Creating Safer and More Efficient Facilities with LED Lighting
Businesses, facilities, and parking lots everywhere are quickly adopting new solid-state lighting technology. The most popular technology being adopted is LED, which is known to bring many benefits to both commercial and industrial applications.
In broad terms, the benefits of LED directly and indirectly allow for safer and more secure environments along with energy savings and cost reductions associated with a typical lighting system. For a lighting system to truly create a safer and more efficient area, it must have certain attributes to it. For LED these attributes line up perfectly, allowing a facility to realize the best of both worlds – safer areas while reducing costs.
Creating Safer Areas with LED
Certain attributes directly or indirectly contribute to the safety and security of a facility or outdoor area. Whether it’s avoiding underlit areas or ensuring the lighting system isn’t wearing down workers in fragile environments: these are very critical things proper lighting system addresses, which will in turn remove potentially costly issues from occurring due to lighting system weaknesses.
No Flickering or Buzzing
Whether it’s a production line, refinery, or an office, a major disruption to standard procedures can be caused by flickering or buzzing lights.
Flicking lights can cause a couple of issues. First, less than optimal visibility with what’s being worked on. This is especially crucial to avoid for environments where dangerous activities are involved and details are important. With flickering lights, it can distort the workspace and lead to less-than-optimal working conditions. Along with distorted views, flickering lights can also put strain on the eyes. While at the beginning of the day this typically won’t cause issues, as the day goes on, decrease in output can result due to eyestrain. Again, this can lead to mistakes in a dangerous environment or simply reduce work output in any environment.
As for buzzing, it can cause similar issues like eyestrain. Irritation from the buzzing won’t affect everyone, but for those that are effected it can lead to issues including irritation, irritability, and distraction. This result is not suitable for any work environment, be it an office or dangerous facility.
These issues are prevalent when HID lighting technologies like metal halide or high-pressure sodium (HPS) are in place. When converting an HID lighting system with a commercial LED alternative, the issue is removed entirely due to the way LED technology is built, which allows them to never flicker or buzz at any point during their lifespan.
Lumen Depreciation and Underlit Areas
Underlit areas can cause big issues especially in environments where things are quickly moving and dangerous to work with. Underlit areas occur in one main way: through lumen depreciation. This is the process in which a lighting fixture loses its lumen (or light) output over its lifespan.
While this does happen with all lights, each type of light will depreciate differently.
Regarding LED, it depreciates the slowest when compared to other HID lights. This allows for an LED system to avoid having an underlit area (inside or out) even near the end of its lifespan. Assuming, for example, that a metal halide bulb loses 50% of its lumen output by the end of its lifespan and an LED bulb only loses 15%, it’s obvious that a 50% loss in output is far too great to maintain a properly illuminated area.
Reducing Overhead in Multiple Ways with LED
The number one reason companies are converting to LED in commercial and industrial applications is because of energy savings. Considering that a conversion to LED from technologies like metal halide or HPS can result in up to 75% energy savings, it’s very clear on why the conversion makes sense financially without even considering other cost saving and safety benefits.
Lumens per Watt Saves
Defining how efficient a lighting fixture is comes down to one main thing: lumens per watt. Too often, companies compare fixtures on a watt-to-watt basis and skip over the lumen per watt ratio.
In simple terms, the more lumens per watt the more effective the light is at outputting light. Dwayne from MyLEDLightingGuide put it this way:
“If you think in watts, and not lumens and lumens/watt, your pocket book may be taking a big hit.”
The reason this is so true is that a watt-to-watt comparison is irrelevant. For example, consider a metal halide light that outputs 15,000 lumens in total but requires 400 watts to run it. That comes out to about 37.5 lumens per watt. Compare that to an LED light that outputs the same 15,000 lumens but only requires 100 watts, a total of 150 lumens per watt. That’s a big difference, and it’s the exact reason companies are realizing up to a 75% reduction in energy consumption related to their lighting system.
Always considering the efficiency of a light by its lumen to watt output versus just the amount of watts will lead to the achieving the best value. Even when comparing two LED options, not all LEDs are created the same. Some companies offer more lumen per watt output, and those are the options that are typically best for ROI.
LED vs HID lighting proves LED to be the winner in lifespan by lasting up to 50,000 hours and sometimes all the way up to 100,000 hours, compared to just 15,000, which is common with HID lights. This leads to a two to three times increase in lifespan. This carries two main benefits:
The first benefit which is most considered is the fact that fewer replacement lights will need to be bought because LEDs simply last longer. The second benefit, which is commonly overlooked, is the costs associated with paying someone to replace those burnt out lights. This cost can vary, but it’s especially great when the light fixtures are higher in the air and take more time to replace. By converting to LED and thus increasing the lighting system’s lifespan by 2 to 3 times, the realized cost savings comes from less replacement light purchases and less cost towards paying someone to replace those burnt out lights.
By considering these benefits that LED technology is bringing to facilities, buildings, and businesses of all sizes, it is clear as to why the technology is ever-increasingly growing in popularity. From energy savings to increased safety and security, it’s becoming an easier choice by the day for companies to convert to LED and realize a multitude of benefits.
Dwayne Kula is the founder of MyLEDLightingGuide.com, which specializes in industrial and commercial LED lighting. He can be reached at 888.423.3191.