What is Retrofit Lighting? Terminology Defined

With all of the different terms in the lighting industry, it can be hard to keep on top of them, especially if you don’t work directly in the lighting field (such as building owners and managers).

The term retrofit lights, retrofit kits, and the related are highly important to anyone who is trying to upgrade their lighting system at their facility. As you will find out, you will be able to make a decision that will be a lot easier when you understand what retrofit lighting is entirely.


What is Retrofit Lighting Exactly?

In short, it is the process of upgrading your existing lighting fixtures with a new light source (typically of higher quality and efficiently) while maintaining the integrity of the fixture itself.

In a little bit shorter terms, it’s like switching out a light bulb without replacing the entire fixture.


When Should I Retrofit My Lighting System?

Qualifying whether you should retrofit your lighting system or not really all depends on your facilities situation. If your entire fixture is in bad condition, outdated, or simply not the style you want anymore, then just lighting retrofitting upgrades of your fixtures isn’t the best option.

But if your fixtures are in good condition and aren’t an issue, a retrofit kit will suffice.

Read more on retrofitting vs replacing here.


What Technology Should I Retrofit to?

Undeniably the best technology for any business is a LED retrofit. Why is this? For many reasons:

  • Decrease in lighting energy usage by up to 75%
  • Increase in quality of light
  • No more buzzing or flickering lights – LED technology will NEVER do these things
  • Rebates (read more below)
  • Longer lifespan by 2-3 times


What is LED Retrofit and it’s Benefits?

LED Retrofitting is one of the biggest lighting upgrades building are doing these days. Companies want to get rid of technology like metal halide, HPS, and florescent in their facility for all of the benefits LED products bring (listed above). The benefits of LED over these other technologies is undeniably better in virtually every single aspect of quality lighting and it’s a no-brainer on why people are choosing LED as their go to lighting technology.


How Can I Offset my Retrofit Kit Upgrade Costs?

As talked about about (why LED is the best to go with), making an upgrade to LED with retrofit kits can bring along many rebate opportunities through your local utility company.

The only thing you need to insure you do is to buy LED lighting products that are DesignLights Consortium qualified. This is an organization that tests lights and either deems them of being quality and efficient or not. If your industrial lights you are inquiring about are not on the DLC or EnergyStar, you should avoid these at all costs.

By getting lights that qualify for rebates, you will be able to realize a lower investment cost, which can allow for a quicker ROI.


Some Main Reasons Businesses Consider a Lighting Upgrade

There are many reasons businesses might want to upgrade their lighting system, and all are extremely valid ones. As a business, you strive to not only cut costs but also maintain a good image. Here are some main reasons why businesses are retrofitting their old lighting system with LED technology:

  • Cuts energy costs related to their lighting by 50% all the way up to 75%. This one explains itself, by cutting costs you are increasing the bottom line, and what business isn’t trying to do this?
  • Increase curb appeal. This is especially important for those buildings / stores that are on main roads or depend on their buildings image to retain customers. Don’t let your image lack just because of bad lighting!
  • Decrease stress. Lighting that buzzes or flickers all day can prove to become irritable to those who are around it for an extended period of time. This is no good for any work environment like offices, healthcare facilities, or even stores. Stress decreases productivity, and bad lighting may be indirectly costing you money in less-than-optimal work being preformed.
  • Decrease maintenance costs. We’ve discussed how LED has a longer lifespan by 2 to 3 and sometimes 4 times longer than competing technologies. A common overlooked benefit of this is the decrease maintenance cost that comes along with longer life-spanned lights. You don’t have to pay someone to switch out and maintain lights nearly as often; which allows you to cut down lighting maintenance costs.




We’ve gone over what exactly a lighting retrofit is, more specifically for commercial applications. We hope it helps you when it comes time to the decision of retrofitting vs replacing your lighting system.

Have any questions or comments on the topic? Share them in the comments below and join the conversation!


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