Every commercial building has lights, and the chances are at least fair that they are not being adequately maintained. Once installed, lights tend to be forgotten. They are out of the way and dust accumulates so gradually that it is hardly noticeable. In some buildings, there may be no lighting maintenance plan at all. Lamps are replaced haphazardly as they burn out, with no records kept. Cleaning occurs irregularly, if at all. Many building owners and managers may not realize how much energy and, ultimately, money is being wasted.
There are many benefits of good lighting. The benefits of good lighting will, of course, depend on the type of commercial building. For example, in a factory, good lighting might increase productivity; in a retail store, it might increase sales. The following are some of the benefits of maintaining proper lighting.
- Better Productivity - Numerous studies, in both factories and offices, have shown that improved lighting increases productivity; poor lighting decreases it.
- Improved Quality - Proper lighting results in fewer errors, thus improving quality and reducing the need to do the work over. Quality control is also improved.
- Increased Sales - Good lighting results in greater sales of merchandise or services, as well as increased rental of tenant space.
- Improved Safety and Health - Eye fatigue and headaches occur less frequently, as do accidents with machinery, hazardous materials, etc. Job-related accidents and health problems can have a serious effect on medical, legal, and insurance costs.
- Improved Security - Proper lighting, both indoors and out, reduces the likelihood of theft to the company and assault to workers and customers. Again, medical, legal, and insurance costs can be affected, and there can be the further costs of stolen material, lost business, and employee morale and turnover.
- Improved Appearance - The appearance of a building, inside and out, can have an important effect on employee morale and community relations.
- More Light for the Money - An old dirty lamp produces less light than a new or clean one, even though it consumes just as much electricity. Regular maintenance assures that maximum light is produced for the cost in energy. Furthermore, because lighting maintenance is frequently poor, some buildings are designed with more light fixtures than necessary. In such "over-designed" buildings, the required light is delivered even when lamps are old or dirty. If, however, lamps are properly maintained in these buildings, then it may be possible to shut off some lamps, saving money in energy and materials, while still providing the necessary light.
Group relamping for fluorescent systems is nearly always combined with the commercial building cleaning operation. With incandescent systems, these operations will sometimes be combined, though it will usually be necessary to relamp two or three times before cleaning is again needed, due to the shorter life of these lamps.
- Turn off the lamps.
- Remove the louvers and clean.
- Remove the lamps.
- Shock-proof the fixtures.
- Clean the outside of the fixtures.
- Clean the inside of the fixtures.
- Remove the socket covering.
- Insert new lamps.
- Replace the louvers.
- Straighten the room.
- Put lamps away.
When relamping is not combined with cleaning, the tube or bulb is simply replaced. Essentially, this involves turning off the lamps, removing the louvers (if there are any), removing the old lamps, inserting the new lamps, replacing the louvers, straightening the room (if necessary), discarding the old lamps, and putting any good lamps away in storage. Even when cleaning is not scheduled, it is a good idea to check the fixtures to see if they need it. This is especially true if access to the fixture is difficult or time-consuming, as it is with high-mounted fixtures. A lamp changer is particularly useful when relamping is not being combined with cleaning, since it is not necessary to have a person actually at the fixture.
When lamps are replaced, obvious or suspected electrical problems should be noted for repair. This can be easily done by putting a brightly colored tag on the fixture in question. Your electrician will then be alerted to the problem and can repair it.