FAQ

 
Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is a LED upgrade the "low hanging fruit" of a phased energy efficiency program?

A: First, it’s smart economics. If we imagine ‘a tree’ of possible energy efficiency measures, on the lower branches there will be some measures that can be done quickly and have fast paybacks. Higher up the tree things are more complex, take longer to initiate and are more costly – so budgets need to be secured in advance. The critical point is that money not saved is money wasted forever. And money saved can be put to accumulating a budget for the next measures up the tree. The danger about thinking it’s good to do the whole tree at the same time is that decisions will inevitably be delayed. Meanwhile the money that could be saved by doing the most economical measures is wasted.

 

Q: I LIVE IN A STRATA. DO WE HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL AN AGM TO UPGRADE?

A: Because of our Pay-As-You-Save model, a contract with Greenlight Canada has no net cost to the operational budget of your building, and instead makes a positive contribution to it. Delaying for months until an Annual General Meeting before beginning the savings on the strata's BC Hydro bill could be interpreted as a significant loss of unrealized savings, which a Strata council would want to prevent. If a council however does want the endorsement of the full strata, the LED retrofit project could be brought up at a Special General Meeting, either one called for this specific purpose or as an agenda item added to an SGM called for other reasons

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Q: HOW DOES SAVING ELECTRICITY LOWER CARBON EMISSIONS IF VANCOUVER USES HYDRO POWER?

A: Even though BC produces electricity from hydro dams, the grid is much more complex. BC trades electricity back and forth with the rest of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council, which includes Alberta and all or parts of 14 US states. The power we use is not all clean! The carbon impact of electricity has been calculated to be  0.443 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per MWh. Click here to read more.

 

Q: WHY SHOULD I PAY GREENLIGHT A MONTHLY FEE INSTEAD OF UPGRADING TO LED LIGHTING MYSELF?

A: Greenlight is here to make it easy and affordable. With Greenlight, (under our Pay-As-You-Save financing plan) there is no capital expense, no effort spent sourcing all the right bulbs, and no time spent organizing and managing the installation. Greenlight's business model has been developed to eliminate all possible barriers that prevent building owners making quick decisions to act now and stop the losses. Simply say "yes" to Greenlight, and start saving money. 

 

Q: Why should I consider a specialist LED retrofit company like Greenlight versus a general electrical contractor?

A: General electrical contractors are constrained to the choice (and cost) of technologies stocked by local wholesalers. In contrast, Greenlight works hard to select the best and most affordable technology for every fixture on each project. For the high quantity LEDs needed for our projects we deal directly with the manufacturers. We specialize in technologies that minimize installation costs and e-waste.

The result is that we do excellent work that can be much more affordable. You can find out just how much more affordable via a free no-obligation survey of your building. Through this detailed survey we can tell you exactly how much the electricity cost savings can be from the retrofit project. We also provide an estimate of the additional savings in maintenance costs going forward. You get all the information you need to make a very well informed choice.

 

Q: HOW DO I KNOW THE ENERGY SAVINGS WILL MATCH THE PROJECTION?

A: Part of our process is to count every bulb in a building, and measure the actual electricity drawn by each type of bulb used. We compare this to the actual electricity drawn by each LED replacement. Our energy projections are not estimates – they are accurate calculations based on real-world conditions. For maintenance savings, we create estimates based on reasonable and conservative assumptions of replacement frequency, and parts and labour costs

 

Q: Why does the standard Greenlight model avoid re-wiring fixtures wherever possible?

A: We do not advocate LEDS no matter what. Instead, to us LED retrofits are about smart economics. We think affordability is crucial. Under local city laws (i.e. the City of Vancouver), if a project involves any changes to the wiring of more than 10% of a building's light fixtures, a project permit is required. If the project includes a parkade, the permit will include mandatory installation of timers or motion sensors. Any work involving wiring must be done by ticketed electricians, so incurs high labour costs. All of these costs are significant and can seriously impact the economics of doing an LED retrofit project – and provide only diminishing efficiency returns. Our business model tries to avoid these costs to the maximum extent possible by using LED technologies than can work with existing ballasts. The technologies we use also avoid the considerable e-waste created by replacing existing, functional fixtures.

All this said, if a client prefers to remove ballasts and/or replace fixtures, we are happy to oblige.

 

Q: Should I use the existing ballasts or bypass them?

A: This is an important question. While it is a simple question, the answer is not. See our detailed write up on why this consideration will change depending on your project.

 

Q: Should I consider adding ON-OFF or dimming controls to my lights to save even more money?

A: This is good question. The answer can depend on economics, functions/aesthetics and application. We’ve dedicated an entire page to why you may or may not want to use lighting controls.

 

Q: AGAIN, WHY is LED LIGHTING SO GREAT?

A: The benefits of LEDs are reduced operational costs from energy efficiency improvements, reduced maintenance costs because of the bulb lifespan, and improved quality of light. LEDs use less than half the energy of fluorescent bulbs, last 3x as long, and for most fixture types there will no longer be a need to replace ballasts in the future.