7 Steps to Successfully Installing an LED Lighting Retrofit. Step 5

Machine Controls


The next step in the 7 steps to successfully installing an LED lighting Retrofit is probably the most obvious step in all of the 7 steps.

Step V: Install New LED Lights & Controls.

As obvious as this might be, this is where most people fail in their lighting retrofit. They don’t fail here due to lack of installation knowledge or even by installing the wrong mixture of LED fixtures and lamps. Where most people fail is in thinking this is the last step.

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Unfortunately, this is not the last step in successfully installing LED lights. This is however the most rewarding step. It is extremely fun to see an LED lighting retrofit take place. The before and after contrast of LED lighting can be extreme.


Proper Installation

Installation of LED fixtures can be more difficult that some people expect. It is not always as easy as removing a fixture and replacing it with another fixture or even a one for one switch out of lamps. Although, it can be that easy, if you are doing a proper retrofit and have removed lamps and fixtures then the installation of your new fixtures can cause some headaches.

LED lamps and fixtures use substantially less energy than the fixtures that may have been previously installed. Because of this, it is extremely important to have a qualified electrician verify the lighting loads and make sure that all circuits are properly sized for the new loads. It is also important to make sure that the lamps and fixtures are installed to proper manufacturer specifications.


For example, if you decided to go with retrofitting T8 fluorescent lamps to LED instant start lamps than you may want to verify that the ballast existing in the fixture is indeed a compatible ballast type. Sometimes, this can be difficult if the fixture is older than expected.

Proper Controls

When done right, one of the best parts of a lighting retrofit can be the addition of lighting controls. Controls, like occupancy and vacancy sensors, can save energy but can also increase any rebate incentives you may be getting, but more on that in the next step.

Other controls that you might want to consider are full lighting control systems that can be tied directly to your building automation system. These controls can manage occupancy and can also tie directly into your building’s operational schedule.

One of the best scheduling systems we have seen implemented is a “sweeping” lighting control. This is when the lighting control system will “sweep” off all the lights at a given time. For example, if you have a standard office building that is occupied from 6am to 10pm, you can set your control system to shut off all of the lights at midnight every night. This increases energy savings by ensuring that all lights are off when the building is not occupied. Of course all control operations can be over-ridden if necessary.

It is important to note that the addition of controls does increase the importance of proper installation. There are a number of wireless solutions available today that make the implementation of these controls easier but it is important to know what your system can handle.

lighting control diagram.jpg

Next Step:

After your have successfully implemented your lighting retrofit and properly commissioned your lighting controls, it is important to get all available rebates and tax incentives. This is the next step in the process.

A quick review of the 7 steps to a successful LED so far.

  1. Identify high wattage fixtures and lamps.
  2. Investigate the possibility of removing fixtures and/or lamps.
  3. Consider all types of LED lamps and fixtures
  4. Create a proper baseline.

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