Graybar Canada Blog

Shedding Light on Lighting Myths

September 11, 2019

3 Things Business Owners Should Know about Lighting

A lighting retrofit can be a tedious and costly process. Oftentimes, consumers become overwhelmed by the smoke and mirrors around rebates and incentive programs. That’s where choosing a distributor with dedicated lighting specialists can help. Graybar Canada’s lighting group is trained to guide you through the unknowns and offer a long-term solution for your business.


Let’s talk lighting. These are the three terms you need to know when discussing lighting:

Lumens: Light output at the source.

Foot-candles: Light at the surface of an object.

Kelvins: Colour temperature of the light. Varies from warmer to cooler tones.

Long before LED lighting became all the rage, lamps needed reflectors to direct the light. “Large reflectors aren’t extremely efficient at directing light. Some light gets trapped and turns to heat or goes where it isn’t needed,” explains Graybar Canada Lighting Specialist Mark Vaughan.

Graybar Canada Atlantic Lighting Manager Sean Dixon says, “The beauty of LED is that you can put the light exactly where you need it.”


In some cases, the cost of labour for installation and staging are not considered when planning a lighting retrofit. Lower-end fixtures may cost less upfront but can be more expensive in the long-term. It’s important to recognize the function of the lighting – think about what employees will be doing in the space. Safety needs to be a priority when considering your lighting options. Some areas require hazardous or water-resistant fixtures while others may need protection from chemicals.

“Customers need to understand the importance of the cost of maintenance. Do it right the first time.”
– Mark Vaughan, Lighting Specialist at Graybar Canada.

Not only can lighting specialists help calculate your energy savings, but they can predict your estimated maintenance savings too. “The safety standards have changed in many industries – you can’t just go up on a ladder and change the lightbulb. You have to have multiple points of contact, safety harnesses, or you need to do staging,” Dixon says. Specialists can help determine the hidden costs you should account for when budgeting for installation and maintenance.


Lighting technology has advanced rapidly in recent years. The number of lighting manufacturers has increased greatly – but not every vendor is created equal. “One of the most important things to know is that every fixture is not built the same,” Dixon explains.

A complete lighting retrofit isn’t as simple as replacing the old bulbs with new ones. Dixon stresses that “customers should consult a lighting specialist about whether it makes sense to either replace the lamp or entire fixture with an LED upgrade.”

With LED technology, you can strategically plan your layout in a way that maximizes energy savings and creates the optimal light levels for the space. Vaughan explains that “in some cases, the lighting may be overkill. When replacing fixture for fixture, the replacements may put out too much light and you’re missing out on energy savings that could’ve been achieved by simply lowering the number of fixtures.” In some cases, the standards have dropped. For instance, the standard lighting levels in the 1980s in an office setting were much higher than today. Consulting a lighting specialist will help you find the optimal light levels for the environment.

If you’re looking to optimize the lighting in your business and save money on energy and maintenance, contact Graybar Canada’s lighting team today!


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