By Leigh Ann Hubbard
So you want to upgrade your community’s lighting or air quality, but you’re wary of spending the money. You know that some modernizations might improve resident health and give you a marketing boost, but is now the right time to invest?
Well, how about this twist: Communities that upgrade often end up spending less money than if they hadn’t made the investment.
“Typical savings for our clients run in the 15% to 20% range,” says Jack Sterne, a healthy-building expert, and principal at Lumenant (a Foresight partner). He’s seen communities net more money than they spend with each of the company’s core offerings: LED lighting, circadian lighting, needlepoint bipolar ionization (for cleaner air), and energy-saving thermostats.
Whether you save money—and how much—depends in part on your utility’s electricity rates and the equipment you’re replacing. Here’s how it all works.
1. Electricity Savings
A healthy-building upgrade can save you buckets in electricity costs. For example:
- LED or circadian lighting: Replacing a 60-watt traditional incandescent bulb with an LED bulb saves up to 80% in electricity.
- Smart thermostats: An infrared thermostat senses when no one is in the room. It turns off the heat or air conditioning, then turns it back on when a person returns. Residents stay comfortable, and energy usage goes down.
- Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization: This air-cleaning technology allows operators to reduce fresh-air requirements in HVAC systems as much as 70%, which can lead to savings of $0.25 per square foot or more.
Depending on your electricity rate, these savings can translate to a significant amount of money—usually more than enough to offset the cost of the upgrade.
2. Maintenance Savings
When you have better, newer equipment, less maintenance is required. An aging light system, for example, needs quite a bit of upkeep. “We’ve all seen flickering fluorescent fixtures and how horrible those are,” Jack says. “Fluorescent lights degrade over time. You’re going to replace those bulbs much more frequently than with an integrated LED fixture with a 10-year life.”
Lumenant actually covers all maintenance for its products with a set monthly fee. So clients never have a huge, unexpected repair bill. The company’s repair crews are specially trained to work in senior living communities, and they had their first COVID vaccination shot in January.
3. Upfront-Cost Savings
Lumenant operates under a service model, meaning that it owns the equipment and charges a monthly fee for it. “It’s just like having a subscription for Office 365,” Jack says.
This allows costs for things like design and installation to be spread out over a period of time. LED lighting, circadian lighting, smart thermostats, and needlepoint bipolar ionization are usually offered with a 10-year agreement.
4. Government Rebates
Many states offer rebates for lighting upgrades. Lumenant has its own in-house finance team. They’ll find and apply for those rebates for you. They’ll then either revert the money to you or put it toward the overall payment, reducing your monthly fee.
The First Step
You don’t have to guess whether your community could save money while getting healthy-building upgrades. The Lumenant team will figure it out for you. Click here to request a free audit. They’ll look at your equipment and electricity bills and calculate how much your upgrades would cost—or how much you’ll save.
This is Part 3 of our healthy-building series. Read Parts 1 and 2 below.