5 reasons LEDs a must in green buildings

April 6, 2017

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The technology for buildings is ever improving; and that goes for your lighting system, too.
In today's world, ignoring lighting is ignoring one of the most important aspects of creating a green and efficient building. For this reason, it’s important to talk about and cover why an LED lighting system is the green lighting solution.

Old technologies like metal halide, high-pressure sodium, CFL, and even fluorescent are all subpar in virtually every aspect when compared side-by-side with LED. The benefits of LED include things such as more efficient, longer life span, non-toxic and more. Other benefits that LED fixtures offer, while not directly related to being green, certainly add to the list of why LED is the future of green buildings, and all buildings in general.

Cities and businesses report great savings when converting their internal and external lighting fixtures over to LED. For example, the city of Los Angeles is saving around $5.3 million annually from its conversion to LED from sodium street lights. While this is an extreme case and a massive project, smaller businesses also report huge savings by converting their fixtures, too.

So, exactly why are they making the choice to convert? Let’s go over the main benefits that make LEDs are a must in your green building:

1. Energy savings up to 75 percent.It’s not rare for buildings to reduce energy usage associated with a lighting system, when converting to LED, by more than 50% all the way up to 75%. Such savings are the No. 1 factor most facility managers and building owners consider when making the conversion.

LED efficiency is another factor to consider. Typically, switching from any lighting technology to LED will result in energy savings.

“For example, a customer wants to replace 400W metal halide light. The competitor’s product produces 13,164 using 135 watts,” said Dwayne Kula, owner of MyLEDLightingGuide. “That’s 97 lumens per watt. Comparatively speaking, our LED kit produces 15,776 lumens. That’s 150 lumens per watt. To produce 13,164 lumens, we would dial our light back to 87.76 watts. That’s 47.24 watts less energy consumed to produce the same amount of light.”

Thus, converting to LED is one thing. Converting to the most efficient LED is another. The best way to determine efficiency is by going for the higher lumen-per-watt output. The more lumens a light outputs per watt, the more efficient it is compared to another light.

2. Longer lifespans.Longer lifespans leads to multiple benefits. The first and main benefit is the less frequent purchasing of replacement luminaires. Considering an LED may last two to three times longer than a comparable lighting technology, you can reduce the amount of replacement lights you have to buy by two to three times.

This leads to less waste and less maintenance. Believe it or not, this commonly overlooked benefit of the longer lifespan an LED offers can reduce further your costs associated with your lighting system.

Since most light fixtures in commercial buildings are higher in the air, paying someone to replace them can get expensive. By increasing the lifespan, you will be able to pay some less often to replace the lights when they burn out. Also, you can reduce the amount of waste by throwing out old light bulbs less often.

3. No mercury.In fragile environments, such as hospitals or even schools, mercury has no place. In fact, it really has no place in any application, due to it’s hazardous traits.

As you can imagine, being in contact with mercury is not advised. Thus, when a CFL bulb is broken (which contains mercury), you have to take serious precautions to clean it up safely. And even if you do it safely, it can still be too late and cause harm dependant on the environment it is in.

Whether the conversion to LED is going on in a hospital, school or office, you will reduce the risk that comes along with a broken CFL light.

In addition to the immediate health risk to humans, it also brings up issues in the environment. If not recycled properly, mercury contamination can cause many issues. The main effect is on animals, which results in bioaccumulation and can lead to many issues.

4. Quality of light is improved.Whether you have issues with flickering, buzzing or underlit areas, these are all virtually non-existent with LED. Unlike other HID technologies, LED will never flicker or buzz in its lifespan.

Additionally, a common issue with a building's lighting design is that overtime it develops underlit areas. This is due to lumen depreciation, the process in which a light loses its lumen output over its lifetime.

Although LEDs depreciate too, it is typically not nearly as rapid. For example, while a metal halide light might lose 35 percent of its light output by the end of its life, an LED might of only lost 15 percent. For this reason, it is common that a lighting system built with LEDs are less likely to cause any underlit areas at any point in the light's lifespan.

5. Save more with qualified lights and retrofits.The No. 1 reason companies aren’t converting to LED is because of the initial investment.

LED’s popularity and the technology are rapidly increasing. They are becoming more efficient and cheaper to purchase. In addition to the cheaper costs, there are two main ways to reduce your new lighting system costs.

The first is to buy qualified lights (typically DLC-qualified). This opens you up to rebate opportunities, which reduce the cost of your lighting fixtures initial investment. While this can vary with each utility company, it is an important qualification to ensure comes with your lights. Not only will it open you up to rebates, but it also ensures you are getting tried and tested lighting fixtures that are of quality. As a general guideline, it's advisable to only buy qualified lights.

In addition, by retrofitting your existing fixtures with LED instead of a full replacement, you can save even more. Not only are retrofits cheaper, but they are easier to install, which means cheaper to pay someone to replace your existing luminaires with LED. Lastly, by retrofitting over fully replacing, you cut down on waste by only replacing what needs to be replaced, and that’s the inefficient luminaires.

Provided by MyLEDLightingGuide.com.


Topics: Building Owners and Managers, Construction Firms, Consulting - Green & Sustainable Strategies and Solutions, Energy Saving Products, Engineering Firms, Great Commercial Buildings, Lighting - Energy Efficient Lighting, Sustainable Communities, Technology, Urban Planning and Design


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