LED Lighting Creates Better Experiences
As a facility manager of a healthcare or education facility, you understand the objective of optimal operation at a minimal cost. You spend a tremendous amount of time keeping up with requests to either fix or improve the critical assets in your facilities. Your responsibilities require you to do this in addition to focusing on bottom line needs such as budget, meeting building code requirements or certifications and still perform regular daily tasks. You look for products with high quality, long life, low energy consumption and minimal maintenance. When it comes to lighting, LEDs can deliver all these benefits without compromise. Let us take a look at three reasons why adding LED lighting to your next project will net you significant savings and an abundance of functional benefits for occupants.
Seeing the Savings
LED lighting technology has come a long way, and recent advances are making LED lighting cost comparative to traditional sources such as metal halide fixtures, while improving the lighting application. LED lighting with higher efficacy and visual performance offers facility managers a broader range of products to accommodate the various requirements to meet or exceed energy efficiency targets. Additionally, advanced lighting options such as luminaire controls, occupancy sensors, dimmable features and daylight sensing are available to reduce even more operational expenses.
Lighting accounts for 20 percent of total energy expenditures, typically greater than one-third of the total electric bill. In 2013, the nation’s education institutions spent almost $14 billion annually on energy. LED lighting can immediately reduce energy consumption and continues to help lower energy bills over its lifetime. According to the Hospital Energy Alliance, LED lighting is up to 60 percent more efficient than incumbent technology, while delivering high-quality illumination.
Compared to traditional lighting sources, LED lighting achieves an expected 50 percent energy savings and can reach up to 80 percent savings when coupled with smart controls.
Beyond high efficiency, LED lighting is also designed to easily replace existing fixtures or lamps. The replacement of lamps and fixtures that have expired requires a significant amount of resources and time. Switching to LED lighting eliminates costly relamping and maintenance of traditional light fixtures since LED luminaires have longer lifetimes, in most cases extending well beyond 50,000 hours, and can offer long warranties. This means fewer instances of facility managers disrupting the flow of the building occupants, especially in education and healthcare settings. Students are no longer distracted by maintenance personnel changing bulbs or flickering fluorescent lights. Healthcare staff can work efficiently without any barriers such as blocked hallways due to lighting replacements.
LED lighting can also play a significant role in the safety and security of individuals around exterior buildings, parking lots and walkways, since most are often lit twelve to twenty-four hours a day, year-round.
Getting Up to Code
Building standards and energy requirements are becoming more prevalent, requiring greater attention to detail when retrofitting or installing new lighting. States often differ, but generally follow the ASHRAE standards, which have been an important factor in encouraging energy efficiency and environmentally friendly practices throughout the U.S. California’s Energy Efficiency Standards, for example, have saved Californians more than $74 billion in reduced electricity bills since 1977.
LED lighting plays an important role in energy efficiency, in many settings, due to its innovative technology, which can easily integrate into sustainable design and construction, helping facility managers meet energy requirements. In response to the updated energy code demands, and in concert with progressive efficiency programs, LED lighting manufacturers continue to push the boundaries of technology in order to maximize potential benefits for building managers and occupants nationwide. For example, the Illinois Energy Now program, a portfolio of electric and natural gas efficiency programs administered by the State of Illinois, offers public sector incentives for lighting upgrades. As a result, local, state and federal government facilities and public schools, ranging from K-12 to college, were able to install LED lighting among other efficiency updates, demonstrating savings of 7.8 billion kilowatt hours and $585 million in associated energy costs.
Assessing and managing building codes and complying with state guidelines can be challenging and often becomes a full-time job. However, implementing long-lasting and energy-efficient LED lighting can help reduce this workload and add significant value to your facility’s bottom line – giving you much needed peace of mind with the flip of a switch.
Improving Facility Experiences
Delivering an optimal occupant experience is an essential objective of facility management. Since LED lighting can deliver beautiful warm or cool light with high color rendering index (CRI) and consistent color, upgrading outdated lighting with LED can improve the visual experience for students and patients alike. Compared to outdated lighting technology, LED lighting can emit light that more closely emulates natural sunlight, with some products able to exceed 90 CRI. This translates into better color recognition and a noticeably better visual environment for occupants.
For example, cooler light temperatures are said to help improve productivity and awareness in education settings throughout the school day. With two-thirds of the brain devoted to visual processing, quality lighting in classroom settings is imperative to the continued education of students. Color rendering performance helps increase reading comprehension and accuracy while delivering the kind of full-spectrum light shown in studies to result in better student work habits, improved academic performance, lower fatigue and more positive attitudes.
Lighting controls can also improve lighting experiences for occupants. Unlike other technologies, LED lighting is easily adjustable and controllable in many ways to provide customizable spaces. Advanced lighting controls, for example, can adjust the light output depending on the amount of natural light in the room. As a natural complement to LED lighting systems, daylighting has been associated with improved mood, enhanced morale, lower fatigue and reduced eyestrain. Additionally LED technology has enabled incredible flexibility in offering in-field color temperature changes (cool to warm) that can be selected by user preference or space requirements.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities, for instance, have some of the most rigorous lighting requirements of any setting, with key areas including clinical areas, patient areas, visitor areas and building exteriors. Improved lighting provides better visibility, which reduces risk of falls and accidents, while providing improved lighting for staff to perform necessary patient care.
LED lighting also offers low glare with exceptional uniformity, and LED fixtures can direct the light where it is needed. Outdoors, LED lighting can help create safer, more secure environments by providing consistent, reassuring illumination to pathways, courtyards and parking areas. Occupants can enjoy a greater sense of security thanks to the balanced distribution of light, removing dark spaces along building exteriors, pathways and parking lots.
Outdoors, LED lighting can help create safer, more secure environments by providing consistent, reassuring illumination to pathways, courtyards and parking areas. Occupants can enjoy a greater sense of security thanks to the balanced distribution of light, removing dark spaces along building exteriors, pathways and parking lots.
Toledo Public Schools (TPS) in Ohio selected LED lighting to illuminate the exterior of 42 school campuses, delivering superior light quality for security while driving down energy usage by as much as 69 percent. Well-lit outdoor spaces help students, staff and visitors travel between buildings and parking lots, dormitories, bus stops and other facilities with confidence.
Whether you are planning new construction for the facility or overseeing retrofit or renovation projects, lighting will play an important role. The latest LED technology and innovations are improving the lighting experience all while helping facility managers reach bottom line benefits and goals. LED lighting is a sound investment for the lifetime of the facility and delivers many benefits for the faculty, staff, students and patients of any school or healthcare institution.
John Casadonte is a Vertical Marketing Manager at Cree. Visit www.cree.com to learn more.