How to Save Money by Installing Your Own Commercial Lighting System
Installing your own commercial lighting system can seem daunting, but it can save your business a lot of money in the long run. With some planning and effort, you can successfully install lighting that meets your business's unique needs.
Assessing Your Lighting Needs
The first step is to assess your lighting needs. Walk through your commercial space and make notes about where you need general lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting.
General lighting illuminates an entire area. For example, overhead lighting in an office.
Task lighting focuses light on a specific work area, like under cabinet lighting in a kitchen.
Accent lighting highlights architectural elements or displays, like track lighting over artwork.
As you assess your needs, consider:
- The size and layout of your space
- What visual tasks will be performed in each area
- Any areas that require brighter, focused lighting
- Your decor and desired ambiance
This lighting audit will provide crucial information for selecting the right commercial lighting system.
Choosing the Lighting Systems
With your lighting plan in hand, you can determine the types of lighting systems needed. Key options to consider include:
- LEDs are energy-efficient and long-lasting.
- Options like LED panels and LED tube lights make great general lighting.
- LED downlights and track lights work well for task and accent lighting.
- Fluorescent tubes provide bright, even general lighting.
- Compact fluorescents are efficient and fit in many fixtures.
- Better for areas with high lighting needs.
High/Low Bay Fixtures
- Designed to light large commercial spaces like warehouses.
- High bay mounts high and casts light downwards.
- Low bay mounts lower and spreads light wider.
Choose systems that align with your lighting needs, energy goals, and overall budget.
Designing the Lighting Layout
To fully light your space, you'll need to design a thoughtful lighting layout. Here are some tips:
- Space out general lighting fixtures evenly based on the size of the area.
- Install task lighting where needed, like over workstations or shelves.
- Add accent tracks or slim fixtures to highlight displays and architectural details.
- Layer all three types of lighting for visual interest and utility.
- Follow all building codes and safety standards.
You can create a lighting layout plan or work with a knowledgeable electrical contractor.
Purchasing Commercial Lighting
Once you've selected your lighting systems, it's time to purchase materials. You'll need:
- Fixtures like panels, downlights, track heads, and bay lights
- Lamps like fluorescent tubes, CFLs, or LEDs
- Mounting hardware like rails, cables, and junction boxes
- Controls like dimmers, occupancy sensors, and daylight harvesting technology
Shop at lighting supply stores or online retailers to get wholesale prices. Buying in bulk can also lead to big savings.
Hiring an Electrician
Even if you have electrical skills, it's wise to hire a licensed electrician for the installation process. Tasks will include:
- Safely disconnecting existing wiring and removing old fixtures
- Installing new junction boxes and running new circuit wiring
- Mounting and hanging new fixtures
- Connecting ballasts and lamps
- Programming and testing lighting controls
- Ensuring all systems meet building codes
Hiring pros ensures correct installation and avoids safety hazards.
Completing the Installation
Once the electrician has completed the main installation, you can finish by:
- Installing lamps in all fixtures
- Testing out lighting controls like dimmers and sensors
- Making any needed adjustments for optimal positioning
- Cleaning fixtures and lamps
- Disposing of old lighting properly
When finished, you'll have a custom commercial lighting system tailored to your business needs and aesthetics. And you'll save significantly compared to hiring a lighting contractor to do everything. With some diligence and effort, you can install commercial lighting that makes your space shine.