Everything You Need to Know About Lighting Audits

When most people hear the word “audit,” they might imagine the IRS going through their financial statements while tax assessors ask all sorts of nerve-racking questions. Fear not; a lighting audit is nothing like that. In fact, it’s a good thing.

For facility managers, commercial property managers, or anyone who is in charge of a large facility with commercial office or industrial-style lighting, a lighting audit is the first step in determining what kind of lighting retrofit options may be available. In a nutshell, a lighting expert will come to your facility and conduct a lighting audit report, and then use that information to determine the best course of action.

Reasons for Conducting a Lighting Audit

When it comes time to retrofit the lighting in a facility, there is no shortage of reasons why a lighting audit is an essential preliminary action. For industrial facilities, a lighting audit will help determine the right light levels for the different work areas within your facility.  If you’re considering a lighting retrofit for commercial or office space, the audit will determine whether one area may benefit from linear indirect pendant office lights and another might be best suited for recessed troffer retrofit kits. Even if the emergency exit stairwells are properly lit, new LED stairwell lights can help reduce the power it takes to light these spaces that are vacant for the vast majority of the day.  The point of the lighting audit is to help the designer understand where they are starting from.  From there, they can determine the efficiency measures they’ll put in place and then calculate expected savings.

Why conduct a lighting audit?

  • To help save money and energy by determining the best solutions for any facility
  • To understand how each of the areas in the facility is being used so that over-lighting or under-lighting scenarios can be corrected.
  • Because lighting uses, on average, 39% of all electric power in office buildings, and facility managers need to know how to reduce that number.
  • Because it is essential to understand which lighting fixtures can stay and which older equipment needs to be replaced by energy-efficient lighting.
  • To improve your facility’s image by “going green.”

A lighting audit is the “inventory” that helps the designer understand the current state of the lighting system within your facility.

How to Conduct a Lighting Audit

There are a few different ways to go about conducting a lighting audit. While an expert in the lighting industry will be able to provide a detailed lighting audit for very complicated facilities, most lighting audits can be done in house.  RelightDepot has developed a simple lighting audit form that can be used for facilities with only a few different types of light fixtures.  This form helps you capture the relevant details of the project and provides a space where the user can track fixture counts by area along with pertinent notes.  With this information, a designer should be able to provide at least a preliminary assessment of the savings that may be available through a lighting retrofit project.

Even if it is not a direct part of the lighting audit process, it is very important to understand what rebates and incentives may be available in your area.  Many municipalities and state programs will provide financial incentives to help owners change out less efficient lights for newer technology.  RelightDepot has developed and continues to maintain a directory of lighting rebate programs across the country.

A more thorough audit will include light level readings throughout each space, pictures of the different areas as well as notes on usage patterns and occupancy levels.  Based on the data collected, a plan for retrofitting the lighting can begin to take shape.

Lighting Audit Requirements

The following is a list of items that may be captured during a lighting audit:

  • Physical address of the facility
  • Contact details for key stakeholders
  • The name of the utility company that provides electricity to the facility along with the contact name for the representative if known
  • The average utility rate for the facility ($ per kWh)
  • Area by area audit of the lighting system to include
    • Area name or identifier
    • Type of existing light fixture.  May include lamp type, lamp wattage, ballast type, system wattage, condition and additional details.
    • Hours of use per year
    • Occupancy or activity level
    • Area dimensions or dimensions between fixtures including mounting height
    • Type of heating, cooling or air conditioning used
    • Lighting voltage
    • Light levels
    • Obstructions or notes on the types of lifts that may be required to reach the fixtures
    • Photos, diagrams or other notes

Count on Us

If counting lighting fixtures is not your idea of fun, you can leave the job to us.  RelightDepot has developed a network of lighting specialists throughout the country that will be able to provide a detailed lighting audit and discuss your retrofit project with you.  Get started now by calling 888-548-6387 or contact us online. We will be happy to help you through each step in the process.

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