News Brief

Not Sure About Lighting System Payback? Check the Standard

The economics of lighting upgrades and other capital improvements are not straightforward; new guidance makes it easier for designers.

Most lighting professionals went to school so they could learn to design lighting systems—not so they could learn how to pay for them. Yet economic analysis has become part of their job, with clients expecting designers to explain things like return on investment and when their LEDs are going to “pay for themselves.”

To help design professionals analyze such questions, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) has developed Standard IES RP-31-14, “Recommended Practice for the Economic Analysis of Lighting.” The standard explains how to perform a life-cycle cost-benefit analysis (LCCBA), a method touted in an IES press release as “the most robust among analytical methods” because it accounts for net present value (the value in today’s dollars of an investment’s future returns, minus the initial investment; see Three Imperatives to Create the Future of Green Building for a deeper look at net present value).

The standard will help professionals calculate payback times more accurately and aid comparison of various systems to one another as well as to other capital improvements, according to IES.

For more information:

Illuminating Engineering Society of North America

Published October 6, 2014

Melton, P. (2014, October 6). Not Sure About Lighting System Payback? Check the Standard. Retrieved from

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