Frequently Asked Questions

About PEC

What does Pacific Energy Concepts (PEC) do?

PEC provides turn-key energy optimization solutions throughout North America. Our services provided include:

  • Commercial and industrial LED lighting retrofits
  • Lighting design
  • Control systems
  • Electric vehicle charging stations
  • Energy monitoring
  • HVAC smart motor retrofit

With over 13 years in business and 8,000+ projects completed, PEC has deployed energy efficiency solutions throughout the US and Canada for some of the World’s leading brands — including Costco, Alaska Airlines, IKEA, Daltile, Reliance Steel, Sysco, and many more.

Where is PEC located?

Pacific Energy Concepts (PEC) is headquartered in Vancouver, WA, and has additional offices in Chicago, IL and Dallas, TX.

Our company has nationwide sales and implementation teams that service all 50 states and Canada.

How do I contact PEC?
Who does PEC serve?

PEC serves commercial and industrial industries throughout the US and Canada. 


What is an LED?

In the simplest terms, a light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor device that emits light when an electric current is passed through it.  

Light is produced when the particles that carry the current (known as electrons and holes) combine within the semiconductor material. 

Since light is generated within the solid semiconductor material, LEDs are described as solid-state devices. The term solid-state lighting distinguishes this lighting technology from other sources that use heated filaments (incandescent and tungsten halogen lamps) or gas discharge (fluorescent lamps). 

An LED is also powered by a driver rather than a ballast which is used with older lighting technology. 

What is an LED driver?

All LEDs require a driver. A driver is an electrical device that regulates the power to an LED or string of LEDs. Able to respond to the changing needs of the LED, or Circuit of LEDs by supplying a constant amount of power as its electrical properties change with temperature 

What are some of the problems with high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting?
  • Extremely high energy use 
  • Require separate lamps and ballasts (driver) 
  • High warm-up time (10-15 minutes before they reach full power) 
  • Throw off large amounts of heat 
  • Throw light everywhere, not focused at all 
  • Low color temperature 
What are the advantages of LED?

LEDs are superior lighting technology for a number of reasons. 

  1. Color Quality: LED lighting has higher color quality meaning the color of the light and the areas lit by LED is more crisp, bright, and maintains a consistent color for a longer period of time.  
  2. Optical efficiency: LEDs are easier to control allowing for greater magnification (management of light levels), directional control using optics you have more optical control of an LED allowing you to target the direction or spread or light for specific use cases. With the addition of lighting controls you have virtually unlimited ability to  
  3. Energy Efficient: LEDs are more energy efficient, they produce a brighter light, use less energy than other lighting technologies and last much longer. LEDs cost up to 80% less to operate than incandescent lights.   
  4. LEDs are safer: LEDs emit less heat and are therefore better in certain high temperature environments they also do not contain toxic mercury like that found in all CFL bulbs.  
What are the benefits of LED?
  • Optical efficiency; magnification and ability to direct light toward target area using the optic lens. 
  • Efficacy: Chip and driver combo’s, doing more with less 
  • Controls:  
    • Advanced control capability  
    • Dual Relay Sensors 
    • Back end Control system 
  • Virtually unlimited control: 0-10V dimming capability. 
  • Thermal Management 
    • Less heat overall. Heat sink to dispel it quickly.
  • Color Quality 
    • The color is crisp, bright, and consistent longer  
  • Energy Efficiency 
    • LEDs cost up to 80% less to operate than incandescent lights.   
  • Safety 
    • No toxic mercury like that found in all CFL bulbs  
  • Life Expectancy 
    • No vibration 
    • No filaments that have trouble withstanding electrical fluctuations from powering up and down, thermal management 
    • Controllability allows for cutting trim and with lumen depreciation increase to extend life  
How do LEDs save energy?

LEDs use about 80% less electricity while providing the same brightness of incandescent and around 25-35% less energy than fluorescents. Their lifespan is not shortened by turning them on and off frequently – which means they work well with control systems / sensor – this enables additional capability to save even more energy. 

LED Lighting optics overview

What is a Heat Sink in relation to LED?

It is important to maintain low temperatures to ensure the performance and longevity of LEDs.  LED’s are typically encapsulated in resin which is a poor thermal connector.  Most heat is created on the back side of the chip.  The heat sink is usually aluminum but can also be copper.  It allows a path for the heat away from the LED. The heat sink is located on the back of the LED where most of the heat is generated. 

What are foot-candles?

Foot-candles (FC) a measure of light the human eye can see as opposed to lumens which are a measure of light output from a light source or fixture. Foot candles are an imperial system unit of measurement used to calculate lighting levels in workspaces. A foot-candle is equal to one lumen per square foot. There are independent foot-candle recommendation boards such as that indicate the amount of light needed to meet basic lighting-level requirements in industry specific spacesInternational markets (Canada & Mexico) use Lux (lumens per square meter) to measure illumination levels.

Learn more on foot-candles here »

Footcandle Infographic - Pacific Energy Concepts

What are photometrics?

Photometry is the science of measuring visible light as perceived by the human eye. Measuring unit of illuminance is the lux or FC (foot-candle) the amount of illumination a given surface unit receives. We use a 3D modeling software as a calculation tool and visual demonstration tool to provide precise and accurate photometric predictions when building out a new lighting system as part of our proposals. We use a light meter to measure existing foot-candles in a space during an audit and compare these measurements with those in our proposed lighting design in each custom designed project.

Learn more about photometrics »

What is Lighting Power Density (LPD)?

When planning a new building or doing a major remodel, you may be asked to meet local or state energy codes for lighting. This means you are only allowed a certain amount of light power density (LPD) and is calculated by lighting watts per square foot. These lighting requirements are defined by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IESNA).  

The intent of LPD is to encourage the use of more efficient technologies in the built environment.

How do I know if I should upgrade to LED?

If you run or own any facility and you care about energy spend, safety, maintenance costs, environmental conditions, or sustainability then you should be evaluating your lighting system. An LED lighting upgrade is a low hanging fruit in the world of energy efficiency gains.

What facilities benefit from LED retrofit upgrades?

Any facility can benefit from an energy efficient lighting upgrade, however, commercial, and industrial facilities with large square footage have the most to gain from an LED retrofit upgrade.  

How much can I save with an LED lighting upgrade?

At the outset LEDs draw a lower wattage than other lighting systems and thus use less kWs per hour than most other lighting technology. Precisely how much you can save with your LED lighting upgrade depends on a number factors including; your current/existing lighting system, your cost of power, the LED solutions you select and if you include advanced controls or networked control systems. With LED upgrades we can often reduce the total number of fixtures in your facility while providing a brighter light level than was possible with your old lighting. This light fixture count reduction also results in reduced energy costs! 

How will a lighting project reduce my maintenance costs?

Incumbent lighting like fluorescents, HIDs and incandescent, for example, require regular maintenance and frequent lamp replacement. Because LED technology places far less demand on the fixture components in general, they last much longer than old lighting technologies and often eliminate the need for regular maintenance. This results in a longer life-time and lower total cost of ownership.  

Electric Vehicle Charging

Does PEC make EV chargers?

PEC is a turn-key EV charging solution designed. We do not manufacture chargers themselves, but rather source the best chargers and components available, depending on the customer application, goals, and business model. 

PEC is vendor agnostic and is not tied to any specific manufacturer — allowing us to use the best parts available for your solution.

Learn more about PEC’s EV Charging Services »

Will PEC install my charger?

Yes. PEC will oversee your entire project. This includes:

  • Solution design
  • Laying electrical infrastructure (trenching, installing conduit, etc.)
  • Charger installation
  • Post-project and warranty support

Our goal is to be the “easy button” for integrating expertly-crafted, long-lasting EV chargers at your properties / facilities. 

Learn more about PEC’s EV Charging Services »

What level chargers does PEC offer?

EV chargers come in 3 levels. Our solutions typically use levels 2 and 3, since those are best suited for commercial and industrial facilities.

PEC charger levels:

  • Level 2 charger
    • Power: 7.68 kW
    • Charge Rate: Medium/Fast
    • Application: Large property / Commercial 
  • Level 2 fleet charger
    • Power: 19.2 kW
    • Charge Rate: Fast
    • Application: Large property / Commercial, with higher vehicle volume
  • Level 3 DC fast charger:
    • Power: 50 – 375 kW
    • Charge Rate: Fastest
    • Application: Commercial / Industrial

Energy Monitoring

How do commercial energy monitors work?

Power monitoring sensors are clipped on to the wires in the electrical panel running power to each machine, which then take real-time measurements of the electrical current flowing through the wires to track each machines power consumption. Power metering sensors are also installed to monitor the power quality of the site.

Measurements taken by these sensors  are then routed to an online dashboard, where admins can login to view the power consumption of each device in the facility, report on energy use for measurement and verification purposes, learn opportunities for efficiency gains, and create automatic alerts for devices seeing erratic or faulty activity.

Learn about PEC’s energy monitoring solution »

Will PEC install the energy monitoring system?

Yes. PEC is a turn-key solution provider that will handle any work related to system installation, along with post-installation support throughout the life of the system.

We will also provide training for system administrators on how to setup and manage their monitoring portals.

Is there a subscription fee for the monitoring portal?

No. The PEC Energy Monitoring solution is a one-time payment for the system and services provided. There is no ongoing subscription payment required for access to the monitoring portal or post-project support.

What is the difference between power monitor and power metering devices?

The power monitoring sensors are current transducers (also known as CT’s) that snap on to the wires and measure the flow of electrical current running through to each device in your facility. These sensors are wireless, self-powered, and compact to allow for easy and non-intrusive installation in smaller sub-panels.

The power metering device is installed higher up in the electrical hierarchy (typically in a main panel) and measures both the facility voltage and the overall current flow to determine the power quality in the facility.


How do HVAC Smart Motors work?

The HVAC Smart Motor system uses a patented high rotor pole switched reluctance motor to optimize HVAC motor performance and maximize energy savings.

Using “cycling” technology, motor speeds are able to ramp up to meet calls for heating & cooling, then cycle back down to a more energy efficient ventilation mode after the temperature has been adjusted. This cycling capability has the potential to provide an energy savings of 45-55% for businesses that retrofit the existing fixed-speed motors in their RTU’s.

Can I replace my blower motor with a Smart Motor?

Yes – Roof Top Units (aka “RTU’s”) can be retrofitted with a Smart Motor to make your existing HVAC system more efficient.

What are the main advantages of HVAC Smart Motors?
  1. Energy efficiency: Switch reluctance motors don’t sacrifice savings or air exchanges per hour. Optimizing energy use across full-rated and operating speed range these motors handle variability more effectively than induction motors with variable frequency drive (VFD).
  2. Reliability: Designed for rigorous variable speed operation over a 30-year life a simpler internal design ensures this motor runs cooler, eliminating overheating failures, contributing to longer life and lower energy use.
  3. IoT Intelligence: Intelligent systems give you complete control over your equipment. Continually monitoring for signs of degradation or faults allowing the ability to take action anytime from almost anywhere

ESG and Efficiency Services

How much does a commercial energy audit cost?

Energy audits are free and are included as an important part of the sales process at PEC! Please note that we do only audit commercial and industrial spaces — get started by filling out the form on this page to see if our auditing services make sense for your facility. If you’re seeing a full scale ASHRAE level 1,2, or 3 energy audit we can help put you in touch with the right team too. 

What is a commercial energy audit?

A commercial energy audit should include an on-site visit to your facility. During the audit a lighting expert will walk through mapping out and accurately documenting the type, wattage, and location of each fixture – they will take photos and draw out a map. The audit is an opportunity to gather all information about your existing lighting system and understand how your space is used. This information will help determine both your energy usage and your lighting needs. An energy audit could include an evaluation of interior lighting (like warehouses or retail floors) and exterior lighting (i.g. parking lots).  

How much does a lighting audit cost?

A lighting audit is an essential part of our customized lighting upgrade solution and therefore we offer this free to our customers and prospective customers. 

What does ESG stand for?

ESG stands for Environmental, Social and corporate Governance, and it’s a system of optional (currently) corporate reporting that’s associated with sustainability, and has more recently been used as a selling point in the markets, equated with a good indicator of which companies may be good to invest in.

E is for Environmental: This portion of the ESG focuses on addressing the climate crisis and environmental sustainability through corporate actions. This can include steps to prevent, mitigate, or eliminate carbon emissions, runoff, or pollution of any kind. This portion of the plan for corporations also pulls in ideas for encouraging resource efficiency, biodiversity, proper disposal procedures, and it outlines previous history with environmental regulatory bodies (the EPA, for example.)

S is for Social: The second section of ESG is invested in social concerns, human rights, and consumer protection. The Social part of ESG Plans can address these concerns through outlining policies around the treatment, benefits, pay, and diversity of its employees; sourcing practices; and the service and protection of its customers.

G is for Governance: This piece of the ESG equation deals in management structure, executive compensation, and employee relations and compensation. This portion of the plan can lay out steps or policies that have to do with stakeholder incentives, bonuses, metrics of success, conflicts of interest or matters of corruption, levels of corporate transparency, and the hierarchy of governance.

Learn more about ESG in our writeup here »

How can PEC help with my ESG goals?

PEC can help commercial and industrial businesses with their Environmental goals in a variety of ways:

  1. Energy efficient LED lighting systems: We are the nation’s leading in creating photometric lighting designs — incorporating the best fixtures, optics, sensors, and control systems — that optimize facility light levels while maximizing the overall efficiency gains.  
  2. Reduced greenhouse gas emissions with EV charging: Implementing EV chargers at your property or facility can help drive electric vehicle adoption and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by gas-consuming vehicles. Charger data that’s collected by chargers can also be easily used to determine gas-driven miles displaced, and thus CO2 emissions saved.
  3. Power monitoring and power metering systems: Our energy monitoring solution will allow you to see exactly how power flows throughout your facility, running from the meter down to each machine. This is vital for information for ESG managers that are looking to:
    • Quickly and confidently identify their biggest efficiency opportunities; and
    • Capture unprecedented power-consumption data throughout their facility for both M&V and reporting efforts
What are scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions?

Scope 1: Any greenhouse gas emissions that are produced directly from operations or assets that are owned and controlled by the reporting company. Scope 1 emissions are broken out into 4 key sub-categories: stationary combustion, mobile combustion, fugitive emissions, process emissions: this category covers a wide-range of emission sources like chemical reactions, fermentation, and combustion processes.

Scope 2: Any GHG emissions that result from the production of purchased electricity, steam, heat, or cooling.

Scope 3: Any emissions from sources that are not directly owned or controlled by the company. There are 2 key sub-categories for scope 3 emissions:

  1. Upstream emissions: this includes any emissions that are attributed to the extraction, production, and transportation of raw materials and purchases made by the company.
  2. Downstream emissions: emissions from use and disposal of the services or goods produced by the company. 


Learn more about emission scopes 1, 2, and 3 in this writeup »

What are upstream and downstream emissions?

Upstream emissions: this includes any emissions that are attributed to the extraction, production, and transportation of raw materials and purchases made by the company. In an effort to minimize upstream emissions, companies are increasingly searching for partners and suppliers that are minimizing their own carbon footprints — creating a demand for more sustainable business practices throughout the entire supply chain, even if upstream suppliers don’t face the same pressures from investors or consumers.

Downstream emissions: this includes emissions that accompany the use and disposal of the services or goods produced by the company. Some examples include greenhouse gases released to dispose, recycle, or incinerate the product, ship products to customers, or from using the product itself (like automobile suppliers).

Learn more about emission scopes 1, 2, and 3 in this writeup »

Incentives and Financing

What are energy incentives?

Energy incentives are funds that businesses can receive from their power utility provider (or an associated company that administers the program) to help fund projects that make their facilities more energy efficient.

Because commercial and industrial facilities demand such large amounts of power, it creates a strain on the electrical grid to meet this demand. Incentives are used to get more businesses to adopt energy efficient technologies (i.g. lighting, HVAC, refrigeration, windows, and more), which in-turn helps to both relieve the strain and lower the greenhouse gas emissions in the area.

More on energy incentives here »

How do I qualify for incentives?

Incentives can be a compelling way to help fund your upgrade project. Utility providers and energy efficiency programs across the USA established these energy rebate programs to encourage large facilities with high energy consumption (like yourselves) to reduce their demand on the grid.  

Qualifying for incentives or energy rebates in your service area is dependent on a multitude of factors including but not limited to; 

  • Your utility (the company that provides you power) 
  • Your existing lighting system 
  • The design, specification, fixture selection and control systems in your NEW lighting system 
  • The energy kWh savings between your old and new systems 

There is extensive coordination and paperwork required to secure the maximum available incentives for your business as well as an in-depth understanding of the incentive program itself. Selecting a lighting contractor with the expertise of an in-house incentives team will take the burden out of this process. 

What is qualified improvement property?

Qualified improvement property (QIP) is a term used by the IRS to categorize improvements made to the interior of a commercial property (business or income-producing building). The improvement must be made to a building that is already “in service” and be expected to last longer than 1 year. A commercial/ industrial LED lighting upgrade is considered qualified improvement property and is therefore eligible for bonus depreciation. This allows taxpayers to deduct up to 80% (previously 100% but updated in 2023) of the cost of these assets upfront (in the first year) Resulting in a lower cost of capital and potential tax refunds. 

Learn more about QIP in our write up here: How QIP Applies to LED Lighting Upgrades in 2023 »

What is bonus depreciation?

Bonus depreciations accelerates depreciation for qualified improvement property. Allowing businesses/ taxpayers to deduct the cost of certain upgraded assets much sooner than they otherwise would. Bonus depreciation can be retroactively applied to Qualified improvement property placed into service as far back as 2018. NOTE: the Bonus depreciation rate starts to reduce in 2023 from 100% to 80% – be sure to  Check with you tax advisor as you consider taking advantage of this tax benefit.  

Bonus depreciation rate: 

  • Qualified improvement property acquired after Sept. 27, 2017, and placed in service in 2018 through 2022 (2023 for long production property and specified aircraft) generally qualifies for 100% bonus depreciation. 
  • Qualified improvement property acquired after Sept. 27, 2017, and placed in service in 2023 (2024 for long production property and specified aircraft) generally qualifies for 80% bonus depreciation. 
  • Qualified improvement property acquired after Sept. 27, 2017, and placed in service in 2024 (2025 for long production property and specified aircraft) generally qualifies for 60% bonus depreciation. 
  • Qualified improvement property acquired after Sept. 27, 2017, and placed in service in 2025 (2026 for long production property and specified aircraft) generally qualifies for 40% bonus depreciation. 
  • Qualified improvement property acquired after Sept. 27, 2017, and placed in service in 2026 (2027 for long production property and specified aircraft) generally qualifies for 20% bonus depreciation. 

Learn more about bonus depreciation in our writeup here »

Can I finance my lighting project?

Yes. Customers have the option to finance their LED retrofit through the PEC Capital program.

PEC Capital is an innovative, zero-percent financing program that allows you to apply the energy savings gained from your lighting project towards your upfront cost. 

This program was designed with commercial and industrial customers in mind — offering both flexibility and customizability to best meet your financial needs. Our team will work with you to structure a financing solution that will allow you deploy impactful, energy-efficient lighting without stretching your budget, with options including:

  • 12 to 60-month terms
  • Fixed, step, or seasonal payment structures

Learn more about PEC Capital here.

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