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LED Panels and Troffers that Save Time AND Money

Do you remember the early days of LED? Back when the average CCT (Correlated Color Temperature) was +/- 1000o?   When you had to choose between Cool White or Warm White!

Or, if you are a distributor, you had to stock multiple manufacturers, and items from each manufacturer, to ensure you had all of the CCT’s that a supplier offered?

What this essentially meant was that there were different definitions of white? Not just the typical three of 3000OK, 4000OK and 5000OK but multiple versions that approximated each of these!

In all seriousness, when LED’s were new, we as an industry (albeit much smaller) wrestled with the wild swings in CCT AND at the time having to choose between 120v or 277v.

Providing customer with all of these choices and it was a wonder we could convince anyone to stock, specify, or sell the product let alone get a customer to buy the correct LED for their application and ensure they were satisfied. It became a running joke of “what is the color of light … yellow, white or shades of white?”

Solving the CCT Lamp Challenge

Coming from the electrical distribution channel, we started to look for ways to make our products more customer friendly and reduce the number of sku’s a distributor needed to stock.

Early on, START Lighting worked on the wide band solution, allowing either 120v or 277v incoming voltage with a single lamp. We got that to work, and were off to the races.  Now distributors, contractors, and end-users can focus on stocking / ordering from three different lamps instead of six (three color temperatures for 120v and three for 277v) since our lamps could handle 120v AND 277v.

Vari-Just, CCT and Wattage Adjustment for Flat Panels

START Lighting Vari-Just Flat PanelWe introduced our first LED Flat Panel four years ago, and approached it the same way.  Our goal was one wattage option and three separate CCT’s (3000OK, 4000OK, 5000OK).

To be expected as the demand grew, so did the variation on wattage for rebates. We’d have an electric utility on the East Coast that would want a 30w 2×2 panel, and another on the West Coast that would want that same panel in 25w!

Once we saw the fluctuations in wattage requirements, and of course CCT, our engineering group looked at the multiple sku’s and colors we were producing and also considered the number of skus that a distributor had to stock to serve their customers.

We determined the best way to handle the various wattages and CCT’s was to flip the switch to save money (inventory investment for distributors, time for contractors and a product comparable priced to single function products that are in the market.)

This was what sparked the idea for our Vari-JustTM platform, which we launched earlier this year.

Literally flip two switches on the fixture, and you have what you need! A fixture that can be adapted to address six variations.

One switch controls wattage.  One controls color temperature.

The switches are located on the driver 800housing and are preset prior to installation (either at the factory or adjusted by the contractor on-site before install).

For both contractors and distributors, the commonality of the function on the panels and the troffers is a pre-fab time saver. Simply set the switches accordingly and connect them to the system.

As 3000OK and 3500OK are close together on the temperature spectrum, we have always manufactured in 3000OK, 4000OK, 5000OK, with the tuning capabilities. At customer requests, we’ve now added a 3500OK option.

START Lighting Vari-Just LED TrofferThe versatility of the adjustments makes these panels and troffers great in offices, schools, government facilities, and healthcare applications.

For distributors this makes product selection easier and can reduce inventory skus, hence reducing inventory investment.

For contractors this means always having the right panels and troffers on the job site.  A simple flick of the switch ensures you have what you need, when you need it making jobs easier and faster to install … saving you time and money.

And since quality and creativity is our standard.  There is no additional cost for this advanced functionality.

linear T8 lamps

Relamping Warehouse Saves Money, Improves Lighting

If you’ve followed our blog, LinkedIn, or our  Press Releases, you know that we just moved into our new facility! As part of our agreement with the Building Owners, we provided and installed our products in the non-warehouse areas. I designed the lighting system to incorporate not only fixtures, but also controls. My goal was to take full advantage of  the floor to ceiling windows and our 300+ days of sunshine.

The end result is tremendous, incorporating the controls to maximize daylight harvesting, and the uber efficient LED system provides a peaceful and productive environment.  As I mentioned earlier, this didn’t include the warehouse. I was more focused with maximizing space in the warehouse and put the lighting design on the back burner.

I had an OEM partner in for a meeting this week, and as I gave him the tour I zeroed in on the lighting in the warehouse. When transitioning from theSTART Lighting Warehouse Pre Lighting office to the warehouse, its like a time warp, an orange glow from before the time of identifying lighting color with the Kelvin scale. The warehouse lighting is laid out in row after row of 2 lamp 4′ strips end to end, fortunately these had been updated to the newest technology in the 1990’s…T-8’s! I decided we needed to address the warehouse lighting immediately.

We decided to evaluate one area of the warehouse that START Lighting - After Relampinghas 24 of the 2 lamp 4′ fixtures. We took foot candle readings in 4 areas, the average f/c was 15.5. The fixtures were using 32 watt lamps and instant start ballasts consuming 68 watts per fixture, totaling 48 lamps and 1,632 watts for the are

Relamping / Delamping Saves Watts, Costs and Improves Lighting Quality

We decided to delamp and install our 20 watt LED Linear’s. We eliminated 30 lamps and dropped to 360 watts for the area. More importantly we raised the f/c level to an average of 18.3.

End result:

  • 62.5% less lamps
  • 78% less watts
  • 16% increase in f/c.

Not bad for a test, and it saved us the cost of removal and install of new fixtures.

START Lighting Custom Solutions

Customize Your Lighting Project to its Completion

Not all lighting solutions are created equal. And they needn’t be, because not all lighting projects can support standard fixtures. You can only shim and squeeze so much before you must resign yourself to a certain design (all because it is the only one that fits). It becomes all too clear that customizing the solution in the beginning would have been much easier on the budget and project timeline.

But the need to customize lighting solutions can come at any time in a project. This means that a completely new lighting design or a retrofit project might arise, planned and unplanned. Either way, the ability to create a specialized solution can help achieve exactly the form and function you are needing.

Save Time and Money

Creating custom solutions means that mounting assembly headaches, wattage and color adjustments and lengthy time to market are hurdles of the past. START Lighting can build a lighting solution to fit your needs – to help you reduce your installation time as well as your labor costs. This is highly desirable over waiting until the project is complete, to only then discover that the lighting brightness is all wrong for the desired conditions. It is equivalent to doing the project twice (which means twice the budget).

One-Size-Fits all No More

Standard fixtures offer but a limited range of lighting options. START Lighting can offer Intelligent Control Solutions that allow you to adjust light levels and modify conditions to your specifications. Custom LED lamp modifications are also available in terms of Correlated Color Temperature (CCT), wattage, lighting color, drivers, lumen output, input wattage, lighting spectrum, Ingress Protection Rating (IP Rating) and Color Rendering Index (CRI).

Customization can include: a need for more natural light, hue, or vividness, which can be solved through CRI adjustment; or an input wattage modification due to a retrofit; or safety adjustments to enclosures to certify specific environmental protection levels.

Other custom LED lighting fixture considerations are indoor and outdoor lighting designs. Each of these have different operational requirements and protection standards. Harsh outside conditions can wreak havoc on housings, enclosures and mounts. START Lighting offers adjustments to their fixtures—making them highly shock and water-resistant.


Another common area for customization concerns mounting. From the desire to match previously or currently mounted housings and fixtures, to limited functional space, specialized mounting assemblies help ensure uniformity and secure installation.

When Adequate Doesn’t Cut it

Don’t settle for the lighting solution that just “fits” your needs. Instead, customize the design so form, fit and function are fully utilized and fully operational. The experts at START Lighting have the experience to assist with your flexible lighting needs. We can recommend, design and make a variety of fixture adjustments to meet your customization desires.

Ready to customize your designs in a construction or retrofit project? Visit the START Lighting Custom Services page and fill out the request form to get started.


LEDs vs CFLs: Making the Right Lighting Decision for Your Business

As a commercial property owner, how often do you think about the lighting products you use? Probably not a lot. But the truth is that the type of lighting used throughout your property is more than just a novelty and it can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

In 2014, commercial properties in the United States used 19% of their total energy consumption on lighting alone, equaling roughly 26 billion dollars in electricity costs. With that much at stake it’s amazing more companies don’t take lighting more seriously, but a few are on the right track.

Innovative organizations around the world are finding real value in replacing outdated lighting products with newer, more energy efficient solutions. They are not only improving the light quality within their properties, but also cutting their lighting costs in half and saving millions of dollars in electricity costs every year.

Your company can do the same, and it all starts by knowing your options. Two movements have spawned out of the mass decline of incandescent bulbs: Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL) and Light Emitting Diodes (LED). Both provide significant savings over incandescent bulbs, but only one gives you the most bang for your buck: and that is LED.

Why CFLs Don’t Make the Cut

CFLs were the go-to commercial lighting option for many years. They were originally much cheaper than LEDs, and were 70% more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. However, that efficiency comes at a cost.

In order to operate effectively, CFLs require mercury, a hazardous heavy metal that can cause harm to both people and the environment. There are specific waste management protocols that have to be followed before the disposing of a CFL lamp. This adds additional cleanup costs for you when the lamp goes out, and can be a liability should they break in the workplace.

You might think that with the risks involved, CFLs would be made incredibly durable. But most CFL lamps have a very limited temperature range that they can operate within safely. Temperatures either too high or too low can make them fail, or even explode. Additionally, CFLs are not coated for use in food and technology applications. And they also produce heat when active, which can lead to fire hazards in confined spaces. CFLs might have been cheaper than LEDs a few years ago, but they have on average only one-fifth of the lifespan of most LED products. That means buying more product replacements and paying installation costs every time one goes out.

How LEDs are Rising Above

LED technology is improving at an incredible rate with new advances coming rapidly. These innovations have led to numerous benefits over CFLs including:

  • No mercury or heavy metal usage
  • Average of 200% increased energy efficiency
  • Up to 5 times longer lifespans
  • Adaptability with existing fixtures and applications
  • Improved durability and temperature resistance
  • No heat emission or fire risk in enclosed spaces

These benefits, and many more not included above, are the driving force behind the widespread adoption of LED lighting. And with the explosion of LED manufacturing, CFLs are no longer the only affordable option for efficient lighting. Many of the most common lamps and fixtures used by commercial properties can be found in LED format either at the same or better pricing compared to CFL equivalents.

Making the Switch

No matter how you look at it, LEDs are the right choice for your commercial lighting needs: their comparative price-point, immediate energy savings, long lifespans, and an ability to sense and adjust for daylight harvesting and dimming. LEDs operate at substantially more efficient rates and don’t produce the same heat output of incandescent and CFL lamps. These benefits alone allow your properties to save money overall by not utilizing the HVAC system—letting you knock lighting off your to-do list and save a substantial amount on electricity expenses year after year. So do yourself a favor and start thinking about making the switch today. It could end up saving your bottom line.