guides

LED Retrofits and Upgrades for Businesses

In September 2023, the UK enforced a ban on the manufacture of T8 fluorescent lamps. This decision was partly due to the environmental and health risks posed by mercury, a component of traditional fluorescent lighting. The improper disposal or breakage of these lights could lead to environmental pollution or even health risks. 

In response to these changes, consumers and businesses alike are now encouraged to explore other options, including LED retrofitting. Read on to find out more about why LEDs stand out as the preferred alternative, offering energy savings, a longer lifespan, and a versatile range of lighting options without the environmental toll of their fluorescent counterparts.

What is an LED retrofit?

Retrofitting is the process by which old equipment or systems are improved through the addition of new  features or technologies. The term ‘retrofit’ can be used interchangeably with ‘conversion’. The main aim of a retrofit is to make an existing setup work more efficiently without the hassle and cost of starting from scratch.

For LED lighting in businesses, retrofitting usually means switching old lights to LED, or adding new options like dimming, emergency lights, or smart controls to existing LED setups.

What are the benefits of LED retrofitting for businesses?

There are several benefits associated with an LED lighting retrofit:

Energy Savings

LED lights use up to 80% less energy than traditional lights like incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, leading to lower business energy bills and a smaller carbon footprint.

Longer life

LEDs have a much longer life, often lasting between 25,000 to 50,000 hours, which means less frequent replacements and lower upkeep costs. A longer lifespan also means there's less demand for resources to manufacture, transport, and dispose of these items over time.

Better quality light

With a broad spectrum of colour temperatures, LEDs provide high-quality light with minimal flickering and better colour accuracy, which can improve the overall ambiance of a room.

Reduced greenhouse gas emissions

Switching to energy-saving lights can cut energy usage, which in turn reduces the burden on our energy grid and our reliance on fossil fuels.

Immediate Illumination and Adjustable Brightness

Unlike some fluorescents, LEDs light up instantly to full brightness, useful in situations where immediate light is needed. Many LED lights can also be dimmed, allowing for adjustable lighting levels to fit different situations and preferences.

Low Heat Output

LEDs produce very little heat compared to traditional bulbs, helping to reduce air conditioning costs and increase energy efficiency.

Why should I consider an LED retrofit for my business?

Along with the benefits already mentioned above, it's important to consider how LED retrofitting can help your business to meet industry regulations. For example:

MEES Requirements

Retrofitting can help your business meet the UK's Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES). By 2028, all commercial properties in England and Wales must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of 'C' or better. Retrofitting with LED lighting and other energy-efficient improvements such as better insulation, modern windows, and renewable energy technologies is vital to meeting these standards.

BREEAM Certification

The CO2e reduction resulting from a retrofit can also help a building achieve a BREEAM certification.. The BREEAM rating system is a highly-regarded assessment of a building's environmental, social, and economic sustainability performance. By focusing on areas such as energy use reduction, material efficiency, and enhancing indoor environmental quality through measures like LED retrofitting, businesses could achieve higher BREEAM scores on their properties. This would be particularly significant for property investors, managers or businesses that lease out space, as reports have shown that BREEAM certification can increase rental rates by up to 24.9%.

What’s the difference between LED retrofit lighting and dedicated LED fittings?

Choosing between retrofit LED lamps and dedicated LED fixtures depends on the demands of each project, factoring in the current setup, aesthetic goals, maintenance resources, and budget. With ongoing advancements in LED technology, the lighting industry could eventually shift towards solutions that simplify upkeep whilst offering more versatility in design. For now, here’s an overview of the differences between retrofit and dedicated fixtures, and how they stand up against each other:

Retrofit LED Lamps

  • Compatible with existing lighting fixtures. 
  • Require standard lamp holder bases. 
  • Offer a practical solution for using existing lighting infrastructure. 

Dedicated LED Fixtures

  • Feature LEDs that are integrated into the fixtures. 
  • Allow for a greater degree of design innovation due to the integration of lighting components.
  • May require professional installation.

How do retrofit and dedicated LED fixtures compare?

Installation and Maintenance

Retrofit LEDs are generally easier to install and maintain, especially in environments lacking access to specialised maintenance services. Dedicated fixtures, while potentially offering longer-term benefits in design and efficiency, might introduce complexity and additional costs in maintenance.

Design Flexibility and Efficiency

The integrated nature of dedicated LED fixtures opens up opportunities for innovative design and potentially higher energy efficiency. LED retrofits often prioritise compatibility and ease of upgrade.

Cost Implications

Initial costs and long-term maintenance expenses differ between the two options, with retrofit LEDs often being less expensive upfront but dedicated fixtures possibly offering greater efficiency and design benefits over time.

Want to find out what an LED retrofit can do for your business?

CQuel can help you identify the right system for your business and match you with a vetted installation partner, ensuring a seamless and hassle-free implementation.Explore our current openings and become a part of Team CQuel.
Explore Your Options

FAQs

You’ve got questions,
we’ve got answers

What are LED retrofit kits?

For lighting, LED retrofit kits contain components that improve the performance and efficiency of existing light fixtures. With LED retrofit kits, you can upgrade to LED technology without the need to get rid of your current lighting setup entirely.

How much does it cost to convert to LED?

The cost of converting your business’s lighting fixtures to LED can vary widely depending on the size of your business, the number and type of fixtures, and the cost of labour. To find out what an LED retrofit for your business could look like, drop us a line at chai@cquel.io.

Get in touch

Discover opportunities within your business property and find out how CQuel can make your net zero solutions a reality, today.
Contact us