How to Shine a New Light on Profits
Our industry prides itself on being able to combine leading-edge technologies with a client’s wish list for the dream home, and often that challenge forces integrators to think beyond the typical flat panel display/multi-room audio/home automation installation.
For example, in the case of a new 12,000-square foot home in Alexandria, Va., one of our dealers had the opportunity to offer their client a greener and energy-saving, yet high tech, future by carefully integrating LED lighting.
The home in Alexandria is an elegant mix of traditional and contemporary architect built around an entertainment court. For overall budget reasons, the homeowner elected to have a back-up generator—essential in this Potomac flood waters neighborhood—no larger than 22 Kw. The architect had specified conventional 75-watt incandescent fixtures for the house’s 235 downlights for an overall design load of 28Kw.
The client, electrician and HVAC subcontractors had made elaborate plans for which portions of the U-shaped house would actually receive power, HVAC and lighting in the event of an outage. In short, they had conceded to live in just one wing of their beautiful new home during a prolonged power outage.
The dealer was hired very early in the design process to design, coordinate and install a control system along with lighting control for approximately 90 switch legs, network, security, and related work. Recognizing the design loads, limitations for back-up power, and potential energy savings, the dealer introduced the idea of using LED fixtures instead of conventional incandescents for the downlights and specialty lighting fixtures.
After thoroughly evaluating demos conducted by the dealer to show the quality, temperature and even beam spread of the fixtures, the client purchased a combination of warm and regular dim LED fixtures. This move reduced the design load from 28Kw to just under 4Kw, an immediate savings of 24Kw design load.
Furthermore, since the electrician was required to size his panels based on the design load, specifying and installing 14w fixtures meant the entire process of sizing the generator could be based on the 14w fixtures. The net result was, now all of the home’s the lighting, kitchen appliances, control system and most of the home’s HVAC were able to fit on the generator.
The first benefit was an immediate reduction in overall electrical usage for lighting. The dealer further reduced consumption by setting custom scenes, lowering “full on” to 75–80 percent. The actual costs of the state-of-the-art LED fixtures, however, are more than the conventional incandescents, of course, but in several years, the capital investment in LED fixtures will be fully recovered.
The second benefit was, considering the capital cost of adding 25-30Kw of generating capacity, the LED fixtures virtually paid for themselves from day one. Not to mention now the homeowners and their four children no longer have to “bivouac” in their own home in bad weather.
Two years ago, when the design process began, it may have seemed unusual for you, as a dealer, to introduce LED lighting as well as lighting control. But, who is better qualified than you to make sure the selection of bulbs and fixtures is compatible with the lighting control system?
You’re the one who does the homework—and pays the lessons—to understand the unique nature and dimming profiles for LEDs. And, as we work to lead homeowners into a greener, more energy efficient future, “integrating” these new technologies remains our great opportunity. •