From Floor Plan to Lights On - LEDs in New Construction

Some of the most interesting projects we’ve been involved with lately are new construction. There are plenty of already operating light bulbs that need to change to LEDs (about 4 billion in the US), but in new construction we're finding a strong appetite for getting LEDs for day 1. The thinking that "LEDs are the future, so why wait" seems to resonate particularly well in the construction phase. With LED products evolving, building efficiency codes tightening, and no mental hurdle created by having to change something already in place, owners and general contractors are raring to go with LED lighting.

Here’s how we help solve the LED lighting challenge, before, during, and after construction. 

DESIGN

The owner of the facility picks an architect and together they get to dreaming. How do they want the space to look and feel? How best to come off as the perfect social space, workplace, or retail environment? At this point, Wavelength is purely a consultant, letting the architect and proprietor know what’s possible with LEDs. Maybe you don’t need to as many lights as you would with conventional lighting. Perhaps you can avoid unattractive, efficiency-driven light types like tube fluorescents now that lighting technology can protect aesthetics while still delivering a super-efficient lighting program. The result of this process is a floor plan, ready to bid out to contractors.

RPF Floor image.png

PROCUREMENT

The floor plan allows you to build a fixture list, and readies the project for the procurement of, among many other things, light bulbs. With conventional lighting, this step would be easy because 1) there is little differentiation between brands of halogen or fluorescent lighting and 2) they burn out so quickly anyway that an initial procurement decision has no long-term impact. LED manufacturers, conversely, number in the hundreds and their products have wildly different capabilities - light quality, reliability, dimmability, and so on. It’s this behind-the-scenes step that makes Wavelength a critical partner in new construction. The right balance of light throughout a space can make it a wonderful place to spend time, while bad lighting can make even the finest contracting work look cheap.

We are expert at choosing nice lights, having implemented LEDs in a wider array of environments than anyone we know.

Wavelength also gives clients the right to make changes once construction is complete if something doesn’t look right - an allowance typical lighting distributors and partners would never offer.

INSTALLATION

Construction is key, but at this point the course for the lighting’s been set and our crews work with the on-site general contractor to make sure each type of light goes it’s proper application. It’s an educational step, too, as LED-compatible dimmers need proper installation, and LED electronics diverge here and there from what the contractors have previously handled (especially as it concerns externally ballasted LEDs).

Our apologies for the lack of focus in this particular image. There's a lot going on during this phase of a project, so think of it as an action shot.

Our apologies for the lack of focus in this particular image. There's a lot going on during this phase of a project, so think of it as an action shot.

COMPLETION AND MAINTENANCE

The result is a beautiful project, ready for opening day. But as all the other organizations that made the achievement possible - the architect, the contractors, electricians, floor guys, painters - put the project in their portfolio and move on, Wavelength sticks around. Badly managed lighting (which, unfortunately, describes most commercial lighting) lets the original design vision decay as time goes and the lighting ages. Our work means the light stays fresh and clean well into the future. Not only do our new construction clients avoid spending precious project capital on expensive light bulbs, but they won’t buy a single bulb for 3-5 years (our typical service term).

CONCLUSION!

An empty space offers the user a clean slate, and is a great opportunity to think about lighting in new ways only recently made possibly by the evolution of LED light bulb technology. We’re excited to be a part of it.

How will your space look?