The LED lighting retrofit is becoming an increasingly popular undertaking for Toronto offices large and small as well as theaters, apartment complexes, factories, warehouses, research facilities, hospitals, clinics and educational institutions of all types and sizes throughout Ontario. In this guide we’re going to take a look at all of the relevant factors that go into a retrofit. Before we begin though we need to address exactly why, with all the different lighting options on the market today, we focus on LED lighting in particular. There are a number of good reasons and here are the most important:

Table Of Contents

Why LED Retrofit ?

Life span – A typical LED bulb will last an average of 50,000 hours. That means if you use your LED lights for an average of 8 hours a day the bulbs you install today will last on average just over 17 years. In other words, if you have a son or daughter in first grade when you undergo your retrofit those LED bulbs will still be working when your child is in college. Think about that for a minute and you begin to understand why LEDs represent a true revolution in lighting.

Energy savings – LEDs are anything but a one trick pony, however, not only will they last potentially for decades but they will also provide astonishing energy savings the likes of which were simply never possible before. In fact it’s likely you will save as much as 85% to 90% on your lighting bills by switching to LEDs.

Environmental responsibility – Not only will LEDs last and drastically reduce your energy bills they are also one of the first lines of defence when it comes to resource conservation and staving off the effects of climate change. If everyone used LED lights to replicate their current light levels power plants would only have to work at a fraction of their current capacity, greenhouse gases would be greatly reduced and dwindling coal and oil resources would still be available for succeeding generations.

Less stress on your HVAC system – Because LEDs don’t generate heat, an office lit with LED bulbs is going to be much cooler than an office lit by traditional means. The cooler office means you won’t have to spend as much on air conditioning and your HVAC system won’t have to work so hard, thereby extending its life, and saving you even more money.

Wide ranging adaptability – Whether you need to illuminate a manufacturing process, a loading dock, an office, a parking lot, a display of jewellery in the window, or your shop, LEDs are the best choice. The light quality is not only clean and clear but it can be as subtle or intense as you like. It’s also directional in nature and produces very little by way of glare.

Durability – There is no filament with LED lights which means you can drop them and not have to worry about the filament coming loose or breaking. They also hold up well to being jarred and bumped which is one reason they are become so popular on cars which are constantly rocking and rolling.

In addition – LED lights are “instant on” so there is no waiting for the bulb to get up to speed, it is at full capacity the second you switch it on. LEDs are also fully dimmable which saves you money and allows for display flexibility whereas compact fluorescents cannot be dimmed. A major advantage.

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16 Things to Consider for Your Lighting RetrofitFruitful Commercial Lighting Retrofit

The above are just the most obvious benefits of LED bulbs and should amply demonstrate why when we discuss lighting retrofits we’re primarily talking about LED lighting retrofits. So all that said, here are 16 factors to consider when contemplating an LED lighting retrofit.

1. Project goals

The overall goal is to make your commercial, medical or educational facility more energy efficient but you need to establish more clear cut goals than that. Besides energy savings perhaps you need to bring a better quality of light to bear on one of your manufacturing processes or wish to reduce accidents in your facility. You can outline the key objectives of the retrofit lighting program by asking a few questions such as:

  • Is the existing level of light adequate for your needs or is it too high or too low?
  • Can task effectiveness be enhanced by adjusting light levels or reducing glare?
  • Do you anticipate making changes to processes or layouts in the near future?
  • Can safety be improved by upticking the light levels in certain areas or reducing glare?
  • Are you currently spending too much on lighting maintenance?

Answering these questions should help you establish goals and thereby set parameters for the project.

2. How is your space used?

Are you lighting a research facility where everything needs to be well-illuminated from every angle, or a warehouse where you’ll need copious overhead light on the loading dock and in staging areas? Is yours a clothing store where you want to draw attention to various displays, or are you bringing needed light into a previously dark parking garage? As a general rule the more active a space the more light will be required. Loading docks are good examples of this. Also, the size of items being handled in warehouse situations can influence the amount of light needed. Lighting controls should also be considered in every part of factory or warehouse setting.

3. Who will do the work?

lighting retrofit companiesThere are companies out there who entrust the retrofitting of their facility to their regular maintenance staff, doing so however is a little like entrusting heart surgery to a general practitioner. While your regular maintenance staff are no doubt bright hardworking individuals it takes specialized training to get the most out of a lighting retrofit. A company like LEDdirect will conduct a comprehensive energy audit of your current system, show you exactly where waste is occurring, estimate how much you can save, and make pinpoint recommendations about which lights should go where and guide you through the process of obtaining lighting retrofit rebates.

4. Physical dimensions and natural light

The dimensions of your Toronto office or other space will go a long way toward determining what type of LED lights are best and how many you’ll need. If there is enough natural light coming in from the windows you may benefit from a process called “daylight harvesting” wherein you set up the new lights with photo cells that turn some of them off when the natural light reaches a certain acceptable level.

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5. Technological considerations

There is little doubt the quality of LED lamps today make them the foremost lighting technology for virtually every application and that retrofitting existing fluorescents will result in drastic savings in both energy and money. However, substantial technical differences remain between fluorescents (for example) and LED technology which means that the retrofit process involves more than just swapping out bulbs. For this reason alone you need to partner with a company that specializes in lighting retrofits rather than leaving the task to your hard working but inadequately trained regular maintenance crew.

6. Thinking big

LED retrofit troubleshooting tipsTo get the most out of the retrofit program in Ontario try not to think of it as an isolated event or procedure. Tie it in with other considerations such as security and make it a business upgrade even more so than a lighting upgrade. For instance; installing motion detectors is not only a practical idea that will save on lighting costs in the long run but it is also a nifty security enhancement since any intruder will trigger the lights and be visible on the security camera. You will get a clear video record of the perp and be able to provide law enforcement with accurate information. A retrofit can also be an integral part of an enhanced facility-wide safety program. High quality lighting can help older buildings in Toronto compete with new buildings for those crucial long term tenants.

7. Retrofit or replace?

commercial lighting retrofit tricksKeep in mind that during a retrofit project there may be instances when total replacement of the fixture or fixtures will yield a better result than trying to retrofit them. Reusing/retrofitting existing fixtures is certainly one way to keep conversion costs down. However, in some cases replacing the inner workings of the lamp in order to affect a retrofit may just be a waste of time and money as opposed to simply removing the old lamp and installing a new one.

8. Future use of LED

The occasion of an LED retrofit is also the perfect time to consider how the space might be used in the future. This is particularly true of spaces in academic or research settings as well as some commercial settings. By thinking ahead you can design your lighting scheme to accommodate both current and future needs which will save you money in the long term when it comes time to reconfigure or repurpose the space.

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9. Wattage used by LED

The wattage indicates the amount of energy used by the light bulb. Traditionally there was a clear correlation between wattage and the brightness of the bulb but that dynamic relationship has been turned somewhat upside down by LED bulbs since they can typically produce the same quality of light using 80% or 90% less energy. In other words you may well get the same lighting effect from a 10 watt LED as you would get from a 100 watt incandescent. When discussing the specifics of the lighting retrofit this has to be kept in mind by all parties in order to avoid confusion.

10. Lumens

lighting retrofitLumens are the measure of the actual light output, as opposed to the light quality. LEDs produce far more lumens while consuming far less electricity which is how a 5 or 10 watt LED can produce the same amount of light as a 60 or 100 watt incandescent. It’s more important then, that when choosing LEDs for the retrofit lighting system that you concentrate on lumens rather than wattage.

11. Colour rendering

When it comes to colour the higher the colour rendering index, or CRI, the closer to natural the colours of an object will look. This is often important in manufacturing and warehouse settings but maybe even more so in laboratory and educational settings where technicians and students respectively benefit greatly from being able to easily and accurately obtain information.

12. Colour temperature

LED retrofit serviceThe higher the colour temperature the whiter the light emitted from the bulb. This will have an important bearing on how you design your new lighting scheme in a variety of settings from restaurants to hospitals. Colour settings begin at 2700K (kelvin) and go upward from there.

  • 2700K is the warmest light a standard LED will emit. It has a yellow cast to it that is very reminiscent of incandescent bulbs and for this reason is most often used in domestic settings like bedrooms and living rooms. It can also be useful in a commercial setting like a bar, a lounge, or a hotel lobby where ownership is trying to set a warm, relaxed mood.
  • 3500K bulbs are roughly equivalent to what were formerly known as “soft white” bulbs. They are whiter than 2700K bulbs but it’s a white light with a softer edge.
  • 4100K bulbs are cool white in colour and mimic standard fluorescents in appearance. 4100K bulbs are often seen in hospitals or other clinical settings.
  • 6000K LED bulbs and above are typically referred to as “daylight” bulbs as they effectively mimic the quality of sunlight at noon. It may be useful to note that with other types of bulbs like compact fluorescents the “daylight” effect can begin as low as 5000K.

13. Maximum Overall Length

The maximum overall length (or MOL) of a bulb is the length as measured from the tip of the bulb to the underside of the base. This factor will come into play when trying to determine which type of bulb to retrofit for certain fixtures.

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14. Your budget

Now we get down to the real nitty gritty, because, as with most things in life, a retrofit costs money and you need to figure out how to get the most out of what you can afford to spend. In order to make sure you optimize the benefits of your retrofit you’ll need to keep factors such as purchase and installation costs as well as energy consumption and maintenance costs in mind. LEDs will typically cost more upfront but will wind up providing far more savings over the long term than any other type of lighting solution. That’s in large part due to the fact that they last incredibly long and require virtually no maintenance. So while the savings may be a bit slow out of the gate within a few short years they’ll have paid for themselves and you’ll then enjoy a protracted period of dramatic savings.

15. Lighting retrofit rebates

rebate applicationWhen you choose to undergo an LED retrofit in Ontario you are eligible to take advantage of Ontario Power Authority’s Conservation and Demand Management Programs such as the saveONenergy retrofit program. SaveONenergy rebates can cut the cost of some retrofits by as much as 50% essentially absorbing most of the financial blow associated with the cost of acquiring LED lamps. LEDdirect can help you take advantage of this important program by shepherding your application through the process. We’ll make sure you enjoy the maximum benefit possible.

16. LEDdirect

Perhaps no other single factor will weigh as heavily on the success of your LED lighting retrofit as the company you choose to perform it. In Ontario no other company has the same level of experience and expertise when it comes to lighting retrofits as LEDdirect. We’ve helped scores of companies turn their financial fortunes around by retrofitting their enterprises with long lasting, incredibly energy efficient LED lamps and bulbs. We know both the technology and the retrofit process like the backs of our hands so you can rest assured you will wind up enjoying optimal benefits for years to come. We’ll also handle all aspects of the saveONenergy retrofit program application process for you so you can concentrate on other things: like how you’re going to use all your long term savings to enhance the overall health of your organization. Don’t forget too that we offer a free Go Green energy audit of your current lighting system that will help you identify waste and devise an effective retrofit plan of attack.


An LED lighting retrofit can be a transformative event in the life of your business by drastically reducing lighting costs, enhancing productivity, enhancing safety, and reducing maintenance costs. More than just a tree-hugger retrofit program for Ontario companies, the LED retrofit is the very definition of a sound business decision that will position your enterprise large or small to flourish for years to come. Don’t let the boat to future success leave the dock without you. Get on board with an LED retrofit from LEDdirect. We’ve helped all manner of business realize their true potential and we can do the same for you.

Give us a call on 416-635-5533 or 1-877-449-2777 to learn more about this revolutionary technology and to schedule a free Go Green energy audit for your Ontario business.