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Getting the Savings You Intended

Lighting projects can save big money. But sometimes the savings evaporate after some time. Or never happen. Sometimes, the lighting project produces huge, unexpected costs.

The blame does not lie with the lighting system. Here are some common sources of lighting project losses:

  • Poor power quality. LEDs are especially vulnerable to power quality issues. The typical plant has all kinds, including harmonics and waveform distortion. Clean up the power before changing to LED.
  • Lack of maintenance. Lighting systems with sophisticated controls have many advantages. But those controls must be maintained. Even mundane systems can suffer from dirty lenses.
  • Lack of ampacity. Branch circuit wiring for lighting often involves long runs. Voltage drop can easily be an issue. Rather than simply “wire to Code,” evaluate those longer runs for voltage drop. A small investment in larger conductors will pay for itself many times over.
  • Undersized neutral. That neutral needs to carry the unbalanced load back to the source. Make sure the neutral is big enough to handle what you’re asking it to do, and don’t forget about harmonics.

The number one employee complaint in one building of a Kentucky manufacturing plant was dim lighting. Investigation showed the existing neutrals had been charred almost black. All of the lighting branch circuits were rewired over the weekend (with larger conductors for the neutral). Light levels rose dramatically, leading people to comment on how nice the “new lighting system” was.

Source: Mark Lamendola | Mindconnection