Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a Lighting Retrofit?

A: A Lighting Retrofit is a process where components in an existing building’s lighting system are replaced to gain electrical savings and lighting functionality and quality improvements.


Q: How Do Lighting Retrofits Save Energy?

A: Lighting retrofits save energy and reduce your electrical bill by replacing existing components with new components that satisfy the illumination requirements of space while using less electrical power. As new LED Lighting technologies are several times more efficient at producing light than older technologies, we can produce equivalent light using less energy.


Q: How much energy can be saved by a lighting retrofit?

A: The savings produced by a lighting retrofit depend on several factors, including current conditions, the lighting requirements of the space, and the lighting retrofit technologies in the base case and available as the retrofit solution. At DES, we pride ourselves preparing verifiable energy saving outcomes for our clients. Our projects typically target a minimum of 50 to 60 percent lighting load reduction, with many projects exceeding this thanks to re-design and lighting controls solutions.


Q: Am I eligible for Utility Rebates for my lighting retrofit project?

A: Utility incentives for LED lighting upgrades continue to be made available in most parts of Canada. Rebates are available in Ontario, BC, PEI, Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia. Utility Rebates for lighting retrofits in Canada are delivered through your local distribution company (electric utility) and may be streamed based on application, market, or other factors. Check with your local utility for the latest offering.


Q: Why do Utility Companies offer Rebates for a lighting retrofit?

A: Utility companies are in the business of generating and distributing electricity within a certain geographic area. As electrical demand grows in that area, the utility must produce and distribute more electricity by building new power plants and expensive transmission infrastructure. By incenting energy saving retrofits, utilities can reduce existing demand to help offset growth, and forgo expensive infrastructure upgrades. It is often more cost effective for utilities to incent energy savings programs as opposed to building new infrastructure.


Q: Do you do horticultural or grow light systems?

A: Yes! Our team is well equipped to assist growers and greenhouse operators with LED light upgrades. Our team has worked on several plant growth lighting projects including multiple projects for the Canadian Governments Agricultural Department: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.


Q: How can I tell if my lighting is energy efficient?

A: Typically, if your lighting is not LED it offers a great energy savings opportunity by switching to LED. If you are using traditional fluorescent, halogen, compact fluorescent, Metal Halide or Sodium lamps, you should connect with our friendly lighting audit team to find a suitable LED technology. This being said, not all LED lighting is created equal. The latest generation of LED lighting technologies are several times more efficient some of the earliest LED lighting systems, and when improved features and benefits are factored in, there may well be a case to replace older LED systems with the latest technologies.


Q: How do you prove energy savings from a lighting retrofit?

A: Energy savings can be proven through several methods, in a process that is commonly called Measurement and Verification (M&V). The most certain method is to have a qualified electrician make electrical load measurements at a luminaire location or at a dedicated lighting circuit before and after the lighting retrofit. This captures real quantifiable data from the original and retrofit conditions for comparison. Alternately, some M&V processes use detailed calculations, or whole building (electrical service) load measurement.


Q: This building is fairly new, the lighting must be efficient, right?

A: Don’t be so sure. Many new buildings are constructed with less-than-optimal lighting technologies. While energy codes have driven the acceptable energy usage of a new building down considerably, there is still often room for improvement. Delays between electrical design and construction can sometimes cause older, less efficient lighting systems to be installed because they were available when the specifications were drawn up. Other times budget considerations cause a builder to select a lower cost, lower efficiency lighting system. A qualified lighting auditor will be able to determine the your existing light source and identify a possible energy saving improvement.


Q: This building had a lighting retrofit 5 years ago, that means it is energy efficient, right?

A: There may still be great energy savings available by retrofitting. There has been incredible progress made in LED Lighting in the past several years. Due to the rapid rate of change, your lighting system might be a good candidate to be retrofitted again. For example, many T5HO fluorescent systems were installed through the 2010’s and utility rebates remained available for this technology up until 2020. These systems can often be replaced with LED systems that will save 50-60% of the energy demand. If your facility was retrofitted 10 years ago, there is almost certainly an opportunity for more energy savings today.