be an overwhelming task for many people to choose what lighting to buy. Nowadays, shoppers can choose between a variety of options, including fluorescent, incandescent, and LED lights. Though decisions can be tougher, the plethora of options gives the consumer more power to determine what will work best for them.

    One thing you may have noticed is that LEDs have recently become much more popular. There’s a very good reason for this, and if you’re wondering why that is, we insist that you read on.

    If all the options just make you more confused, you can rest assured that we are here to help. Our team of lighting experts at Shine Retrofits spend a good chunk of their time comparing and contrasting the various types of lighting technology available on today’s market, and as a result have a keen sense of the pros and cons of each option.

    By taking an analytical approach to shopping for lighting and utilizing a bit of simple math to make calculations, you can make your lighting purchase a much simpler process. For a quick look at how to make smarter lighting choices, you can glance at the Shine Retrofits Guide to Energy Efficiency.

    With all that in mind, we’ve taken even more trouble off your hands and done a lot of the dirty work when it comes to comparing lighting technology. Over the course of this article we’ll compare two different types of lighting available today.

    To get started, we’ll go over a little bit of basic information about each kind of technology:

    Incandescent Lighting

    Incandescent lighting technology has been around for quite a while. In fact, it’s one of the oldest types of bulbs, tracing its origin back to the very beginning of electricity. By the late 1800s it had become the standard for commercial bulbs, and is still being used today.

    Essentially, an incandescent bulb consists of a wire filament that is heated to such a high temperature that it glows with visible light, or incandescence. Surrounding the filament is a bulb made of glass or fused quartz which protects the filament from oxidation with inert gas or a vacuum. These types of bulbs were the standard for lighting technology for many years, even though they aren’t extremely efficient and convert only 5 percent of used energy into visible light. The rest of the energy is lost as heat due to the nature of the technology.

    LED Lighting

    LED, or light emitting diode, technology, is a bit newer than incandescent bulbs. It traces its roots way back to 1907, though, when its light source, electroluminescence, was discovered. Though in the next few decades the first LED light would be created, it wouldn’t be until the 1960s that LED bulbs would become widely available to consumers.

    Over the last fifty years, scientists have made continual breakthroughs in LED technology, giving us the marvel that is the modern LED bulb currently available to us. These lights boast low energy usage and long life that haven’t been seen on the commercial lighting market before, due to a more efficient way of turning electricity into visible light.

    Comparing the Cost

    When you go into any buying situation, your first concern is probably going to be the initial cost. And when it comes to comparing various lighting options, there can be quite the spectrum of prices to sort through. That’s very true for comparing incandescent and LED lights, which have very different price points.

    Take your standard incandescent bulb, for example. In a study by The Simple Dollar, they found the typical incandescent to be priced at about $1. An LED bulb, on the other hand, could be as much as $8 to buy, which is a significant difference. If you’re buying a bunch of bulbs for your commercial space, you might be tempted to just go with incandescent and be done with it. After all, you could buy 8 incandescent bulbs for the price of a single LED.

    There are other factors to consider, though, which will have a big impact on your decision. Read on to find out why you can’t stop at the initial cost of a light.

    Energy Usage

    Although upfront cost is important, it’s only one part of making your lighting decision. An arguably even bigger factor is energy usage. Since this product will cost you money over its lifetime in order for you to use it, it’s highly valuable to know what the operational cost of each bulb will be for your space.

    In that same Simple Dollar study, the incandescent and LED bulbs were put to the test over a length of time. Over 25,000 hours at $0.12 per kWh, the price of the electricity they used were compared side by side. The incandescent bulb, though it cost $1 to buy, would use $180 worth of electricity in that frame of time. The LED bulb, in comparison, would use only $20 during that same exact timespan. Suddenly the LED bulb is seeming like a much better buy.

    Bulb Life

    Another big factor that should play a part in your purchasing decision is the life of the bulb. Generally, you can depend on incandescents not lasting very long, which explains their cheap upfront cost a little bit more. LEDs, on the other hand, have some of the longest lifespans in the industry.

    When you run the numbers on the difference between incandescent and LED bulb lives, you find a huge gap. In that Simple Dollar study, the $1 incandescent bulb had a life of about 1,200 hours, while the $8 LED lasted about 25,000 hours. That means that for every 1 LED bulb, you’ll need the equivalent of 21 incandescent bulbs to operate over the same lifetime. Without even factoring energy usage into the equation, LEDs are easier on your wallet, and when you consider that some LED bulbs last even longer, from 50,000 to 100,000 hours, you might not ever have to replace them!

    Initial Cost versus Real Cost

    So why is there such a big difference between incandescent and LED bulbs when you make some simple calculations? That’s because we’ve figured out the real cost instead of just the initial cost, which is important to consider when making a lighting purchase.

    Although incandescent lights may appear to be cheaper upfront, you’ll end up paying more for them in the long run. If you’re curious about why this is, we can tell you that the difference between the two mainly comes from the higher wattage and more inefficient technology of incandescent lighting.

    For example, the incandescent bulb that The Simple Dollar tested was 60 watts compared to a 10 watt LED. When you run the numbers for energy usage, a higher wattage bulb will always cost you more. Buying a bulb with the least wattage for the amount of lumens, or brightness, that you need, is a great way to save money.

    If you want to do the math for any of the current lights in your home, or even for products you’re looking at purchasing, you can refer to our Guide to Energy Efficiency, where we provide a step-by-step process to help you save money on your energy bill. That way you’ll know how much a product will cost you and work that into your lighting budget.

    Quality Lighting Products

    Whatever you decide, Shine Retrofits is here to help you. We have an extensive list of retrofit kits, LED bulbs, and LED light fixtures available for you to purchase, as well as many other lighting options to explore on our website. If you have any questions about our catalog or about which product is right for you, our team of lighting experts are standing by to help you. Call 1-800-983-1315 anytime Monday through Friday, from 6am to 6pm Mountain Standard Time, for help with your purchase. We can’t wait to hear from you!

  • Shine Lighting Professionals
    October 15, 2018

    Shine Retrofits: The Real Cost of Postponing Your Retrofitting PlansHave you been considering a retrofit for your office, warehouse, or other commercial space for quite a while? We know that there are a lot of factors that go into making such an important decision, such as upfront cost and the time spent researching and ordering materials you’ll need to complete the project. These details, as well as the confusion that might come into play when figuring out your retrofit plan, can often delay a project indefinitely, especially when you already have your plate full of work projects and other responsibilities.

    Though we understand how these concerns and problems can lead to a delay in your retrofit project, we also want to stress how important it is do a retrofit sooner rather than later. You may think that a project like this can wait, but by doing so you’re cheating yourself out of saving money. The benefits of retrofitting your existing fixtures with LED technology only compound over time, which means that the sooner you change over your lights, the sooner you’ll experience savings on your energy bill.

    To understand why you should make an LED retrofit one of your top priorities, you have to understand the real cost of your lighting system versus the upfront cost. That way, next time you’re looking at lighting options online, you aren’t tempted by the seemingly cheaper options in front of you and end up losing a lot of money in the process.

    The Upfront Cost of a Retrofit Project

    When it comes to lighting and the products you see available in today’s market, there’s no doubt that LED is the most expensive option when making an initial purchase. LED bulbs can often cost as much as 8 times that of a similar incandescent bulb, which are generally cheaper to produce than their LED counterparts. Though this may seem like a good deal when you’re at the store or online scouring through product lists of bulbs and lighting fixtures, in the long run it’s actually a bad bet.

    Next time you’re at the store take a look at the watts of an incandescent bulb compared to that of an LED. You’ll find that incandescent bulbs often use 5 to 6 times the watts as compared to LED. What that means for you is that incandescent bulbs use a lot more energy. By the time you compound that with the fact that LEDs are much more efficient in their energy usage, it’s pretty obvious that incandescent bulbs aren’t worth investing your money in, even if they look like they’re cheaper up front.

    The Real Cost of Lighting Technology

    When you dig deeper on lighting cost, what you discover upon buying a cheaper bulb is that you’re paying for it in the long run. That’s why we want to talk into doing your LED lighting fixture retrofit as soon as possible, because we know you’ll regret not doing it sooner. Every day you use energy-wasting technology is another day you could be saving that money by making the switch to LED. The upfront cost of investing in LED technology is quickly eclipsed by the massive energy savings you’ll experience by lighting your spaces with LED lights.

    If you still feel a little hesitant about making the switch to LED lighting, it can be helpful to crunch the numbers and see just how your lighting costs will play out in the long run. That way you’ll know that you’re not just following a new lighting trend or trusting a vague gut feeling. Seeing how the savings of an LED retrofit play out alone should be enough to convince you.

    Running the Numbers on an LED Retrofit

    Let’s draw out a quick example for you by comparing a few different lighting technologies. There are quite a few different ones available, which can be quite confusing when thinking about upgrading.

    The Simple Dollar recently compared three different lighting technologies in order to find out the real cost of using various types of lighting for your spaces. The technologies they compared were incandescent, CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights), and LED. At the top of the diagram, they listed the approximate cost per bulb for each light. Incandescent bulbs were very cheap, about $1 per bulb, while LEDs were up to eight times more expensive at $8 or less for a bulb. CFLs were almost as cheap as incandescent at $2 a bulb.

    Then they listed the watts used and average lifespan for each bulb. The incandescent used a whopping 60 watts while the CFL came in at 14 watts and the LED at 10 watts. But even more disparate was the average lifespan, with incandescent lasting 1,200 hours compared to 25,000 hours for the LED bulb. That means for 25,000 hours of use, you’d need 21 incandescent bulbs for the same amount of time that you’d need a single LED one. Suddenly the cheaper bulb doesn’t seem as good of a deal when you consider the fact that you’ll be spending $21 over the same time you’d spend $8 for LED.

    The comparison gets even more interesting when you compute the cost of operating the bulb. Over those 25,000 hours of use, the incandescent bulb will use $180 dollars of electricity at $0.12 per kWh. Over the same time and at the same cost per kWh, the CFL will cost $42 and the LED will cost $30. When you add the operational cost to the purchasing cost over the 25,000 hour time period, the results are staggering. Using a traditional incandescent bulb will cost you around $201 compared to $48 for a CFL and $38 for an LED. That means the real cost of buying the cheaper bulb is actually much, much higher, and will cost you a lot of money in the end.

    Plus, this example only takes into account the savings you’ll experience with one bulb over a certain period of time. When you factor in equipping your whole business or commercial space with LEDs instead of traditional incandescent lights, the amount of money you can save is absolutely staggering. Also, the more time you use LEDs instead of less efficient lighting, you’ll save increasingly more money over time.

    Helping You With Your LED Retrofit

    Along with the energy savings you’ll experience by switching to LED, there are benefits like increased lighting quality and cutting down on maintenance costs in your business. We wouldn’t be espousing how great LED lights are if we weren’t true believers. We’re here to help you save money and buy quality lighting, and LEDs really do give you the best of both worlds.

    The good news is that you now have the knowledge and motivation to get your LED retrofit finished as soon as possible, and Shine Retrofits is here to help you. We have an extensive list of retrofit kits, LED bulbs, and LED light fixtures available for you to purchase. If you have any questions about our catalog or about which lighting product is right for you, our team of lighting experts are standing by to help you. Cal 1-800-983-1315 anytime Monday through Friday, from 6am to 6pm Mountain Standard Time, for help getting started with your LED retrofit today. We can’t wait to hear from you!

  • Shine Lighting Professionals
    September 26, 2018

    Shine Retrofits: Motion Sensors or Timers?

    We all know LED (light emitting diode) technology is currently changing the lighting industry. It’s helped companies and individuals save considerable amounts of money on their energy bill. USA TODAY recently listed calculations that, over a 10-year period, a single LED bulb costs $17.25 to operate compared to an incandescent bulb which costs $78.80 over the same period. But when it comes to making your home or commercial space even more efficient, you don’t have to stop there. Pairing LED lights with other technologies can multiply the energy-saving benefits of your lighting system, allowing you to cut costs more than ever before.

    Motion sensor and timer technology have both been around for years. Since their inception, they’ve been used in many different applications for businesses, college campuses, and industrial complexes, helping these organizations and companies save money on lights that would usually be left on. Here we’ll go over the pros and cons of using these two different technologies in combination with your LED lights, helping you make a more informed decision about how to light your space.

    Motion Sensors

    A lighting system that uses motion sensors allows for spaces and outdoor areas that are only lighted when they’re needed to be. There are many different types of motion sensors, allowing the technology to be used in many different ways to help lighting be more efficient, only illuminating areas when people are present and making it impossible for them to be left on in empty rooms.

    One type of motion sensor is a vacancy sensor, which senses when a room is empty (detecting small amounts of motion) and then turns off the light. The light must conversely be turned on manually, meaning that the light won’t go on because of some random motion that isn’t a person, or when someone pops in the room only for a second and doesn’t need the light. This allows for higher amounts of energy efficiency when the room isn’t being used. Lights that are left on in a building could possibly be left on for hours. With a vacancy sensor that won’t happen.

    Occupancy sensors, on the other hand, sense when people have entered the room, turning lights on and off automatically based on the presence of people in the space. For a better idea of the motion sensors currently available, check out Shine Retrofits’ product list of motion sensors.

    The Pros of Motion Sensors

    The pros of installing motion sensor lights is their high energy efficiency. Just imagine an office scenario utilizing motion sensor lights. If there is a space in the office, like a meeting room or lounge area, that only gets used at certain times of the day, say during lunch hours when employees are eating or drinking coffee, a motion sensor is perfect.

    Instead of relying on one of the employees to turn the lights off when everyone is absent from the room, a motion sensor will automatically detect when the room is empty and turn the lights off for you. Although there might be a little lag between the time the last person leaves the room and when the lights shut off, there will be less wasted energy than when relying on employees to turn lights on and off.

    Whether you’re using an occupancy sensor or a vacancy sensor, you’re going to benefit from their energy-saving functions. Another plus, though, is the hands-free functions of the lights. Vacancy sensors allow you to operate your lights at least partly hands-free, and occupancy sensors grant you a completely hands-free experience with your lights.

    Also, sensor lights act as easy deterrents against crime. Any person who might break into your office or commercial space will be much less likely to continue an intrusion when lights flicker on.

    The Cons of Motion Sensors

    There are a few cons to motion sensors, though they are generally outweighed by the benefits you’ll experience with the technology.

    One downside is the lack of control you often get with a motion sensor. With an occupancy sensor, you have no choice about whether the lights come on or not. You could be passing through a space and the lights get turned on, which can be annoying and wasteful at times. This can be avoided, though, by using a vacancy sensor that requires lights to be manually turned on and will only shut off after it detects that the space is empty.

    With all motion sensors, sometimes you can be using a room and be too still to keep the sensor activated. Although you may be in the room quietly reading a book or watching a program, it will sense that no one is in the room and shut off the lights. This can be a bit aggravating, though can easily be fixed by moving around a little bit to reactivate the motion sensor.

    Lighting Timers

    Lighting timers are fairly self-explanatory. They either operate on preset schedules based on individual or company timetables, or are manually set to stay on for a certain amount of time. Lighting timers are often used in spaces that don’t get used often enough, like storage spaces, where you might only need access to light for a short amount of time and definitely don’t want lights accidentally left on.

    The Pros of Lighting Timers

    Convenience and saving energy are the best benefits of investing in lighting timers. By setting lighting to only be on for a certain time period, you’re ensuring that less energy is wasted by lights left on in unused spaces. Also, lighting schedules for your business can make a huge difference for efficiency and hands-free lighting, especially if your hours are consistent.

    Another factor is safety. Lighting timers can be set to turn on only when it’s dark, helping keep certain spaces like a business park or college campus safer.

    The Cons of Lighting Timers

    Lighting timers have a few downsides, though. One is that they’re generally not as efficient as motion sensor lights. Since timers are set to be on certain schedules or shut off after a determined amount of time, they may be on during times people aren’t using a space. This can be especially troublesome if your business has varying hours of operation, and timers aren’t changed.

    Which Is a Better Fit for Your Business?

    Shine Retrofits is excited to be on the cutting edge of lighting technology, helping you save energy on lighting. Check out our selection of lighting controls and sensors for specific products, and consider which option may be best for your needs based on the pros and cons listed above.

    Our customer service team is ready to help you figure out what will work best for you. You can call 1-800-983-1315 during our hours of 6AM to 6PM MST, Monday through Friday, to talk with our team of lighting experts, or use our contact form to send a message. We’re excited to assist you in planning out a new lighting system for your business, one that will take your energy efficiency to the next level!

  • Shine Lighting Professionals
    September 4, 2018

    Daylight Harvesting is one of the most exciting and innovative fields in sustainable lighting design for buildings. If you’re not familiar with the term and are interested in saving energy in your business, then it would benefit you to get acquainted and start incorporating daylight harvesting into your lighting system in whatever ways you can. Continue reading

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