Seattle Commercial & Industrial Electrical Contractor
4826 B Street NW Suite 101 Auburn, WA 98001
Mon-Fri: 7AM- 4PM
23 Nov 2015

How Does Lighting Affect Your Mood?

Lighting has an effect on our mood and on the intensity of our emotions. Studies have shown that the brighter the lighting, the more intense a person’s emotions become. This is why our moods tend to change with the seasons, because of the difference in amount of light received throughout different parts of the year.

Bright Light

When it is sunny outside, we tend to be more optimistic, energetic, and helpful and our well being is higher. Bright lighting also causes an increase in feelings of warmth, even if the temperature in the room is not increased. People feel warmer when there is brighter lighting because the intensity of their emotions is being increased as well. For example, a person placed under brighter lighting will crave spicier sauce, see a person as more attractive and think of positive words as more positive and negative words as more negative. If that same person were placed under darker lighting, they most likely would crave sauce that was less spicy, and wouldn’t see a person as attractive as they did in brighter lighting.

Lack of Light

Lack of light and poor artificial lighting can cause us to have lack of energy and can trigger symptoms of depression.  The brain chemical serotonin which is responsible for maintaining mood balance, decreases on dark days and increases on brighter days. This explains why we are likely to experience seasonal depression during wintertime and why our level of energy is decreased in locations where there is less lighting. Dim lighting can also result in drowsiness and lack of focus, which is why most work places have brighter lighting, to improve employee motivation.

Light does have an effect on a person’s mood. Simple adjustments in lighting both in homes and offices can make a difference in the way a person thinks and feels. If you are thinking about your office and would like to change up the lighting, give Kirby Electric a call and see what kind of changes to your lighting system you can make!

About Kirby Electric 

Kirby Electric, Inc. is a premier electrical contractor specializing in commercial and industrial electrical construction. Our dedicated and knowledgeable team of electricians, low voltage technicians and office staff are led by senior leadership whose core philosophy is consistently delivering exceptional service. Kirby Electric offers a wide array of services to meet the needs of our customers and ensure a smooth operation of their facilities. Learn more about our services by calling 253-859-2000.

30 Jul 2015

Choosing Office Lighting

Don’t let old lighting affect your employees’ safety and performance. Having the right office lighting is important. Not only can it save you money and energy, but it can also affect how productive your employees are. Dim lighting is unhelpful to finishing any task, and doesn’t make those under it energetic.

3 Types of Office Lighting

Depending on your industry, different types of light are more effective than others. If you have an open office space, you’ll need to ensure the lighting you chooses works for everyone. And if you have an industrial area, like a warehouse, your lighting must be adequate for the work being done beneath it.

  • Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is incredibly common in offices, medical facilities, and many professional buildings. Its bonuses? It adds uniform, adequate lighting for employees without creating dark corners. Plus, unlike suspension, recessed lighting doesn’t use up any valuable ceiling space, important for lower ceiling buildings and workplaces with special machinery or extra storage.

  • Motion Activated Systems 

Motion-activated lighting could save you money. How? In infrequently used areas, motion-activated lighting turns on exactly when you need it, and not a second before. It also helps if this lighting is an areas like a stock room where employees need both hands to transport items and don’t have to worry about flipping a switch on and off.

A time not to use motion-activated systems: in rooms that workers are constantly in. If employees are present nearly all of the time, a motion-activated light probably won’t save much electricity, and time won’t be lost flipping the switch.

  • Suspended Lights

Suspended lighting lives up to its name, hanging (an often short distance) from the ceiling. It’s common to see suspended lighting extended from the ceiling via sturdy chains, and these lighting fixtures come in metal to be sturdier than their name suggests.

One place suspended lighting might not work well: stock or storage rooms with tall storage fixtures. High shelving that employees access frequently can mean ladders and heads coming into contact with suspended lighting if not installed properly.

Lighting and Employee Health

Another important factor in choosing commercial lights is how the lighting affects your employees physically. OSHA warns that too much light can lead to headaches or eyestrain, and that workstations should be carefully situated to reduce glare on computers.

It’s not just the lights you switch on that affect our eyes. According to OSHA, brightness contrast from the computer to the office is at risk for causing headaches and optical fatigue. To reduce risk, keep walls and ceilings in “light, matte colors and finishes” that help keep contrast to a minimum. Keep this in in the next time interior design choices are made!

Whichever lighting you choose, make sure it’s with your office and industry in mind. What keeps  a warehouse running isn’t what an office needs, and vice versa. Avoid an ineffective work environment with the right lighting, and make it energy efficient so you and the environment benefit in the long term. From car dealerships to pizza places, we’ve handled the unique needs of businesses around the Seattle area. Find out more: request a quote for what your business needs.

About Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric, Inc. is a premier electrical contractor specializing in commercial and industrial electrical construction. Our dedicated and knowledgeable team of electricians, low voltage technicians and office staff are led by senior leadership whose core philosophy is consistently delivering exceptional service. Kirby Electric offers a wide array of services to meet the needs of our customers and ensure a smooth operation of their facilities.

(Image courtesy of Antranias via Pixabay.com)

07 Apr 2015

2015 Best of Auburn Award Goes to Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric was recently awarded the 2015 Best of Auburn Award for Commercial & Office Building Contractors. Kirby Electric is proud to accept this award that directly recognizes our reputation as a successful local business based in Auburn, WA.

Criteria for receiving the 2015 Best of Auburn Award included creating successful marketing strategies, competitive advantages, and long-term value. Additional third-party information was also gathered to evaluate the nominees. Businesses who win this annual award are honored with the recognition that they help represent the face of small business—to clients and the local community.

An Attention to Community Big and Small

Chandelier lighting inside Aston Manor Seattle
Aston Manor’s interior lighting creates a striking atmosphere

We believe in the importance of partnerships, which is why Kirby Electric is involved with organizations like the U.S. Green Building Council, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, and Master Builders Association of Pierce County.

More Than Just Electrical Systems

Kirby Electric is dedicated to providing services to commercial and industrial fields throughout the Seattle area. We’ve partnered with local businesses to meet their unique needs and find solutions for a variety of buildings, from storefronts to a storage facility.

Kirby Electric helped the classic chandelier and drop lighting come together safely and efficiently in Seattle’s Aston Manor. Additionally, Kirby ensured REI headquarters in Kent was fully equipped with outdoor lighting fixtures, indoor overhead lighting, and exit signs for safety. Our team of electricians, estimators, project managers, and office administrators are proud to help build and maintain the bright foundations that power local businesses like these.

REI headquarters in Kent
The exterior lighting at REI headquarters matches the building’s modern look

What electrical needs does your business have? You can submit an RFP online and tell us more about your upcoming electrical project, or call (253) 859-2000.

About Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric is a premier Seattle electrical contractor specializing in commercial and industrial electrical contracting. We can help with any electrical needs when it comes to upgrading older buildings, including equipment hook ups, rewiring or relocating panels, and lighting retrofits. We also work with electrical companies like Puget Sound Energy, Tacoma Public Utilities, Lakeview Power and others that will provide a rebate for upgrading to a more efficient lighting upon approval of the project. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to request a quote.

05 Mar 2015

4 Tips for Business Energy Efficiency

Business energy efficiency tips
The Give Grid
is an Australian project and website offering ways to save energy. The project provides benefits like free workshops, webinars, and plenty of information available on energy-saving. Because business energy efficiency can directly affect a company’s bottom line, finding ways to implement office retrofits and updates can be crucial.

On its site The Give Grid provides energy audits of various buildings around Australia. By showing efficiency opportunities for existing buildings, The Give Grid seeks to create models other businesses can follow to cut back on energy. Here are some tips culled from energy audits and The Give Grid to help increase your office’s efficiency.

Tip 1: Upgrade to LED

An energy audit of a 4,300-square-foot, single-story brick building revealed that 17% of annual energy costs went towards lighting. Part of the solution? Trading fluorescent tube lights for LEDs. Don’t overlook any lighting—you can even replace fluorescent exit signs with LED fixtures.

Tip 2: Unplug Equipment

A top-floor office space around 17,000-square-feet that houses 45 employees revealed a huge opportunity for energy savings. The office’s audit showed that computers, printers, and similar electronics pulled a significant amount of power—approximately half of the location’s energy. Part of the fix? Turning off equipment whenever possible.

Even when off or in standby or “sleep” mode, equipment can still eat energy. In this case of this office, 8% of the yearly electrical bill was for standby power. Solve this problem by unplugging equipment when possible so that it doesn’t have the opportunity to continue using power. Talk with your office’s IT department about whether you can unplug electronics like computers overnight to stop this energy loss.

Tip 3: Make Windows Energy-Efficient

For buildings with many windows or glass walls, like this Tasmania structure that was audited, energy film, lined curtains, and other window treatments designed to control temperature are recommended. Better controlled temperature means employees are less likely to be reaching for the thermostat and increasing energy costs.

Tip 4: Retrofit Watercoolers and Vending Machines

A common tip from the office audits was to add timers to vending machines and water coolers to save energy usage outside of business hours. The lighting and cooling capacities of vending machines utilize energy that isn’t needed when employees are out of the building for extended periods.

Update your office for energy savings that can balance your bottom line. Kirby Electric is experienced in updating existing or outdated systems and installing commercial lighting and electrical systems. See some of the businesses we’ve helped power around Washington.

About Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric is a premier Seattle electrical contractor specializing in commercial and industrial electrical contracting. As your local commercial electrician, we can help with any electrical needs when it comes to upgrading older buildings, including equipment hook ups, rewiring or relocating panels, and lighting upgrades. We also work with electrical companies like Puget Sound Energy, Tacoma Public Utilities, Lakeview Power and others that will provide a rebate for upgrading to a more efficient lighting upon approval of the project. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to get a quote.

(Image Courtesy of khunaspix via FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

24 Jun 2014

Lighting Controls Might Take Off After LEDs Flood the Market

Lighting Controls Might Take Off After LEDs Flood the MarketFor many commercial and industrial operations, upgrading to long-lasting, energy-saving LED lighting systems is a no-brainer. Not only do these innovative new lighting systems help cut energy costs significantly, but they also provide a higher quality lighting solution to replace older, inadequate lighting systems in warehouses and other commercial settings.

As LEDs gain steam in both the commercial and residential markets, lighting manufacturers face a challenge while consumers enjoy the benefits of energy efficient lights. With modern LEDs lasting as long as 50,000 hours depending on usage, the slow replacement cycle has serious potential to sink revenues for lighting manufacturers, according to CE Pro.

Lighting Controls & Smart Lighting Projected to Boom

As the market becomes saturated with LEDs and fewer new bulbs are purchased to replace these long-lasting bulbs, lighting manufacturers will be faced with making one of three decisions, CE Pro explained:

  • Dramatically reduce the price of bulbs to boost sales before burnout (and thus chip away at their bottom line)
  • Decrease the lifetimes of the bulbs so consumers must replace them more often (and thus risk losing business to competitors whose bulbs have longer lifespans)
  • Develop new LED lights with advanced functionality, features and advanced controls that residential and commercial customers will want to adopt before their existing bulbs burn out

Since the first two options are not in the best interest of the manufacturer or the consumer, the lighting manufacturing industry is expected to make significant advancements in controls to keep consumers coming back for more.

In fact, one report from Navigant Research projects that over the next seven years, annual sales for occupancy sensors, photosensors and lighting network gear associated with LED lighting will grow from $1.1 billion in 2013 to $2.7 billion by 2020, according to Forbes.

Why Are Lighting Controls Expected to Boom?

Since LED lights involve semiconductors, they have great potential to be controlled in a variety of ways that commercial or residential customers might find beneficial. For example, the ability to dim the lights when it’s bright outside or turn off the lights when no one is present are money-saving options. Sophisticated sensors can be integrated to make the system smoothly gather data on a room’s temperature, occupancy and other factors and self-adjust accordingly, Forbes explained.

Other applications for sensors and controls associated with LED lights are as limitless as the minds that think up the ideas.  For example, the Forbes article noted that it was possible for sensors integrated with LED lighting on city streets to collect data on what parking spots are open on certain days and send it to a mobile app in real time. By the same token, a system with cameras could collect data on parked vehicles that could result in parking tickets being issued more efficiently.

The Takeaway

In conclusion, as LED lights become more prevalent in the U.S. and their cost goes down, lighting manufacturers are expected to develop new “smart LEDs” and innovative controls that will keep lighting manufacturers profitable and present residential and commercial consumers with more options than ever before for getting more out of their lighting systems.

About Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric is a premier electrical contractor in Seattle specializing in commercial and industrial electrical contracting. We can help with any electrical needs when it comes to upgrading older buildings, including equipment hook ups, rewiring or relocating panels, and lighting upgrades. We also work with electrical companies like Puget Sound Energy, Tacoma Public Utilities, Lakeview Power and others that will provide a rebate for upgrading to a more efficient lighting upon approval of the project. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to get a quote.

14 Nov 2013

4 Key Services Kirby Electric Provides

services_lightingKirby Electric provides a variety of services to our valued commercial and industrial customers and even offers electrical maintenance long after the initial project is complete.

But did you know that Kirby Electric offers other services as well? Here are 4 other areas of Kirby Electric expertise.

Controls for Equipment

The Kirby Electric industrial division has experience with complex industrial equipment and can wire systems and controls according to customer specifications. This includes wiring complete motor control centers and even complex conveyer systems. We’re also comfortable partnering with engineers and other experts assigned to a particular industrial project to ensure the customer’s needs are met.

Retail Projects

Kirby Electric has vast experience working with contractors on design/build projects for retail facilities such as Lowe’s and Kohl’s. We have a strong track record of providing a high-quality work for a reasonable price and ensuring all of our commercial projects are completed on time and on budget.

Lighting Retrofits

Kirby Electric specializes in lighting retrofits using the most current technology and energy-saving products available. We’ll even reach out to our customer’s utility company and work to help our customers receive lighting rebates for upgrading their lighting. Anytime we can solve an electrical problem and reduce our customers’ energy costs in the process, we consider it a job well done.

Street Lighting

Kirby Electric design and installation teams have worked closely with cities and municipalities throughout the Puget Sound region to design street lighting and provide high-quality installation services for many communities.

About Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric is a premier Seattle electrical contractor specializing in commercial and industrial electrical contracting. We can help with any electrical needs when it comes to upgrading older buildings, including equipment hook ups, rewiring or relocating panels, and lighting upgrades. We also work with electrical companies like Puget Sound Energy, Tacoma Public Utilities, Lakeview Power and others that will provide a rebate for upgrading to a more efficient lighting upon approval of the project. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to request a quote.

14 Oct 2013

Seattle Electrical Rebates for Business

Seattle Electrical Rebates for BusinessDid you know that both Seattle City Light and Puget Sound Energy offer electrical rebates for business when they upgrade to energy-efficient commercial lighting?

By taking advantage of these rebates, businesses can not only enjoy energy savings over the long term, but also enjoy some great financial incentives!

Seattle City Light

Seattle City Light will reimburse your organization for installing more efficient equipment and lighting, with the potential for incentive amounts as high as 70% of the installation cost, according to the Seattle City Light website. Keep in mind that all incentives must be approved before installation begins and that a contract must be signed with Seattle City Light before your business begins purchasing equipment.

Incentives are available for hard wired lighting, screw-in or twist-in fixture retrofits, lighting controls and direct load reduction lighting. Click here for a full list of incentives available through Seattle City Light.

Puget Sound Energy

Puget Sound Energy provides instant rebates to commercial electric customers who wish to install energy-saving commercial lighting products that meet PSE’s eligibility requirements. Not only does this helpful program allow an organization to receive a discount at the time of purchase, but there isn’t any cumbersome paperwork since the venders who participate in PSE’s program know which products qualify for rebates.

To be eligible for an instant rebate, you must be install ENERGY STAR lighting or other qualifying lighting, the business must be situated in PSE’s electric service area, and the business must meet all other participation requirements outlined on the PSE website.

About Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric is a premier Seattle electrical contractor specializing in commercial and industrial electrical contracting. We can help with any electrical needs when it comes to upgrading older buildings, including equipment hook ups, rewiring or relocating panels, and lighting retrofits. We also work with electrical companies like Puget Sound Energy, Tacoma Public Utilities, Lakeview Power and others that will provide a rebate for upgrading to a more efficient lighting upon approval of the project. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to request a quote.

(Photo by pixtawan via FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

28 Aug 2013

Cutting Edge LED Lighting Makes Its Debut

LED Lighting is cutting edgeWhen most people think of LED lighting they think of their uses in traffic signals, consumer electronics and appliances, signage lighting or even of LED lighting showing up in the automotive and aviation industries.

However, LED lights are quickly positioning themselves to be the future of commercial lighting because they are more efficient than other lighting options and could lead to significant savings on lighting costs. They’re also appearing with more modern styling than ever before.

The Groundbreaking WaveStream LED Series

Take for instance the new WaveStream LED Series from Cooper Lighting. This series includes the SkyRidge and Encounter Series through which Cooper aims to make high-performance LEDs the industry standard for lighting commercial interiors.

These lights provide a cost-effective solution for commercial enterprises to boost energy savings while delivering better optical performance and brightness control, according to a recent Cooper announcement. Cooper Lighting hopes the new technology can be applied to a wide variety of residential, industrial and office lighting projects.

“LED technology has come a long way over the past few years, but most manufacturers are still struggling to develop and offer cost-effective solutions that not only look great but also perform well,” said Mark Eubanks, president of Cooper Lighting, in the announcement. “Our new WaveStream line addresses that challenge, providing users with an unparalleled balance of form and function all at affordable price points. The Metalux Encounter series is the first of many WaveStream products rolling out this year that make LED lighting possible for a wider range of applications.”

What’s the Big Deal about LEDs?

The question arises: if we already have options like incandescent and florescent lighting, why would we need LEDs? The advantages of LEDs over other light sources include less energy consumption, a longer lifetime and cooler temperatures than other types of lighting. Cooper’s WaveStream products also have “less glare, dimming capabilities and the potential for great lighting quality,” according to a recent blog written by an industry expert.

Cooper reports that its SkyRidge Series provides energy savings of more than 50% and its Encounter Series offers savings of more than 45% when compared to fluorescent troffers, the current industry standard for commercial light fixtures.

What Are LEDs?

LED stands for light-emitting diode. While incandescent lights and fluorescents emit light using filaments in glass bulbs or through gases inside a bulb, LEDs generate light through semiconductors.

About Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric, a premier Seattle electrical contractor specializing in commercial and industrial electrical contracting, strives to stay informed on the most cutting-edge advances in the industry, such as the use of LEDs in commercial or industrial lighting projects. We can also help with any electrical needs when it comes to upgrading older buildings, including equipment hook ups, rewiring or relocating panels, and lighting retrofits. We work with electrical companies like Puget Sound Energy, Tacoma Public Utilities, Lakeview Power and others that will provide a rebate for upgrading to a more efficient lighting upon approval of the project. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to request a quote.

(Photo courtesy: www.CooperIndustries.com)

24 Jul 2013

New Energy Efficiency Incentives for Older Seattle Buildings

While many owners of older commercial buildings would like to invest in energy efficiency upgrades, many steer clear of significant improvements due to cost concerns. However, the Seattle-based Bullitt Foundation, which focuses on environmentally-conscious programs, is now collaborating with investors, a technology company, and a municipal utility to provide new energy efficiency incentives for older Seattle buildings when the owners make improvements, according to the New York Times.

How Will the Program Work?

Under the foundation’s plan, the owners of older commercial buildings have the potential to receive “new revenue, based on precise measurements of energy savings” if they or investors devote the necessary capital for major efficiency retrofits like replacing furnaces, boilers, or the building shell itself, the article explained. As part this program, Seattle City Light, a municipal utility, agrees to purchase back the energy savings that the building owners receive on a long-term basis and EnergyRM, a company that provides energy efficiency metering services and software-based analytics, will keep track of how much the building owners have actually saved by participating.

A critic in the Times article pointed out that Bullitt Center’s program is essentially an experiment and that many building owners would need to see hard data on how such a program actually plays out before proceeding with it. However, it is promising to see such an innovative incentive being offered to building owners—essentially allowing them to receive revenue from the value of the unused electricity, often dubbed “nega-watts,” after Seattle City Light buys them back for resale.

Kirby Electric Helps Commercial Buildings Increase Energy Efficiency

While the types of upgrades described in this article can certainly boost a building’s energy efficiency, yet another way to increase efficiency is through lighting retrofits, where old light fixtures are replaced with fixtures that save more energy. Kirby Electric helps companies go green by providing energy-efficient lighting and by designing low-energy lighting packages for commercial businesses.

About Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric is a premier Seattle electrical contractor specializing in commercial and industrial electrical contracting. We can help with any electrical needs when it comes to upgrading older buildings, including equipment hook ups, rewiring or relocating panels, and lighting upgrades. We also work with electrical companies like Puget Sound Energy, Tacoma Public Utilities, Lakeview Power and others that will provide a rebate for upgrading to a more efficient lighting upon approval of the project. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to request a quote.

29 May 2013

5 Facts About Electricians

kirby_cocacolaThe electrical profession is no walk in the park. Check out these 5 facts about electricians from a recent article:

1. Master Electricians Train Nearly as Long as Doctors

There is no room for error when it comes to electrical projects since the slightest mistake could have devastating or even life threatening consequences. This is why master electricians put just as much time and effort into their training and education as any other highly skilled professional.

2. Electricians Tend to Specialize

Like doctors, electricians tend to specialize in a specific area where they have the most knowledge.

  • Residential: electricians who deal with home issues.
  • Commercial: electricians who service commercial buildings.
  • Industrial: electricians who are familiar with and are specially trained to handle industrial electrical equipment.
  • Outside Lineman: Electricians who deal with outdoor electrical structures such as power lines, substations, and transformers.

3. Electricians Must Be in Good Shape

Electrical equipment can be extremely heavy or difficult to access. Sometimes electricians must work in cramped quarters, in areas that must be accessed by ladders or in other hard-to-reach areas.

4. Electricians Need to Have Good Thinking Skills

Electrical projects involve more than just simple wire rearrangement. To be successful, an electrician must have a solid mathematical background that enables them to read and analyze blue prints and other technical schematic material. Electricians must also constantly be aware of local and federal safety codes. Furthermore, as some electrical projects can be dangerous, electricians must have good organizational skills and the ability to recall crucial information under stressful circumstances.

5. Electricians are Going Green

Most people do not associate electricians with environmental conservation. However, master electricians are highly-trained, environmentally conscious professionals who are constantly searching for new ways to conserve energy using new technology and offering eco-friendly services like lighting retrofits.

Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric is a premier Seattle electrical contractor specializing in commercial and industrial electrical contracting. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to request a quote .