Brighten Up Senior Living Lighting (Video)

Published May 2021

A simple lighting upgrade in the main areas of this cooperative Senior Living facility resulted in immediate positive feedback from residents, and over 50% of the project costs were paid back to the customer in rebates and grants!

Benefits of Proper Lighting in

Senior Living

Senior Citizens at Becketwood Cooperative in Minneapolis, MN, were having a hard time even seeing the floor to navigate safely throughout some of their living quarters. This is an issue that many Senior Living or Senior Care Facilities are facing as lighting technologies continue to improve and demand for occupancy is often at capacity.

Appropriate lighting and a supportive visual environment should be considered as a preventive measure to reduce the risk of falls, sleep disorders and long-term care…

Lighting and the Visual Environment for Seniors and the Low Vision Population (study)

Inadequate lighting in a Senior Living facility introduces an array of safety and wellbeing concerns. Issues such as trips and falls, eye-strain, and even unregulated circadian rhythms and the associated behaviors, such as outbursts or increased depression, are greatly impacted by proper indoor lighting.

Studies indicate that dark, noisy, damp and dense living spaces can aggravate depression and dementia in elders. For this population, energy efficiency measures that are coupled with health benefits are especially important. “LED lighting can be used to produce light brightness specific for seniors’ needs. Geriatric patients recover faster and feel calmer when exposed to a natural lighting scheme which changes throughout the day. When the interior lights change in color and intensity according to the time of day, it keeps circadian systems inline and, the illuminance, set for the senior in mind, improves balance and reduces falls,” (Lighting Research & Technology)

Health and wellbeing are generally a primary concern for Senior Living Facilities, and the importance of a healthy indoor space directly correlates to the safety, functionality, and efficiency of the indoor lighting.

Senior citizens are more likely to have chronic or bad health, making them especially susceptible to compromised indoor living environments. “LED lights can help create affective ambiences to counteract seniors’ negative moods. LED’s ability to automatically generate light of any color and intensity with very thin, unobtrusive luminaires makes it possible to reconfigure a lighting scheme to address the negative mood of a room’s occupants. A study showed that the mood of an elderly person can be improved by exposing them to lighting ambiences with a clear, positive affect. Seniors feeling sad who were immersed in a positive high-arousing ambience were physiologically more activated than those immersed in a neutral ambience. In addition, seniors feeling anxious could be effectively calmed with a LED lighting scheme creating a cozy ambience,” (Lighting Research & Technology)

Becketwood Cooperative Project Details

The lighting improvement project at Becketwood Cooperative, in Minneapolis, MN, was not your “off-the-shelf” retrofit project. Not only was this an energy efficiency improvement project, but it also encompassed an aesthetic component with architectural redesign from our Retrofit Lighting & Design team, and some very user-friendly lighting controls. Visual appeal, functionality, ease of use, proper light levels, and energy savings were all important to the customer.

Customer Priorities & Feedback

Becketwood Cooperative by Retrofit Lighting & Design

Not only for aesthetics and better lighting, but really a safety and wellbeing mechanism as well. It’s really looking at implications that are far beyond present day. It will allow Becketwood to more effectively have people age in place if they can see in the places that they have to navigate as they get older.

– Debbie Richman, Executive Manager at Becketwood Cooperative

Debbie Richman, Executive Manager at Becketwood Cooperative noted that “inadequate lighting was an immediate concern,” when she started at Becketwood Cooperative over 3 years ago. Significant lighting issues in many of the shared living areas at Becketwood were proving very difficult for individuals as they age. Some of their seniors have started to develop macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and other visual challenges that have made it difficult for them to maneuver with the lighting in the space.

Retrofit Lighting & Design worked with Becketwood to meet their needs of not only brighter and better lighting, but also improved aesthetics in the room. Project costs, financing options and rebates were all important project components (see more below). Becketwood also noted the importance of improved energy efficiency, which would provide them with not only savings on the upfront cost of the project with rebates and grants, but saving money ongoing with reduced maintenance & energy costs.

“We also wanted more flexibility in lighting. We now have controls in areas where we didn’t have controls before,” – Debbie Richman, Executive Manager at Becketwood Cooperative

The feedback has been extremely positive. It’s just a huge difference in how lit the space is. And our maintenance staff is not unhappy at all that they may not have to change a bulb for 12-15 years.

– Debbie Richman, Executive Manager at Becketwood Cooperative

Becketwood Cooperative Senior Living Lighting Before and After

Energy Savings

The increased energy-efficiency gained by upgrading the lighting in the designated areas of this Senior Living facility was truly a no-brainer. This provides immediate energy cost savings, significantly reduces energy consumption and provides eligibility for project incentives and rebates.

Becketwood Dining Hall Photometrics from Retrofit Lighting & Design
  • Annual Energy Cost Savings: $2,828.59
  • Reduced Energy Consumption by 70%

Rebates & Incentives

Xcel Energy Bonus Rebate + City Grant = $15,000+ (approx. 50% of project cost)

The Energy Benchmarking Programs through the City of Minneapolis are incentivizing and providing grants for projects within Minneapolis that are improving their lighting to LED and adding some lighting controls with it. It qualifies if you are doing that as a design and then you qualify if the utility, like Xcel Energy (in this case) rebates part of the project.

Getting in contact with Retrofit (Retrofit Lighting & Design) provided options where we could not only get the work done, but then have rebates available through the city. That was in part how I was able to sell this project to the Board of Directors. Retrofit was very helpful.

Debbie Richman – Executive Manager, Becketwood Cooperative
Beckeetwood Cooperative upgraded interior lighting from Retrofit Lighting & Design