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LED Upgrades, Retrofits & SMART Systems

LED upgrades and retrofits involve replacing traditional HID, incandescent, halogen, or compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) with more energy-efficient LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology.

Here’s a brief overview of each:

  • LED Upgrades: This involves replacing older lighting fixtures or bulbs with new LED versions. The LED bulbs come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are designed to fit most existing fixtures. This is usually a simple process and is often the first step taken when transitioning to more energy-efficient lighting.
  • LED Retrofits: A retrofit is a bit more involved and might require modifying existing lighting fixtures or installing new ones to accommodate LED technology. For instance, retrofitting could involve replacing the internal components of a fluorescent tube light fixture to enable it to use LED tubes. This usually offers greater energy savings and a longer lifespan for the lighting system, although the initial investment may be higher.


Both LED upgrades and retrofits offer significant benefits:

  • Energy Efficiency: LED lights use significantly less energy than traditional lighting methods, which can result in substantial energy cost savings over time.
  • Long Lifespan: LED lights have a much longer lifespan compared to incandescent, halogen, or fluorescent lights. This means fewer replacements and lower maintenance costs.
  • Better Light Quality: LEDs offer better light quality and more control over color temperature, allowing you to customize the ambiance of your space.
  • Environmental Impact: LEDs are more environmentally friendly, as they last longer, reduce energy consumption, and do not contain hazardous materials like mercury, which is found in CFLs.


Whether you’re interested in a full LED retrofit or simply upgrading your current bulbs to LED, these changes can significantly improve your lighting system’s efficiency, longevity, and overall performance.

LED Retrofits in Commercial Property

LED retrofitting in a commercial building involves updating the existing lighting infrastructure from traditional lighting systems (like HID, incandescent, halogen, or CFLs) to LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology. The process often involves not only replacing the bulbs but also modifying or replacing the existing fixtures to accommodate the new LED technology.

Here’s a brief overview of what the retrofitting process may entail:

  1. Audit: A professional lighting audit is often the first step in an LED retrofit project. This involves analyzing the current lighting setup, identifying areas for improvement, and determining the potential cost and energy savings of transitioning to LEDs.
  2. Planning: Once the audit is complete, a lighting plan is designed. This involves selecting the appropriate LED lights and fixtures based on the building’s requirements. Factors such as color temperature, brightness, energy efficiency, and bulb lifespan are considered during this stage.
  3. Installation: The actual retrofitting process involves removing the old lighting fixtures or bulbs and replacing or modifying them to accommodate LED lights.
  4. Disposal: The final step involves properly disposing of the old lights and fixtures. Some types of lights, like fluorescent bulbs, contain harmful substances and need to be disposed of responsibly.

There are several compelling reasons why property managers or building owners might choose to undertake an LED retrofit:

  • Energy Efficiency: LED lights use significantly less energy than traditional lights, leading to substantial energy cost savings. In a large commercial building, these savings can be quite significant over time.
  • Longer Lifespan: LED lights have a much longer lifespan, often tens of thousands of hours, meaning they need to be replaced less frequently. This reduces maintenance costs and the hassle of frequent bulb changes.
  • Better Light Quality: LED lights offer better light quality with more control over color temperature and brightness. This can contribute to a more comfortable and productive work environment, potentially improving employee satisfaction and performance.
  • Sustainability: Upgrading to LED lighting is a simple way to reduce a building’s carbon footprint, making it an attractive option for companies committed to sustainability.
  • Rebates and Incentives: Many utility companies offer rebates or incentives for commercial buildings to upgrade to energy-efficient lighting, which can help offset the initial cost of the retrofit project.


By retrofitting to LED lighting, commercial property owners and managers can improve their building’s energy efficiency, reduce operational costs, and create a better environment for occupants.

LED Retrofit vs. LED Upgrade

The terms “LED retrofit” and “LED upgrade” are often used interchangeably, but there are subtle differences between the two:

  • LED Upgrade: This usually refers to a simple replacement of old, inefficient bulbs with LED bulbs. In many cases, LED bulbs are designed to fit into existing fixtures, so an upgrade can be as straightforward as unscrewing the old bulb and screwing in the new LED bulb. This is the easiest and least expensive way to start benefiting from LED technology, but it may not maximize the potential energy savings and performance improvements that a complete retrofit could offer.
  • LED Retrofit: A retrofit is more comprehensive. While it includes replacing old bulbs with LED bulbs, it often involves modifying or replacing the existing light fixtures to better accommodate the LED technology. This could include changes to the wiring, the light fixture housing, or the type of fixture used. A retrofit is typically a more involved and costly process than a simple upgrade, but it can lead to greater energy savings, improved light quality, and potentially a longer lifespan for the lighting system.


To decide between an upgrade and a retrofit, you’d need to consider several factors, such as the age and type of your existing fixtures, your budget for the project, your energy-saving goals, and the specific lighting needs of the space. In some cases, a simple upgrade may be sufficient, while in others, a full retrofit might be the best choice. IMS can help you make an informed decision based on these factors.

SMART Lighting Systems

A Smart Lighting System is a lighting setup designed to offer improved energy efficiency and controllability compared to traditional lighting systems. Using the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, smart lighting systems connect light fixtures to a network, enabling them to communicate with each other and be remotely controlled.

Key components of a smart lighting system include:

  • Smart Bulbs: These LED bulbs can connect to your WiFi or other smart home systems. They can often be controlled via a mobile app or smart home device, allowing you to adjust brightness, color, and sometimes even the color temperature.
  • Lighting Control Devices: These can include wall switches, dimmers, and motion sensors that are connected to your network. They allow you to manipulate lighting conditions based on various factors such as occupancy, daylight availability, and specific activities.
  • Central Control System: This system (usually a software application) allows you to control all the connected lights from a central interface. You can program lighting scenes, schedules, and energy-saving rules from this system.


Smart lighting systems offer several benefits:

  • Energy Efficiency: Smart lighting systems maximize energy efficiency by allowing lights to be dimmed or turned off when they’re not needed, for example, when rooms are unoccupied.
  • Customizability: These systems allow for a high degree of personalization. You can adjust lighting settings to cater to specific tasks, moods, or times of day.
  • Convenience: Smart lights can be controlled remotely using a smartphone or voice commands through smart home devices. This means you can change your lighting without even having to get up.
  • Integration: Smart lighting can be integrated with other smart home systems, allowing for coordinated automation. For instance, your lights could automatically turn off when your smart thermostat detects you’ve left the house.
  • Safety: By scheduling lights to turn on and off at specific times, you can make it appear as if your home or business is occupied, even when it’s not, helping to deter potential intruders.


In the context of commercial or public buildings, a smart lighting system can contribute to significant energy and cost savings over time, improve the comfort and productivity of occupants, and provide valuable insights into building usage patterns and peak demand times and traffic. And if SMART lighting is implemented in an HOA residential community it can lead to significant improvements in energy efficiency, safety, convenience, and even property value. These systems allow for intelligent control of lighting throughout communal areas like hallways, parking lots, gyms, clubhouses, and outdoor spaces. This allows for lighting schedules that are most conducive to the residents and surrounding areas. SMART lighting enables property managers and owners to control cost, future-proof their assets, control and ensure community safety, and to control energy-efficiency.

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