By Leigh Ann Hubbard
A hurricane blows through. A tornado strikes nearby. An ice storm settles in. Whatever the disaster, there is this near-certainty: Your community’s power will go out. And you won’t have long before things get bad.
When most people think about losing power, they only have their family to consider. You have an entire community of people who may need electricity to survive. Candles won’t cut it. In fact, you may have to transfer residents — a logistical and financial nightmare. But what other option is there?
Well, what if you could stay put — for up to five days — with all the essentials still running? Your residents could remain comfortable and safe, grateful that you were prepared.
A healthy building is one that keeps going even when the power goes out. In this installment of our healthy-buildings series, we’re partnering with the energy experts at Lumenant (a Foresight partner) to explore three technological advances that help you prep like a pro: modern generators, solar-plus-storage, and solar parking lot lights.
All of these ease anxieties and make your community safer long-term. And there’s an option for every budget.
The classic backup-power pick is a generator. Yet, most communities don’t have one, says Ben Pait, vice president of client and project development at Lumenant. Or if they do, they have an old model that hasn’t had regular servicing. (What a nightmare to rely on a generator that ends up failing you!)
The biggest barrier to investing in a new generator is the upfront cost. “If you’re an owner of 10 buildings and you have to go out and buy 10 generators, it’s going to work against your budget,” Ben says. So Lumenant has created a solution. Instead of selling generators, the company offers them under a service model. You pay a set monthly fee — no big upfront cost — and you get not only the generator but routine testing and maintenance.
And you don’t even have to worry about turning it on! Modern generators like the ones Ben and his team provide have this helpful feature: They switch on automatically when needed.
How many things a generator will power — and for how long — depends on its size and fuel source. You can get a system for the entire building if you want, but most communities opt for a “shelter-in-place” setup, Ben says, keeping the central air, kitchen, and main lights functional. Secure doors for memory care will also continue to work.
Depending on your setup, power can stay on for up to five days.
Solar-plus-storage is basically solar panels with a big battery. Also offered under a service model, this system has multiple benefits:
- You save money on electricity every day (because you’re making some of it on your own).
- The battery provides up to a couple of days’ worth of backup power.
- You’re going green — good for the environment, staff pride, resident satisfaction, and marketing positioning.
The bigger the area you have for the solar panels, the more electricity you’ll be able to generate. Placement options include the roof, covered parking, and empty land.
And here’s another way solar-plus-storage can save you money: Have the battery discharge in the early evening, helping power your building when electricity is most expensive. Then have it recharge itself in the middle of the night, pulling from the grid at the cheapest time. (Ben and his team can set all this up for you so it happens automatically.)
Solar Parking Lot Lights
Keeping residents safe during a power outage also means keeping the exterior illuminated, to light the way for first responders and helpers, like people bringing food and water.
Solar-powered parking lot lights keep your outdoors well lit—and are completely off the electrical grid, saving you funds on electricity all year long. And yes, they’re offered under the service model too: no big upfront cost and no maintenance concerns.
Your Best Setup
LED lighting solutions from Lumenant can save you tons of energy and money. Whether you’re preparing for a blackout and conserving energy use with a generator, or just want to lower your electric bill – Lumenant has a solution. Click the link below to see how much energy and money you can save.