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Illuminating the Benefits of LED Lighting

Illuminating the Benefits of LED Lighting

The Blue Book Network® is proud to announce the latest post in a series by our industry experts. The following content has been created by Caroline Shelly, of HF Planners, LLC, a Blue Book Network® Premier Member.

Bad lighting makes itself known. It is obvious when lighting isn’t right– when it’s not enough and everything is hard to see, or it’s too much, which is overpowering. Today, the internet is flooded with information on all kinds of lighting. LED lighting offers tremendous benefits, so we collected the information you need for all things LED.

Illuminating the Benefits of LED Lighting

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were invented in the 1960s and emerged as a mainstream energy option for commercial facilities in the early 2000s. Since then, lighting technology has seen significant improvements, including ways to minimize the carbon footprint of buildings, improve efficiency of work, and even save money just by switching light fixtures. Changing out actual fixtures can bring more savings than changing to a more efficient lamp, as well as improving quality, lighting, and efficiency.

LED Lights

Image: energy.gov

The US Department of Energy suggests the highest performing LED troffers were found to be up to 44% more efficient than fluorescent counterparts.

Correctly installed LEDs can lower:

  • Operating and energy costs
  • Replacement time and costs
  • Heat emittance
  • Facility cooling loads

Plus, LEDs deliver on long life, reduced maintenance requirements, and improved sustainability.

As demand increases for lighting controls due to energy code requirements, so does the opportunity for the facility manager in existing buildings to use retro-commissioning to ensure the installed controls satisfy both the design intent and requirements.

By the Numbers

A 2009 study found that whole building commissioning produced 13% median energy savings, and 16% in existing buildings. The study also found that more than 1/3 of existing buildings have lighting deficiencies.

frequency of deficiencies

Image: lightingcontrolassociation.org

Once a basic review of the lighting control system has been started, several studies show that retro-commissioning can optimize performance and energy savings. There are many incentives to switching out old lightbulbs to LEDs, including rebates. Financial incentives are commonly available for lighting renovation projects. New Jersey’s Clean Energy program has various programs. Rebates for LED luminaires are given by many utilities for Design Lights Consortium qualified luminaires. Energy codes mandate the use of lighting controls in most new institutional and commercial buildings.

When considering the switch to LED bulbs, look out for quality materials. Seek low toxicity levels – some LED bulbs contain lead, arsenic, and other potentially dangerous substances. Search for environmental adaptability features and ask about lamp testing. Search for valid UL registration numbers and look up DLC qualification. The DLC is a voluntary program that applies only to LED/SSL commercial lighting products that are not included in the Energy Star® program.

Which LED Is Best For You?

After these considerations have been made, here are some tips on deciding which light is best suited for the project:

  • Simply installing LED lamps does not guarantee a reduction in carbon footprint and lower utility bills
  • Not all LEDs are the same – the wrong LEDs may not be capable of providing energy and financial savings
  • According to US Energy Information Administration, lighting accounts for 19% of commercial sector electricity consumption

Is retrofitting the right approach?

  • Lamp replacement – some lamp fixtures can be retrofitted by simply changing out bulbs
  • Retrofit kit – mounts directly into the existing luminaire housing. These kits keep the original fixtures and converts them to energy saving LED fixtures
  • Fixture Replacement – replace entire existing fixture with an LED fixture

In short, the payback on using LED lamps can significantly improve lighting and reduce your bottom line.

Agree? Disagree? Have you made the switch to LED lighting? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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