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FAQ: Commercial Lighting Retrofits

Lighting technology has come a very long way just in the past decade and it goes to show the importance of retrofits and renovations. Lower energy bills, better looking properties, and rebates are just a few of the benefits that come from retrofitting your center’s lighting!


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What is a lighting retrofit?

A simple definition of a retrofit, or a relighting, is the renovation of your old lighting fixtures and/or bulbs that improves the lighting output and temperature of light all while emitting less heat and saving energy.

Aren’t retrofits expensive?

Upfront costs for a lighting retrofit can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands. No matter how large your property is, retrofits are going to reduce your power usage and therefore, save you money.

As the government strives to be greener and to meet our ever-growing expectations of being better for the environment, there are many incentives to get you to retrofit. Most cities and states have utility rebates. A rebate is a payback on your retrofit. You’re essentially getting paid back a certain percentage of what you paid for your retrofit… because you’re “taking a step in the right direction.”

Advantages vs. Disadvantages       

The advantages greatly outweigh the disadvantages, but let’s take a closer look at both…


  • Lower Energy Bill, Energy Savings up to 70%
  • Lowers Operating and Maintenance Costs
  • Increases Lighting Quality
  • Less Heat Emitted with LEDs
  • Less “light pollution” with LEDs
  • ROI on average is 2 Years
  • Improved light improves security
  • Rebate Incentives


  • Initial upfront Costs

Why should I consider an energy-efficient lighting upgrade/retrofit?

If you’ve had your parking lot lighting anywhere between 5-10 years, it’s about time to upgrade your lights!

Do I have to replace the entire lamp and ballast outfit?

No, when retrofitting you don’t have to get new poles, nor do you have to buy new lamps (or fixtures). There are certain kits you can buy that will fit in your existing structure.

If you’re feeling like an upgrade on your lamp and ballast, I say, “Why not!”

WLS has a wide variety of top performing lighting products in the latest HID and LED technology designed to maximize efficiency.

How do I find out about tax incentives, grants, and rebates available?

Rebates and incentives are a great way to offset the cost of your retrofit.  A great online resource tool can be found at www.dsireusa.org!  This website allows you to filter rebates by state.



Ok, so you’ve decided to get a retrofit on your property…

How do I evaluate the differences in competing proposals?

The bottom line is that you will want to determine which proposal offers your project the most value and convenience.  Do both proposals offer the same services such as full site audits, photometric analysis, energy audit, and rebate research? Some companies will not offer all of this to you and will have to outsource certain services.  Here at WLS, we offer a “one stop shop” for all your site lighting needs. So when you contact us about a retrofit, we promise you’re getting the best there is to offer while each of our proposals are complimentary to each customer.

What do I need to start my retrofit process?

Whether you know exactly what you want for your property or you’re not quite sure yet, we can help.  WLS works closely with you to determine your exact needs and goals prior to commencing any project. Once we determine your objectives, we will ask for a CAD file of the existing property so we can evaluate current pole locations and fixtures. If no CAD is available on older properties WLS will use Google Earth and other mapping technology to determine the existing layout.

We will then conduct a thorough site survey to determine existing pole heights, fixture types, and lamp wattages. At that point, we will do a complete photometric analysis that will meet both customer and local municipality lighting criteria in both an HID and LED option complete with budget numbers for each.

What is Turnkey?

When a company says they offer turnkey, this means they offer the complete package. You want to look out for this! WLS offers a complete turnkey solution for our clients. This solution includes lighting design and photometric analysis, material procurement, and installation of those materials using our US network of trusted electrical contractors.


Do you have a question to add? Comment below! 

If you’re interested in learning more about commercial lighting retrofits, you can contact one of our lighting professionals today. Call us at 1-800-633-8711 or email us at  wls@wlslighting.com

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