CEA Case Study – Dental Office Lighting Upgrade


  • Dental office in a suburban setting
  • Size – approximately 4,000 sf
  • Age – Building approximately 10 years old.
  • Existing Lighting
    • 35, 2×4 fluorescent fixtures, 3 tubes per fixture
    • 36, 6” can lights with 65w incandescent bulbs
  • Estimated annual spend for lights – $2,800 ($2,200 electricity cost / $600 bulb replacement and maintenance)


The facility is a modern office setting with plenty of windows and natural light. While the office lighting is currently adequate, they are highly inefficient in terms of energy usage.  Existing bulbs are various ages and shades (white to yellow). Thus, the appearance of the fixtures is inconsistent.

Solutions Presented and Considered

The business considered two solutions: 1) a full fixture upgrade – replacing all of the current light fixtures with new LED fixtures; and 2) light bulb upgrade – leaving all fixtures in place, and replacing the fluorescent tubes and bulbs with highly efficient LED light bulbs.

There are pros and cons to the different options. The primary difference is cost. Before rebates, the cost for the full fixture upgrade was $7,700. The cost for bulb-only was $2800. Both solutions had approximately the same impact in terms of reduced kilowatts, 69% reduction for the fixtures and 66% reduction for the bulbs.

Ultimately, the business chose a combination of fixture upgrade and bulb-only upgrade. The fluorescent fixture replacements were the largest cost driver, so the decision was made to only upgrade a few of the fixtures. Fixtures cost approximately $70 more than the alternative of replacing the bulbs only. The solution the business chose included bulb replacement for all the fluorescents, except for the business office. For the business office area, the new fixtures also upgraded the professional appearance of the lighting and the room. The business also liked the appearance of the full can light replacements, which cost about $30 more per light than simply swapping out the light bulbs.

The best solution proved to be a combination of fixture and bulb-only upgrades, which led to a combination of savings and value.

Solution and Economic Impact

The total light investment was $4,600 ($3,500 after utility company rebate). This included all light fixtures and lights and the installation. With FirstEnergy’s current rebates being doubled, we put together all the paperwork needed and filed it with the utility BEFORE starting the project. The rebate is worth $1,110. The savings on the electric utility bill is over $1,500 per year, and because lighting, unlike air-conditioning, usually runs consistently throughout the year, the business is going to get that $1,500 per year in savings at $125 per month. This is a cash flow increase that will keep giving. All the LED lighting installed has a 5-year warranty, which eliminates maintenance and bulb replacement costs for at least 5 years – but likely longer. The total savings per year is $2,100, for an investment of $3,500. Beyond the savings, the quality of the lighting and atmosphere it helps create affects a dramatic change in the office. It will pay dividends for years to come!