August 12, 2013 Ed Hunter, Horizon Lighting Homeowner Tips
Our biggest and most important asset in our communities is the community itself. As a lighting and electrical vendor for HOA and Commercial properties, I feel a great responsibility to these associations and association managers to provide knowledge, prospective and insight to a very important part of each facility's operation.
The annual budget review is one of the best times to make boards aware of exactly what is going on in their communities. This is a great time to evaluate all facets of the lighting, electrical, energy savings, and associated applications. For the last several years LED lamps have been the rage. The good thing is, the LED lamps are now being made for nearly every solution out there, and in all the normal colors. That means areas of big savings are being creaed where that particular product wasn't even available two years ago.
The key to every product is not only availability, but quality. These new LEDs are made to last for approximately 10 years. Most are guaranteed for 5-7 years. Another key is having your vendor make sure that the manufacturer is solid, financially stable, and will be around in 10 years to warranty their product. Because the life of the product is so long, we also need to know whether the fixture is sturdy enough to make that 10 year duration. This is where a vendor can play a very important role. They can bring about the very good return on an investment. Depending on what lamps and fixtures you are using, some returns will be much better than others. A normal payback on an investment in updated lighting has a ballpark figure of less than two years. Underwater pool lights have a rate of return of approximately 1.14 years, which is fantastic. High wattage, ballasted products such as street lights, well lights and bollards also show a high rate of return (short payback period. Lower wattage products usually have a low rate of return (long payback period), like address lights or low voltage ground lights.
The best way to get a great comparison is to have your vendor do a free energy audit along with a payback analysis on the lamps and fixtures that affect your community. If it is too late to do some of these things this year, you always have the option to put it in the budget for next year. If you start now, you will put time, money and energy on your side. I can tell you from experience that the rewards are huge, as well as having a more efficient and better illuminated community. Believe me, we have the technology. Turn the table on expenses and put the community to work for you!