Design Considerations
Last Update: November 3, 2011
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A high quality, sustainable design must be implemented to be successful. There are reasons that the design may not be implemented as the designer intended including but not limited to changes in scope between the design phase and the implementation phase, changes in the cost of financing, or the discontinuation of specified products. Other changes or substitutions may benefit a manufacturer, sales representative, distributor or contractor and these benefits may or may not be passed on to the Owner. It is critical at this phase that the design integrity is held with or without substitutions, changing of criteria or cost. Another round of cost benefit analysis may be required during the implementation phase. It is at this phase that a specifier establishes his/her reputation, by defending the design requirements – balancing the design intent, cost, performance and business constraints. It is not easy to design good lighting beyond code.

Commissioning of the lighting and control system is critical to achieve the proper operation and the economic benefits of the lighting design.  Some programs, such as LEED, require commissioning as a requirement to achieve the LEED status.  Energy codes may soon begin to require proof of commissioning before a certificate of occupancy is given.
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Economic Analysis of Systems
Some advanced lighting systems increase construction costs. Designers need to know when these additional costs can be justified through future energy savings or other benefits.
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Economic Limitations
Energy efficiency advocates have long thought that if only they could prove the economic rationality of efficiency improvements, then surely reasonable decision-makers would choose the more efficient strategies. This has repeatedly proved a much more difficult sell than originally thought. Lighting systems in commercial buildings have been greatly undervalued and often are of much poorer quality than could be easily justified economically.
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Economic Decision-Making
Most companies spend very little time assessing the economic value of lighting alternatives. The easiest path is to do "the same thing we did last time." Some companies may do a quick payback check, which may be no more than a "back of the envelope" calculation. However, without more careful financial assessment, many of the advantages of advanced lighting systems will be ignored or undervalued.
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Procurement Options
The majority of construction projects utilize either the traditional Design/Bid/Build or Design/Build delivery methods. In the traditional design/bid/build delivery method, the Owner separately hires the Design Team and the Construction Team.
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Retrofit Assessment & Audits
Retrofit projects typically involve a different type of analysis than new construction projects because they compare existing conditions and costs with proposed retrofit design options. This analysis usually includes a lighting audit, an assessment of what is already in place and what the current ownership costs are.  A critical step at this phase is to determine whether the retrofit is large enough to require a permit and would require the building to be brought up to code. 
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