As the lights come back on in working environments post-pandemic, how companies use their office spaces is getting a rethink. A big one.
And that may create a surge in LED installation and retrofit projects.
Now is a perfect time for facilities to invest in new lighting and smart LED technology. Need proof? We talked with Justin Lane, Manufacturers Sales Representative at Sales Lane, about the changes happening in office spaces and how LED light fixtures can create a better working environment, conserve energy usage and save money.
Q. How has the idea of office space evolved over the course of the last year and a half? Where is it headed?
JL: Obviously, when the pandemic hit, many offices cleared out. And during that time, there has been a lot of discussion about what office space would become: Would we even go back to the office? Would we keep open offices or go full circle and implement a modernized type of cubicle?
It feels like we’ve reached a crossroads at this point … but many managers prefer the collaborative open office model, and after a long time at home, workers might hunger for more interaction. Besides, there was major investment put into having that open, sleek, socially friendly environment, which leads me to believe there won’t be a major shift toward cubicles at this point.
A big change, though, is in where we work.
Working from home transitioned from a “once in a while when your child is sick” option to a proven alternative. While some businesses will return to full-time office work, there will be many that adopt a hybrid approach. Staff will spend some days in the office and some working from home.
That will have an impact on lighting needs and use in the office environment. Working from home, people have control over their working environment, including the lighting. And we want to feel comfortable while we’re at work. Office lighting is going to need to be flexible, clean, effective and modern. It needs to be controllable, scalable and allow field adjustment for color temperatures. It’s a tall order, but fortunately, LED lighting meets all those requirements.
Q. How can LED technology help offices that may be considering a hybrid working environment be more efficient?
As businesses bring employees back to the office, the hybrid working style will have an impact on how they use their spaces.
Does every employee need their own desk, or will there be communal spaces that are shared? Are there hard-wall offices around the perimeter that block sunlight, or does daylight flood in? Is every corner of the office used 100% of the time or at 100% wattage?
Luckily, LED fixtures have the versatility to help companies adapt to changing conditions. For example, occupancy sensors can help businesses save on energy consumption in spaces that are not in use all the time. Conference rooms, copy rooms, storage areas, break rooms, restrooms…these are all areas that don’t need to be lit until someone enters.
Daylight harvesting is another technology that is seeing more use with open plan office layouts. As office walls come down, more outside light can reach into interior spaces. That creates the opportunity to dim lights in response to the available daylight, saving energy.
Increasingly, commercial building codes targeting better energy efficiency are mandating the use of such smart LED technologies. In California, Title 24 requires that either an occupancy or vacancy sensor is used to reduce energy usage in nonresidential buildings.
Q. As companies make these adjustments, are there specific LED fixtures or technologies that can help?
While every application is a little bit different, depending on budget or the situation, LED retrofits for ceiling lighting are popular for a reason.
Litetronics has LED Light Panel fixtures or retrofit kits that are easy to install but also come with the flexibility and controllability that make it perfect for a whole range of office environments.
Why is this so important?
Flexible wattage in a fixture solves lighting problems for end users and contractors. You don’t need to know up front what the right wattage or color temperature is for a space. And using an app, you have the flexibility to control groups of fixtures or just one.
Office occupants get the improved visibility, better productivity, and improved health and safety benefits.
And on the contractor side—where time is money—only having a single fixture type makes installation simpler and faster. Cost-effectively retrofitting an office space means working within the existing ceiling layout. Litetronics’ LED Light Panel fixture can be easily swapped in for a standard fluorescent troffer fixture. It’s a simple way to convert drop or grid ceiling layouts to low-glare and highly efficient LED light. The LED Volumetric Retrofit kit from Litetronics can be installed by one person in less than two minutes, without breaking into the ceiling plenum. That’s a huge bonus for the contractor.
LED lighting can make the office of the future safer as well. Litetronics’ smart LED panel lighting, troffers and retrofits can be equipped with emergency backup batteries. In case of a power outage, the connected fixture can provide 90 minutes of light so workers can safely exit the space.
Related Reading: 2021 Litetronics New LED Products Roundup
Q. Any final thoughts?
Building flexibility into an office’s lighting capabilities is a smart investment at any time.
Technologies like adjustable wattage and color temperature, as well as occupancy and daylight sensing, will allow companies to create their new office environment…with significantly lower energy consumption. Just switching from fluorescent or incandescent lighting to LED can generate a savings of 70%-80%. Add in intelligent sensors and the savings can jump to 85% or even 90%. For companies with large offices, the savings can pay for the retrofit in a ridiculously short time.
Looking back, we’re going to see the pandemic as the catalyst for a lot of change in how we work. And it’s looking highly likely that one of those changes will be the wide-scale adoption of LED lighting in office spaces.
Written in Partnership With: Justin Lane, Manufacturers Sales Representative at Sales Lane