In 2004, Mary O’Donnell and Susan Pelham opened their first office in the unfinished ground floor of an Orlando-area office building. Ten years, eleven offices and almost 200 employees later, that same space serves as Westcor Land Title Insurance Company‘s headquarters, home to 80 employees working in its administrative, accounting and legal teams.
When Westcor outgrew its current office space, they wanted its new headquarters to focus on what was most important: the employee experience. Larger offices, flexible workspaces and high-quality LED lighting helped create a more comfortable, productive environment for Westcor employees.
“Our old space had terrible lighting and our employees were constantly complaining of headaches and eye strain,” says Pelham. “They were even bringing in their own personal lamps to try and make their work easier to accomplish. So we knew lighting would be an important factor in the move.”
Prior to renovation, Westcor’s offices were lit by fluorescent fixtures that had dulled and begun to make noise over time. Employees often complained about inconsistent lighting and a constant buzzing sound coming from the lights, opting to work in the dark or use their own desk lamps rather than turn on the fluorescent fixtures. Westcor turned to Blakeslee Design to design a lighting system that provided optimal light quality and consistency to help create a better balance for employees.
“When we began the renovation process, I knew that the quality of lighting would be essential to the success of the project,” says Robert Blakeslee, lighting designer on the project. “It was really less about the material and more about color rendition. We used a lot of textures and bright color accents in the space and without superior color rendition, you’re basically just wasting your money.”
Westcor installed more than 100 Cree KR4 specification grade LED downlights and more than 200 Cree CR22 LED troffers in the 20,000-plus square foot space. With Cree’s TrueWhite Technology, the office receives a combination of 90+ CRI and lifetime color accuracy and consistency.
“They brought in two different forms of light,” says John Casadonte, Product Marketing Manager for Cree. “One a fluorescent light, and shined it over the textiles that they were going to bring in, and then they took our LED light and did the same. It was almost an immediate impact on the owners, and that’s when the decision was made essentially. They could actually see for themselves how different the environment was going to look.”
The clear, consistent light that Cree LED lighting adds to the space has not gone unnoticed by employees, who attribute the new lighting to feeling more content while working.
“We’re hearing so many positive things about the new lighting,” says Pelham. “Most of the employees in this office do a lot of intense paperwork, and the purer light leaves their eyes feeling less tired at the end of the day, and has alleviated the need for additional desk lamps.”
Westcor shares monthly utility expenses evenly with other tenants in the building, so the cost benefit had not been felt as much as in spaces where utility costs are more of a concern. However, the overall building has benefitted from the energy efficiency that the LED lighting solution has produced. In addition, the LED lighting has required less maintenance than other lighting options, causing fewer interruptions to the daily workflow in the office.
“Since we have a full service lease and are not separately metered, there is no direct cost benefit beyond the shared expense of the entire building,” says Pelham. “We believed new LED lighting was the best choice even though there was no direct monetary advantage in this decision. The fact that they are relatively maintenance-free was a major consideration.”
Improved light quality and color rendering, reduced energy consumption and virtually no required maintenance add up to a lighting solution that has provided Westcor’s employees with the consistent and comfortable work space they need to be productive. Ten years ago, Westcor set out to create a successful business that prided itself on quality work with quality, valued employees. With its new space, and new lighting solution, they continue to do just that.