Standardization vs. Optimization. I often get this question: “Should I standardize and keep my products limited to
fewer types and manufacturers, or try to find the perfect kit or
fixture for every space in the facility to maximize performance
and perceived savings?” To which I say, “Both.”
Standardize on product solutions from one or two of the
top known manufacturers that have been in business for
years. They will have numerous product offerings with various lumen packages that your solutions provider should be
able to apply to just about any space in your facility.
Make sure the system you specify and ultimately purchase
meets your lighting performance goals. Ask for detailed photometric reports on the products applied to your facility and
request samples to be installed for the key fixtures in which
you are about to invest.
Here are some red flags to avoid:
• You haven't heard of the manufacturer.
• Manufacturers that offer a warranty longer than they
have been in business.
• Too many product types or manufacturers. This makes it
difficult to perform maintenance and warranty administration.
• Products that are not DLC listed, especially when rebates
are part of the package.
• “Equals” that aren’t truly equals. Many manufacturers
have literally stuffed LEDs into a fixture housing that
was originally designed for HID lamps and call it an
LED fixture. This fixture may be efficient as measured
by lumens per watt, but they have poor light distribution.
ROI vs. 10 Year Cost of Ownership. Which is more
important to you? A 10-year cost of ownership (CoO) financial snapshot would be irrelevant to you if you plan to move
in six years. If you plan on staying put for 10 years or more,
however, then a 10-year CoO makes sense. For example, a
10-year CoO of $800,000 with a 3.5-year ROI vs. a 10-year
CoO of $1,200,000 with a 2.8-year ROI. Is the quicker return
better or the additional $400,000 saved over the term? The
point here is to bring in your financial team early in the
process so that all of the financial benefits can be openly
discussed and your company’s financial objectives can be
communicated of those providing the solutions.
Price vs. Piece-Of-Mind. Finally, let's think back to our
hypothetical car purchase. Do we want to purchase the cheapest car, or the mid-priced car that is rated much higher in safety, reliability and has better gas mileage? Consider the total
cost of ownership over the initial cost. If you don’t feel confident in the products and/or contractor offering you solutions,
move on to someone that gives you that confidence.
Mark Bryan, CLEP, CLMC, CSLC, is national director of
energy solutions service hub at Hubbell Lighting. He can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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