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10 Tips to Avoiding LED Retrofit Pitfalls

Here, Harvey Sinclair, CEO of Energy Works plc, explains the first five pitfalls Facilities Managers need to be aware of when doing an LED retrofit.

Pitfall 1: Buying on Price Alone

‘Buy cheap, buy twice’ – a sound word of warning in the world of LEDs. Buying cheap LEDs is a false economy, as although more efficient LEDs are more expensive, they can generate a much higher return through project savings over time.

Pitfall 2: The True Cost of Delay

Most businesses think that value is created through haggling over the cost of technology or installation. However, by delaying an LED installation by as little as 30 days could be the equivalent of to a 5% reduction in the cost of installation.

Pitfall 3: Thinking its Cheaper to “Do It Yourself”

Most facilities teams are busy managing or implementing budgeted projects, therefore the cost of prioritising an LED project over and above existing projects can be significant.

Pitfall 4: Using Your Own Capital to Pay for an LED Solution

Using a managed service or a “Light as a Service” solution can give businesses the best of both worlds – a high quality LED installation that optimises savings and maximises light levels, whilst releasing valuable budget for other higher priority capital projects.

Pitfall 5: Not Commissioning Lighting Design 

Commissioning a proper lighting assessment from a qualified lighting engineer ensures costly mistakes are avoided. Even on the simplest of scheme, having a lighting assessment ensures the new lighting delivers what is needed, avoiding costly mistakes.

Pitfall 6: Not Bothering with Controls

Even the simplest control solution can deliver an additional 50% savings both in terms of energy consumption and costs. The majority of solutions also deliver valuable insight into facility behaviour, that can be used to fine-tune operational processes.

Pitfall 7: Ignoring Your Wiring Infrastructure

Many manufacturers are keen to sell equipment, but not necessarily concerned about whether the infrastructure will hold up in the long-term, get a full assessment by a lighting engineer to ‘back of house’ will last as long as the new LED lights do.

Pitfall 8: Beware the Small Print

Not all warranties are created equal. Ask your supplier questions: How robust is their business? What does their warranty really cover? Very few warranties include quibble free parts and labour and complete luminaire replacement, so read the small print.

Pitfall 9: Forgetting to Consider Current BSI Standards 

Using a lighting engineer, rather than relying on a contractor’s recommendations, ensures the correct BSI standards are complied with throughout. Getting this wrong can have serious implications, so it is worth taking the right advice.

Pitfall 10: Forgetting to Consider Ongoing Maintenance

LEDs need cleaning and checking to ensure optimised performance and maximum life span. To avoid maintenance costs entirely, many businesses are opting for a funded LED solution, such as those delivered by Energy Works, which are maintenance free for the lifetime of the funding agreement.


“Light as a Service” can enable a high quality, maintenance free LED upgrade, risk free for no capital investment.