Why LED Lighting is Ideal for Pickleball Courts

Why LED Lighting is Ideal for Pickleball Courts

LED lights are characterized by excellent energy efficiency, low maintenance, high quality performance and superior longevity. Given the way pickleball is played – with a small ball that is ping-ponged at high speeds – high quality lighting is necessary for an enjoyable pickleball experience.

No matter where your pickleball courts are being installed – parks, recreation centers, neighborhoods, competitive facilities – LED lighting can provide the kind of high-quality light that even the professionals can play by.

Five Reasons to Consider LED Lighting for Pickleball Courts

LED fixtures have been adapted for a variety of sports lighting applications. With the rapid rise in pickleball’s popularity, they are ideal for pickleball courts, too. If you’re planning a pickleball project, here are five reasons to consider LEDs:

  • Energy efficiency – LED lighting has proven to be the most efficient lighting technology on the market. If you measure energy efficiency using a watt-to-lumen ratio, which compares the amount of light produced with every unit of energy, LED lighting is more than twice as efficient as a system running on metal halides. However, this does not capture the whole picture because metal halides emit illumination in an omnidirectional pattern. To make this light useful for pickleball, it needs to be reflected back down to ground level. Up to 30 percent of the original illumination output is wasted in this way. On the other hand, LEDs are directional in nature, so they emit light in a tighter spread. This makes it easier for installers to aim the fixture and ensure as much light as possible reaches the court. LEDs are vastly superior to metal halides in this area.
  • Low maintenance design – LED lights require almost zero maintenance once they are installed. They offer excellent durability against impact and in all weather conditions. They tolerate heat and cold extremely well. They are built with electrical components (the driver) that also last longer than those used with fluorescent fixtures (the ballast, for example).With an LED pickleball lighting system, your organization will save money on maintenance calls and achieve a rapid return on investment (ROI).
  • Flexible lighting distribution – LED lights are available in several light distribution patterns, and a few are purpose-built for sports venues. Type III LEDs, for example, throw their light forward from the fixture, so the pole can be positioned well off the field of play. Type III lights are also a popular choice because they emit minimal backlight, which prevents light pollution and trespass onto neighboring properties.
  • High quality performance – Early LED lights lagged in performance, but as the technology has been perfected, this problem has been resolved. Modern LED lighting systems are now prized for their high-intensity, even illumination that leaves no dead spots or hotspots. This is extremely important for pickleball courts and other high-paced sports venues. For safe play, pickleball lighting must maintain a 2.0 min/max ratio. This means the brightest part of the court cannot be more than twice as bright as the dimmest part of the court. This ensures players do not have to readjust their vision as they move around the play area.LED lighting is better at staying within these tight tolerances than other lighting options.
  • Unmatched longevity – Once a fixture’s output – in lumens – has dropped by at least 30 percent, the lamp is no longer considered usable. Metal halides reach this mark much faster than LEDs, so even though they appear extremely bright when first installed, they will be noticeably dimmer by the 10,000-hour mark. By 15,000 hours, most metal halides require replacement. On average, LED lights will provide 50,000 to 100,000 hours of high-quality performance before they hit the 30 percent mark. That means an LED lamp will last for years between replacement, even if operated around the clock, 365 days a year. ​​

Designing an LED Lighting System for Pickleball Courts

Every sports lighting system is designed according to the playing field’s dimensions. This is also true of pickleball courts. The USA Pickleball association has standardized the size of a pickleball court at 20’ (width) x 44’ (length). The dimensions of the entire court area – including the outer boundary – is around 30’ x 60’.

Four LED fixtures mounted on poles at least 20 feet high can sufficiently illuminate the area. The extra height is necessary to maintain visibility on the ball as it’s hit up into the air.

If your project includes multiple courts, you will need to scale up the number of fixtures. Standard practice is to install LED lights between pickleball courts and distribute their illumination across both. You will still need a pair of lighting poles on the outside edges of each court, but with this approach, six poles can light two courts, eight can light three, and so on.

Why High-Quality Lighting is Important for Pickleball Courts

USA Pickleball makes its lighting recommendations based on the level of play. Professional players require brighter lighting than club players, who require better light than recreational players. This is because the ball is hit harder and higher at top levels.

Regardless of the level of play, though, there are a few reasons why it is important to invest in quality lighting fixtures. For example:

  • Safety – Pickleball players can be injured if they cannot track the ball well. With high visibility lighting, players of all ages can follow the ball’s movements without having to adjust their eyes during the game.
  • Extended play hours – If you are expecting people to use the court during and after sunset, you will need pickleball court lighting that can overcome low light conditions. A high-quality LED lighting solution ensures your players can volley through the night.
  • Better play experience – High visibility lighting supports a better game experience, as players can react and perform better. Further, professionally installed LED systems are designed with zero glare, which means zero distraction on the court.

LED Lighting Can Be a Game Changer for Pickleball Courts

LED technology is established as the future of sports lighting, pickleball included. LEDs energy efficiency, performance, and longevity have them ahead of the game, so to speak.

If your pickleball courts are in the planning phase, or construction is underway, a trusted LED lighting expert can match the right fixtures to your project and ensure they are installed with precision.

Advantages Of Using Fiberglass Lighting Poles

Advantages Of Using Fiberglass Lighting Poles

Commercial lighting projects rely heavily on lighting poles to position the fixtures and ensure adequate light distribution. If a new commercial lighting project necessitates poles, you will have three primary choices in pole material – aluminum, steel or fiberglass.

The right material for your lighting poles will depend on the application and exact installation location. For many projects, fiberglass proves to be the best choice.

Three Advantages of Fiberglass in Lighting Poles

Fiberglass consists of a resin and glass fiber mix, offering an ideal combination of strength and flexibility, and here are three advantages of fiberglass lighting poles:

  • Durability and wind resistance – Fiberglass offers the best of the material characteristics of both resin and glass. Specifically, fiberglass can flex like resin while retaining the structural integrity of stiffened glass fibers. In effect, fiberglass poles offer excellent all-around durability that makes it a good fit in any application. This includes applications where large amounts of salt are suspended in the air – coastal regions, mainly. Fiberglass is inherently corrosion resistant and fiberglass lighting poles are finished with a protective coating that adds another level of durability. In this way, fiberglass is similar to aluminum in corrosion resistance.The modulus and flexural properties of fiberglass are somewhat akin to bamboo’s, which allows the material to give a little when subjected to high winds. Because this is plastic deformation, the fiberglass bends but does not break, returning to its original shape once the winds have stopped. Along coastal areas where winds can reach hurricane force, fiberglass poles are an effective counter to the extreme conditions.

    With its excellent mix of impact, corrosion, and wind resistance, fiberglass requires minimal maintenance. It is standard practice to install these poles and expect 20 or so years of reliable performance before extensive maintenance or replacement is required.

  • Lightweight – Fiberglass is significantly lighter than steel or aluminum, while retaining an excellent weight-to-strength ratio. Its reduced weight means fiberglass is easier to handle and easier to install. With fewer equipment and labor resources needed to install fiberglass lighting poles, they are the least expensive option to install.
  • Insulated material – Fiberglass is an electrical insulator, unlike metal. In fact, it is used as a material in electrical isolators due to this property. In fiberglass lighting poles, insulator qualities make it a safer choice around electrical components, as it can reduce the likelihood of an unregulated electrical discharge.

If your lighting application demands maximum durability and cost efficiency, fiberglass is a frontline option.

The Different Types of Fiberglass Lighting Poles

Fiberglass poles are available in a full selection of designs and builds, appropriate for any lighting application. They include round and square poles, as well as tapered and straight light poles.

Since fiberglass lighting poles weigh less than metal poles, they can often be installed without an anchor base. An anchor base can be installed if desired, which can provide additional impact resistance and pole heights, but it is not necessary. In applications where direct burial is appropriate, fiberglass can save property owners a lot of money in installation costs.

The light weight of fiberglass is also an advantage in security lighting applications, as it can handle considerable weight. This means that there is plenty of room for surveillance cameras and motion sensors, so property owners have additional options when installing fiberglass poles for security lighting applications.

Pair Fiberglass Lighting Poles with Photometric Analysis for Optimal Results

Fiberglass lighting poles are a viable material option in the majority of applications. To extract maximum value from your new lighting solution, it is highly recommended for businesses to seek out photometric analysis first.

During photometric analysis, the lighting team diagrams the client’s project, going as far as developing a 3D model of the property. This is all done in specialized software.

Once the client’s space is modeled, various lighting fixtures can be placed inside the model and simulated using the fixture’s real-world technical specifications. These specifications are provided by manufacturers, so it is as close as you can get to seeing how the lights will look in action.

Part of this essential analysis is determining pole height. Fiberglass poles can be installed to nearly any height, so it is the application and setting that make the determination. Whether it is a pickleball court, a parking lot, an industrial complex, a beachfront boardwalk, or another application, photometric analysis will identify the most cost effective and best performing fiberglass pole arrangement.

Fiberglass Lighting Poles are a Proven and Effective Option

With the superior combination of durability, corrosion resistance, wind resistance, low weight nature and cost effectiveness, fiberglass lighting poles are a favored choice in all types of commercial lighting projects. No matter the scale or location of your project, chances are, fiberglass poles will provide the most cost-effective lighting solution.

LED Lighting for Drop Ceilings

LED Lighting for Drop Ceilings

In the past couple decades, LED lighting has been developed for nearly every setting and application imaginable, including drop ceilings.

Commercial offices have never been known for their high-quality lighting, but LED technology is quickly changing that idea. In the past, fluorescent lighting dominated drop ceilings and office settings, but the century-old technology is getting pushed out in favor of more efficient and more effective alternatives.

LED lighting is leading that shift, and there are now several LED lighting options to accommodate drop ceiling applications.

What Types of LED Lighting are Used with Drop Ceilings?

LED drop ceiling lights are designed to fit drop ceiling fixtures already in widespread use. Those fixtures include:

  • Recessed lighting fixtures – Recessed fixtures are installed with minimal fixture overhead as they are integrated directly into the drop panels themselves. There are a few options to choose from here, including the classic downlight cans that can produce an upscale look in professional settings.There are also multihead recessed LEDs available, which look like track fixtures unless integrated into a larger housing unit. These fixtures offer some targetability and can be independently controlled to produce a larger range of color temperatures, beam spreads and brightness levels.
  • Troffer lighting fixtures – Troffers are concave, basket-shaped fixtures that take lighting tubes. They are slotted up into the ceiling and, due to their shape, emit illumination in a tighter spread compared to panels. As such, troffers are ideal for lighting individual workspaces with minimal glare.Some troffers leave the LED (or fluorescent) tubes exposed to view, while others are fitted with an optical screen for diffusing light. Like with recessed fixtures, troffers are available in a range of color temperatures.
  • Panel lighting fixtures – Panels are similar to troffers in appearance but are not concave in shape. Instead, panels offer edge-to-edge lighting and are therefore a great option for general lighting purposes. Panel fixtures conceal the LED tubes from direct view, which softens illumination and minimizes glare. Again, multiple color temperatures are available with panel lights and can also be backlit at the edges.

Four Reasons LED Lighting Makes Sense for Drop Ceilings

No matter the type of fixture your organization opts for, LED lighting will provide several benefits that will provide value right out of the box. Those benefits include:

  • Reduced operating costs – LED lighting provides a two-pronged cost advantage to facilities. The first is superior energy efficiency. Compared to fluorescent fixtures, LEDs are around 80 percent more energy efficient, which means instant savings on the utility bill.However, that is only part of the picture as LED lighting also lasts much longer than all other lighting technologies. Fluorescent tubes, for instance, will provide around 20,000 hours of illumination before replacement is necessary. Most LED tubes provide about 50,000 hours of reliable illumination – 2.5 times the lifespan of fluorescent. And lighting manufacturers are still unlocking additional reliability from LEDs, so this advantage will likely widen further with time.
  • Lower maintenance costs – Lower energy costs and lower replacement costs add up to a major cost efficiency advantage.
  • Better lighting control – LED lights are compatible with all modern lighting controls, including dimmers, timers, photocells, and various occupancy sensors. If paired with your LEDs, advanced controls can automate your system so that each fixture is only on when it is actually needed. This has obvious efficiency-first applications, but it can also be used for safety and security reasons. Essentially, smart lighting controls allow companies to unlock the full potential of their LED system, even though they are not necessary for its function.
  • Improved performance and productivity – LED lights represent a major performance boost over fluorescent lighting as they are flicker-free, produce more even lighting, and emit across the color spectrum. Fluorescents tend to spike in the green and yellow parts of the emission spectrum, which is why they leave a pallid cast that office workers are deeply familiar with. This poor-quality light can cause headaches and negatively influence well-being.LEDs emit in a pattern more akin to natural sunlight, with colors represented across the spectrum. Humans are better adapted to this emission pattern, so it is not surprising that some LED adopters are reporting improved productivity among their workers. In fact, early research backs this notion up, finding that LED lights often usher in modest productivity improvements that can make a noticeable bottom-line impact.
  • Future proofing – With the transition to “green” technologies continuing, businesses are expected to adopt more efficient and more reliable lighting technologies with time. Currently, all roads point to LED lighting in this regard, as incandescent and fluorescent-based lamps are being phased out by government regulators and manufacturers.By integrating LEDs into your facilities, your organization will remain ahead of quickly developing lighting regulations and be better equipped to forecast its future lighting investments.

Retrofit LED Lighting is Also Available for Drop Ceilings

There is a compelling case for integrating LED lights into your facilities, but initial costs may be a concern. Finding budget room for a new lighting system can be a challenge, but businesses are not required to invest in a new system to get started with LED lighting.

LED retrofit lights are a cost-effective alternative to brand new lighting solutions, as they can be plugged into existing fixtures and, in some cases, into existing electrical components like the ballast. In effect, companies can access the benefits of LED lighting technology without committing to full replacement costs.

In offices, retrofit LEDs are typically built to work with tube fixtures, like those found in troffers and panels. Fluorescent tubes have been an office building mainstay for decades. However, fluorescent tubes are steadily being phased out due to efficiency concerns. T12s have already been eliminated from the market, and T8s and T5s are about to follow.

For facilities that relied on fluorescent T12s and T8s to provide sufficient illumination, LED tubes are a near plug-and-play alternative ready for retrofit applications.

Work with a Trusted Lighting Expert When Choosing LED Lighting for Drop Ceilings

LED lighting has never been as accessible and as widely available as it is now. This includes numerous LED lighting options for drop ceilings, including retrofit products that offer the excellent efficiency, reliability, and performance that LED technology is known for.

Since every facility is different, it is highly recommended for organizations to consult with an accomplished LED lighting expert before moving forward on a new (or retrofit) project. By doing so, your lighting professional can assess the building’s existing fixtures and other lighting components, and this information can be used to determine the best LED lighting solutions for your drop ceilings.

How LED Lighting Improves Security and Safety

How LED Lighting Improves Security and Safety

As the most energy efficient lighting technology on the market, many home and business owners are interested in learning how LED lighting improves security and safety. It all starts with better system performance.

LED Lighting Improves Security with High Quality Illumination

No technology’s performance is optimized when it is first introduced, and this was also the case for LED lighting. The first LED lights couldn’t match the performance of established options like fluorescent, incandescent, metal halide and high-pressure sodium lights.

That’s no longer the case, to the point where modern LED bulbs provide superior lighting quality, compared to the alternatives. The difference is obvious when comparing LEDs side-by-side with legacy lighting options, and it comes down to a few factors, including:

  • Lumen output – LED lights emit more lumens per watt than every other lighting option. In other words, they make more light per unit of energy. This means brighter, more even illumination. Since LED lamps output more light, you can select lower wattage fixtures and get the same output as a legacy fixture.
  • Color rending accuracy – Lights are rated for their color rendering capabilities on the color rendering index (CRI). The CRI index scores lamps from 0 to 100, with higher scores for lights that render colors more accurately.High-CRI LED lighting is available for most applications, including parking lot, garage, commercial and security lighting applications. With high-CRI lamps in place, it is easier to identify colors at extended ranges, which has significant safety implications at night.
  • Color temperature – LED lighting is also available in a full range of color temperatures, which isn’t the case with legacy technologies. This includes warm, cool, and neutral white color temperatures, which are ideal for visibility purposes.

Add it up and the result is a light that provides better long-range visibility and color visibility at night. That adds up to better safety for pedestrians and motorists. It also supports other security system elements, like surveillance cameras and security patrols. With high brightness security lights in the area, criminals will find it more difficult to avoid detection.

LED Lights Are Durable and Resist Impact Damage and Tampering

LED lamps and fixtures are the most durable on the market and do not include sensitive components like filaments or glass chambers. The bulb is a tiny diode shielded by an optic, and the optic is made from durable polycarbonate or acrylic. This sits on a piece of solid-state circuitry that’s housed by an impact-resistant fixture.

There are no obvious weak points with an LED fixture, so they are much tougher to vandalize.

LED Lights Are Reliable and Always Ready

LED lighting is also more reliable than legacy technologies in several ways. For example:

  • LEDs last longer – On average, an LED light will provide 30,000 to 50,000 hours of reliable illumination before the lamp requires replacement. During its life, lumen loss is also minimal, compared to legacy options. With their extended lifespan and steady output, LED lamps offer better reliability than previous technologies.
  • LED lights can be instantly switched on and off – LED lighting doesn’t require a warm-up period before it’s switched on, and rapid cycling does not damage the lamp. This makes it ideal for security applications, where lights are kept on permanent standby.
  • LED lighting systems can be paired with advanced controls – LED technology is built on modern engineering, so it can be used with a variety of lighting controls. This includes photocells (which power the lights down during the day), timers, and most importantly, occupancy controls. Occupancy controls like motion sensors are particularly valuable for security applications, and because LEDs can be rapidly cycled without issue, you can install occupancy controls wherever you have LED lights in place.

This added reliability means that when your LED lights are needed during a critical moment, they’ll be available.

LED Fixtures are Designed for Minimal Lighting Pollution and Glare

At night, excess glare and light trespass can produce unsafe conditions for people nearby. Excess light pollution also has notable health effects on people and behavioral effects on animals. This includes attracting wildlife into populated areas.

Light pollution and trespass are safety concerns, but LED fixtures are designed to minimize their impact. There are a couple of features that LED fixtures come with to help them do this, including:

  • Shielding – Modern LED fixtures are designed with shielding that blocks any light from being emitted into the sky. Shielded fixtures also emit minimal illumination toward the horizon, which reduces glare and light pollution further.
  • Directional optics – Unlike other lighting technologies, LED lighting emits directionally. Lighting designers can leverage this advantage, ensuring the fixture only emits in desired directions, such as toward ground level. When used in street lighting applications, for example, LED lights can be aimed away from residential properties and at angles that produce less glare.

With these features, facilities can confine their security lighting to where they need it most, without creating unsafe conditions with excess light pollution.

LED Lamps Are Engineered to Emit Minimal Heat

LED’s safety also has to do with its engineering. LEDs operate using extremely efficient semiconductors that don’t waste energy emitting heat. In fact, many LEDs produce so little heat that they are safe to touch. On the other hand, all other forms of lighting emit enough heat to cause burn injuries.

LED bulbs also contain zero mercury, unlike fluorescent tubes. Mercury is toxic to touch or inhale, and if a fluorescent tube breaks, mercury is immediately released into the environment. That’s why fluorescent lights require a special waste stream for disposal purposes.

Because LEDs contain no toxic chemicals, they do not represent a potential health hazard if one does break.

LED Lighting is Unmatched in Security and Safety

To summarize, LED lighting represents an upgrade over legacy technologies in almost every conceivable way. That includes advantages in security and safety. With their superior lighting performance, reliability, controllability, design and engineering, LED lights provide excellent value when used in security applications. Please contact the experts at LED Spot with any questions.

Choosing the Best LED Lighting for any Business

Choosing the Best LED Lighting for any Business

Over the centuries, the lighting industry has experienced major jumps in innovation. But compared to everything that has come before, the jump to LED lighting technology may be the most impressive yet. It is occurring at a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it pace, with businesses all over the world drawn to LEDs for their energy efficiency, reliability, performance, and controllability, among other reasons.

If your company is one of the thousands making its own switch to LED lighting, you may be overwhelmed by the sheer number of LED lights available on the market. This guide is for you, as it is designed to identify which LED lighting products would make the most sense for your facilities.

Commercial LED Lights are Available in any Fixture Design

LED lighting was introduced almost 60 years ago, but it had plenty of engineering hurdles to overcome before it was ready for mainstream use – much less ready for demanding commercial applications.

One of the biggest hurdles to get over was fixture design. Incandescent, fluorescent and other lighting technologies had a huge head start in this area, but LEDs have caught up. There is now an LED for just about every fixture, including large-scale fixtures built for the biggest stages.

This wave of new LED fixtures is timely, as older lighting options are being phased out for energy efficiency concerns. Incandescent bulbs are now banned from manufacturing and sales. Some fluorescent tubes are also off the table, and efficiency standards in 2024 will wipe CFLs from the market as well.

For businesses, switching to LEDs is also about regulatory compliance. Fortunately, no matter what light fixtures your facilities rely on, there is an LED that will work for your application.

Which LED Fixture is the Right Choice for Your Business? Here Are Six Options

Commercial spaces are defined by their size, their shape, their purpose, their target customer and much more. As such, LED lights are engineered to cover every commercial environment. Depending on your application, the following LED fixtures may offer the perfect fit:

  • LED high and low bays – High and low bays are designed for large commercial spaces, like department and grocery stores. They are also a good fit for warehouses and are available in a handful of designs – including linear and UFO (circular) designs. High bays are for higher ceilings and low bays are for lower ceilings, like those found in warehouses and auto repair shops. LED bays are also available in a range of lumen outputs, so business owners can secure the perfect mix of energy efficiency and lighting quality.
  • LED troffers and panels – Troffers and panel fixtures are common in office buildings and other facilities with drop ceilings. Panels offer edge-to-edge illumination while troffers are slightly recessed into the ceiling, which confines the light to a tighter space. Fluorescent lights are traditionally used with troffer and panel lights, but LED alternatives are also available now.
  • LED tubes – LED tubes are purpose-built to replace fluorescent tubes in offices, workshops and small buildings like post offices. LED tubes are designed to be compatible with existing tube fixtures, so they are sized similarly to fluorescent T8s and T4s. In fact, fluorescent and LED tubes look exactly the same at a glance, but LED tubes are more efficient, safer, and longer lasting.
  • LED strips – LED strips are used to create indirect illumination – that is lighting that comes from an unseen source. Indirect illumination is an aesthetically pleasing effect in boutique retail shops (think high-end clothing), hotels, museums, restaurants and more.
  • LED streetlights – LED streetlights are quickly replacing older street lighting technologies like metal halides and high-pressure sodium. LED streetlights are available in several light distribution patterns, so they can be installed in most locations without causing excessive light pollution or glare. Commercial parking lots, interstates, neighborhood streets, parks – LED streetlights are a fit for all of the above. LED fixtures are also available in shoebox and cobra head designs, so they are compatible with most existing street lighting systems.
  • LED sportslighters – LED sportslighters are high-output fixtures designed for illuminating sports arenas, stadiums, concert halls, and other huge venues. Each sportslighter can throw tens of thousands of lumens, offering superior brightness and visibility. High-CRI LED sportslighters are appropriate for fast-moving sports where color visibility is paramount, like baseball and football.
  • LED track fixtures – LED track fixtures give businesses a targetability advantage, as they may be aimed in any direction and illuminate one or more subjects. They are an ideal fit in upscale retail shops like clothing stores and art galleries, though you will also find them in museums. LEDs work well with track fixtures as LED lighting itself is directional and can be focused on a beam pattern with relative ease.
  • LED canopy lights – Canopy lights are installed under exterior overhangs, like gas stations, transit centers and underpasses. LEDs have been adapted to fit most existing canopy fixtures, including recessed and surface mount fixtures. LED bulbs are also compatible with low bay canopies.

This isn’t a full list of every commercial LED lighting option out there. There are also a number of specialty fixtures, designed for particular industrial or commercial applications. A reputable lighting expert can supply additional options and help match the right light to your application.

Color Temperature and CRI – Choosing the Best Look for Your Business

Color temperature and color rendering are two additional, and important, attributes to consider in your commercial lighting. Each plays a significant role in how the lighting system looks and performs. Here is how:

  • Color temperature – Color temperature refers to the light’s color tone, from warm to cool, and neutral in-between. Color temperatures are selected for atmosphere creating and item displaying purposes. For example, warm LEDs are ideal for establishing a cozy, intimate setting that is better for restaurants, boutique shops and movie theaters. Cool color temperatures support better alertness and attention, so they are the right choice for office buildings.
  • Color rendering – Color rendering refers to a light’s ability to accurately display colors. Every bulb is rated on the color rendering index (CRI), a 1-100 scale, and the higher the rating, the better the lamp is at showing color. CRI may or may not be important for your commercial application, but if it is, consider bulbs that provide at least an 80 on the CRI scale – though 90 is better. In general, if the lights are used to display products, CRI matters. CRI is also important where visibility may impact safety, like in warehouses and industrial centers.

Lighting Experts Can Help Business Owners Choose the Best LED Lighting for Any Application

LED bulbs offer an unbeatable combination of benefits, including unmatched energy savings, an expanded lifespan, excellent performance, compatibility with smart lighting controls and high-quality light that may improve productivity.

And now, you can add versatility to that list. LEDs are now engineered for nearly every commercial lighting application out there, so no matter what facilities your business operates out of, there is an LED fixture built for the job.

If you are unsure which LED fixtures would work best in your application, a trusted LED lighting expert can point the way. Please contact the experts at LED Spot with any questions.

How to Effectively Manage the Ban on Incandescent Bulbs

How to Effectively Manage the Ban on Incandescent Bulbs

In 2007, a bipartisan effort was made to pass new lighting rules aimed at improving energy efficiency across the board. Named the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), the regulations were set to go into effect by 2020 but were tabled by the administration of that time.

The current administration announced in April 2022 that the rules were back in force, scheduled to go in effect on August 1, 2023.

The new efficiency standards essentially ban incandescent bulbs from manufacture or sale, meaning the incandescent lightbulb’s century-long reign as lighting king is coming to an end.

Here, we’ll address what the new rules include and how consumers can seamlessly make the switch from incandescent lighting technology.

What is Banned Under the New Lighting Efficiency Rules?

The new regulations establish two new rules. One is an updated definition of general service lamps – a catch-all term for lights with a screw-in base and those that operate with certain voltages. This includes almost all residential lights and many commercial lamps. The other rule establishes efficiency standards for lighting products. Specifically, new bulbs must output a minimum of 45 lumens per watt.

Incandescent lights only produce about 15 lumens per watt, on average. That means incandescent bulbs can no longer be produced or sold. Consumers are not required to throw their incandescent bulbs out and may continue to use them as long as they work.

Using the updated rule for general service lamps, the following lamps are not included in the ban:

  • Colored lamps (Christmas lights)
  • Infrared lamps
  • Plant and grow lights
  • Flood lights
  • Reflector lights
  • Black lights
  • Bug lamps
  • Appliance lights
  • Traffic signals

There are a few more exceptions for exotic fixtures, but for homeowners and facility managers, the important point is that most residential and commercial incandescent bulbs are now off the market.

Why are Incandescent Lightbulbs Now Banned?

The Department of Energy (DOE) is spearheading the regulatory rollout, and its justification for the ban is two-fold:

  • Reducing consumer utility costs – The DOE estimates that the switch from incandescent lighting to energy efficient lighting (LED bulbs) will cut consumer utility bills to a massive degree. The department’s estimate is approximately $3 billion every year – savings that home and business owners can both capture.
  • Reducing carbon emissions – The second reason is environmental. By transitioning to energy efficient lighting, the DOE expects to remove close to 222 million metric tons of carbon from the air over the next 30 years.

Will Future Regulations Ban Other Types of Lighting?

Resurrecting EISA is likely just the first step in a march toward tighter lighting efficiency standards. In fact, there’s a tougher efficiency standard set to take effect at the end of 2024. This standard will raise the lumen-to-watt ratio required from 45 to 120. In other words, any lights manufactured following 2024 will need to be almost three times as energy efficient, at the minimum.

That means CFL bulbs will be phased out starting then. If your building runs on CFLs, it’s time to start planning a transition. Other fluorescent fixtures – T12 tubes, for example – are also being phased out by the DOE, so any fluorescent-heavy system will need an alternative fairly soon.

LED Lightbulbs Are the Energy Efficient Alternative to Incandescent Bulbs

Whether replacing incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, LEDs are the frontline replacement in most applications. In fact, LED lighting solutions are found in more commercial buildings than any other lighting technology – a trend that continues to grow.

Here is why LEDs represent the future of residential and commercial lighting:

  • Compatibility with toughening efficiency standards – LED lights are the most energy efficient on the market, which means they are the most compatible with emerging efficiency regulations. Some current-generation LED lights can output 120 lumens or more per watt, and these ultra-high-efficiency bulbs are not just compatible with EISA, they are efficient enough for the next round of standards coming in 2024. In short, LEDs are as future proof as lighting gets these days.
  • Unmatched operating costs – LED’s superior energy efficiency can be a source of huge cost savings. Compared to incandescent lights, LEDs require about 20 percent of the energy to produce the same amount of illumination.

    Further, LEDs last much longer than all other lighting options. An incandescent bulb, for example, provides about 1,000 hours of light before it needs to be replaced. A fluorescent lamp performs for about 20,000 hours before it reaches the end of its useful life.

    An LED bulb will last for 50,000 hours or more before failure is a concern. That means fewer replacements, reduced replacement costs, and lower maintenance overhead. Combine this with better energy efficiency and LEDs are the cost-effective choice.

  • High-quality, high-performance lighting – The concern with early LEDs was that they could not match incandescent, halogen or metal halides in terms of brightness and lighting quality. That was then, this is now, and LEDs now offer comparable – or superior – illumination quality compared to other options.

    LEDs are available in a range of color temperatures, including incandescent-like warm hues. They are also available in high lumen builds perfect for commercial or exterior applications. And LED light is characterized by its even metering and excellent color rendering.

    Its flawless lighting quality means LEDs can be trusted in any application, including industrial or exterior applications where long-distance visibility and safety are paramount.

  • Better versatility – LEDs have been adapted for almost every lighting application out there, and this is only the beginning for the technology. Right now, engineers are working on never-seen-before fixture options that only LEDs can be used with. For example, there’s a near future where LED lights are integrated into clothing and household surfaces, which gives designers a whole new repertoire of lighting tools.
  • Lower environmental impact – LEDs possess a lower environmental footprint compared to older lighting technologies. Their energy efficiency is the primary reason why, but it’s not the only reason. LED fixtures are safe and nontoxic enough that they can be disposed of in a general waste stream, without fear of environmental contamination. That is not the case with fluorescents, for instance, which contain enough mercury to pose a health hazard to people and other living things.

Even if incandescent and fluorescent bulbs were not being targeted by regulators, there would still be several compelling reasons to adopt LED lighting. Now that older lighting technologies are being phased out, though, there’s additional pressure for late adopters to make the switch.

Stay Ahead of the Regulatory Curve with LED Lights

The reinstatement of EISA and the incoming 2024 efficiency standards make one thing clear – lighting standards are only going to get tougher. In response to this, many businesses have already integrated LED lighting into their facilities. For those lagging behind, time is running out.

Fortunately, switching to LED lighting is easier than it used to be, as LED retrofit solutions are widely available and can be used in nearly any application.

If your facilities are in need of an LED upgrade, but your organization cannot invest in a from-scratch lighting solution, LED retrofits are a cost-effective alternative that offer all the benefits of LED – including compliance with efficiency standards – at a budget-friendly entry point. A trusted lighting expert can walk their clients through the retrofit process, survey the facility’s existing lighting infrastructure, and recommend the most effective options.

Effective Applications for LED Lighting

Effective Applications for LED Lighting

Efficient Applications of LED Lighting

The age of LED lighting is upon us, with LED lights found in just about every application possible – from residential settings to sprawling industrial complexes. In just a couple of decades, LED lighting manufacturers have adapted the technology for a multitude of roles, to the point where there is an LED for nearly all lighting applications.

Let’s look at some of those applications and how LEDs are improving lighting technology in an array of commercial and industrial settings.

1) LED Lighting in Office Buildings Boosts Productivity

Office buildings have long been illuminated by fluorescent fixtures, but the age of fluorescent tubes is coming to an end. Already, T12 fluorescent tubes have been phased out, and T8 and T5 tubes are right behind them with the increased focus on phasing out lights that aren’t energy efficient, and those with hazardous contents (such as mercury).

LED tubes are a ready replacement, and many of them retrofittable and compatible with existing lighting systems.

In office applications, LED lighting solutions offer superior energy efficiency and lighting quality, compared to fluorescent bulbs. In this context, “quality” refers to LED’s even, no-flicker emission range and its natural sunlight-like emission spectrum.

Although difficult to see with the naked eye, every bulb emits light in a specific set of color bands, or wavelengths. Some lights, like fluorescents, emit most of their illumination in a few tight color bands – green and yellow among them. That’s why objects under a fluorescent light tend to take on a greenish cast.

LEDs emit in a spectrum much more similar to natural sunlight, with a smooth output gradient from warm to cool. People adjust better to this type of illumination, and early research shows that it can boost productivity among office workers. The improved productivity effect can add up quickly in offices filled with employees.

2) LEDs Provide Better Visibility for Parking Lots and Street Lights

The days of flickering, dim, low CRI streetlights are coming to an end. High pressure sodium (HPS) and metal halide lamps have dominated outdoor lighting applications for decades – mostly in the form of streetlights and parking lot lighting.

However, LEDs have proven to be a viable option in replacing or retrofitting these nearly obsolete lighting forms. In 2016, 30 percent of all outdoor fixtures were estimated to house LED lamps, and with time, more cities and municipalities are realizing the benefits of switching to LED lighting.

LEDs are now the standard for outdoor applications for many reasons, but excellent color rendering and minimal light pollution are two stand out advantages.

Previous outdoor lighting technologies – HPS in particular – have been characterized by poor color rendering. They do not accurately represent color, in other words. LEDs, however, are available in high-CRI designs that ensure color vividness at night. This can help people see further and with greater precision at night, improving safety.

Current generation LED fixtures are also available with baffles or shielding to minimize lighting pollution. A growing concern for many cities is light pollution, which disrupts our circadian rhythms, interferes with wildlife behavior, and disrupts the darkness of the night sky. LED streetlights and parking lot lights can be built with shields to minimize uplighting and glare – an approach made possible by LED’s directionality. Since LED lights can be aimed (they do not emit omnidirectionally), they are unmatched in precision. That’s good for humans and good for the environment.

3) Warehouse and Industrial LED Lighting Improves Safety and Efficiency

LED fixtures have also been adapted for warehouses, large industrial facilities, and expansive commercial spaces like department and big box stores. Bay lights are usually the choice here, and LED lighting products now include high and low bay options.

LED bay lights are available in linear and UFO (circular) models, so they can support any facility layout. They are also compatible with smart lighting controls that can dim or power lights on/off depending on various conditions (time, occupancy, environmental light, etc.). That can be a major power and money saver for facility owners. Those cost savings add up quickly in commercial or industrial settings where hundreds of fixtures may be required.

Warehouse and industrial workers also enjoy the productivity and safety-enhancing benefits of better lighting.

4) Sports Arena LED Lighting is Reliable and Low Maintenance

An early disadvantage for LED lighting technology was output strength. The first generation of LEDs lagged behind several competing technologies in raw output and brightness, but this is no longer the case. Some LED sportslighters can throw more than 100,000 lumens while using 60 percent less energy than HID lights.

That, combined with LED’s excellent color rendering (essential for tracking a small, fast-moving object), near-zero maintenance and extended lifespan, has LED technology positioned to take over sports arena applications. More than half of MLB stadiums have LED lights in place already, along with several NFL stadiums and a smattering of collegiate arenas. Like with other LED lighting applications, adoption rates are growing here, too, so expect to see the technology in everything from neighborhood tennis courts to 100,000 seat stadiums as time goes on.

5) Landscape LED Lighting Offers Improved Safety and Aesthetic Appeal

LEDs are also in widespread use on residential properties – both inside and out. This is due, in part, to their versatility. LED lamps can be incorporated into a variety of landscape fixture designs, including spots, floods, bollards, washes, step lights and garden lights.

Safety is a driving reason behind LED’s growing popularity in landscape applications. They are available in low voltage designs, emit extremely low amounts of heat, and do not contain significant amounts of toxic materials (as long as they are purchased from a reputable manufacturer). As such, LED lights are a safe option for use around people, pets, plants and animals.

Work with a Lighting Expert to Maximize LED Lighting Applications

LEDs have been around for about 60 years, but as a form of residential, commercial and industrial lighting – they are much younger. LEDs that could outcompete existing technologies have only been available for a couple of decades. In more recent years, the engineering and manufacturing behind LED lighting has taken off.

It’s likely that LED lighting has reached critical mass and that there is no going back to older technology. In fact, the range of LED lighting applications will continue to expand in the near future. Those applications may include smart streetlight networks, massive video walls that can be shaped and curved, and even LEDs that can be integrated into clothing.

LEDs are already the first choice in most lighting applications, and the technology behind them is set to redefine what we think of lighting in the coming years.

How to Light a Neighborhood Pickleball Court

How to Light a Neighborhood Pickleball Court

Lighting Up Your Neighborhood Pickleball Court: A Tutorial

Pickleball is the country’s fastest growing sport, and more people are wanting to learn to play every day. As such, pickleball courts are being added to more neighborhood parks, recreation centers and municipalities.

Pickleball is regularly compared to tennis, as the two sports share many similarities. One is the playing area, which consists of a hard court and net, both fenced in to contain the action. However, pickleball courts are smaller, and the action tends to be slower than a tennis match, so these courts require a unique approach to lighting. Sports lighting experts can model a new system (using photometric analysis) and ensure lighting levels are adequate for safe play, regardless of the time of day.

But when setting up a neighborhood pickleball court, there’s an important consideration – how the lights impact people living nearby.

Homeowner’s associations (HOAs) and municipal parks departments are facing a wave of pickleball projects and related lighting concerns. Specifically, how can neighborhood parks feature America’s hottest sport without frustrating people with excessive court lighting?

The answer is an LED lighting system, built with lighting fixtures designed to be minimally disruptive to communities and wildlife.

Recommended Pickleball Court Lighting Standards

Pickleball courts look like a shrunk-down tennis court or an oversized ping pong table, depending on your perspective. The court itself measures 44 feet long and 20 feet wide, though the fenced-in perimeter is considerably larger, at 61 feet long and 34 feet wide. Because they are smaller than tennis courts, it’s easier to fit more pickleball playing areas in any given space.

For lighting professionals, the best approach to illuminating one or more pickleball courts is with a set of pole-mounted LED fixtures. For recreational play, the minimum level of light for safe play is 30 footcandles at ground level – that’s 30 lumens (a measure of lighting output) per square foot. Higher lighting levels are required for higher levels of play, where the ball (and players) tend to move faster. However, for neighborhood parks, the 30 footcandle standard is sufficient.

Another lighting consideration is uniformity. If some parts of the court are too bright or too dark, it will pose unsafe playing conditions, as the player’s eyesight will not be able to adjust quickly enough to react. This is measured using lighting uniformity ratio, which takes the brightest level of light and divides it by the dimmest. An ideal uniformity ratio for pickleball is 2.0 or better – meaning the brightest area on the court cannot be more than twice as bright as the dimmest. This is a tight ratio for sports courts and reinforces the notion that pickleball lighting systems require professional precision.

What an LED Pickleball Lighting Solution Includes

While those are the official pickleball lighting standards, any local lighting requirements will obviously supersede them. In some areas, these ordinances are stringent, demanding near-zero lighting pollution, glare and light trespass. There may be additional requirements for when the lights are allowed to operate, and how efficient the system must be. There may be standards for pole height and wind safety as well. In short, there are many factors to consider, so pickleball court lighting is often designed on a case-by-case basis.

In most cases, though, LED lights offer an unbeatable combination of lighting quality and minimal disruption.

An LED pickleball court lighting system consists of several lighting poles and mounted LED fixtures. Each fixture houses an LED luminaire, and each luminaire houses numerous diodes emitting illumination in tandem.

The number of lighting poles and their height depends on the project, though a widely accepted standard is 20-foot poles. For most installation projects, more than one pickleball court will be placed. In many cases, there are a dozen or more courts in a single park – so lighting poles can be arranged between courts and used to illuminate more than one court. In general, expect to see two or four poles for a single court, and the number will scale up from there for more courts.

How LED Lighting Technology Ensures Compliance with Local Ordinances

As a modern lighting technology, LED fixtures can be readily adapted to meet toughening lighting ordinances. This typically includes restrictions on the amount of light trespass (the amount of light allowed to emit from the property), but there are several standards to account for, including dark sky, pole height, wind rating, and efficiency standards. Here is how current-generation LED fixtures are designed to exceed those standards:

  • Lighting trespass and pollution restrictions – LED lights are directional by their engineering, meaning their output can be precisely aimed without the use of reflectors or other special optical features. This directionality means LED fixtures can be installed so that their output is shaped to fit the pickleball court.

    LED lights are available in several output distribution patterns, including options that direct almost all the illumination forward and prevent significant backlight and trespass.

    Fixtures can also be fitted with a baffle attached to the back of the luminaire, which blocks out any backlight and ensures the illumination only goes where it is intended.

    Finally, putting together a photometric analysis prior to construction will show, down to the lumen, where the system’s output is going. Lighting experts can make numerous fine adjustments to their analysis to achieve excellent court visibility while minimizing lighting pollution.

  • Dark sky (uplighting) restrictions – Related to the previous point, many municipalities are introducing dark sky restrictions. These restrictions are aimed at promoting a clearer night sky, reducing the negative impact of lighting on human sleep/wake cycles, and reducing the impact on area wildlife.

    In general, these restrictions are designed to cut down on uplighting, which is illumination that is cast into the sky instead of on the ground. Uplighting has no benefit to people and is therefore a nuisance.

    But LED fixtures, again because of their directionality, can be configured to emit near-zero uplight. This is typically done by shielding the fixture, which “funnels” output into a tight cone of desired lighting angles. Any light that is aimed upward or at angles that could cause glare are shielded out.

  • Pole height standards – Some HOAs and municipalities also place limits on the height of light poles. Ideally, pickleball court fixtures are mounted to poles at least 20 feet high, but in areas where this is prohibited, an experienced lighting expert can make the project work with 15-foot poles. LED lighting and its highly customizable distribution patterns make this possible.

    If pole height restrictions are present, it’s critical to put together a photometric analysis beforehand. This will ensure adequate lighting levels are possible and ensure the HOA or city knows what the system will look like prior to installation.

  • Wind rating standards – In some areas – particularly those along the coast – wind can be a threat to lighting fixtures and poles. As such, it is common to see wind ratings incorporated into lighting standards. These ratings describe the maximum wind speeds the fixture is capable of withstanding before the risk of failure becomes too great.

    LED technology also helps with compliance in this regard. LED fixtures are lighter and more compact than older lighting options. They also do not require bulky reflectors (that’s LED’s directionality again), which add more weight and surface area to the light. It is therefore easier for lighting installers to adhere to critical wind ratings when using LED lights.

LED lighting technology is also the most energy efficient available, requires minimal (if any) maintenance, is rated for more than 50,000 hours of excellent performance, and can be used with an array of modern lighting controls. Add it all up and LED lighting solutions are not only compliance-friendly, but they are also the most cost effective for HOAs and municipalities to operate on an ongoing basis.

LED Solutions Keep the Light on the Pickleball Court

As pickleball continues to grow in popularity, more HOAs, parks departments and community centers are preparing to install courts for a growing body of players.

And luckily for pickleball players, and the decision makers responsible for approving court construction, LED lighting has evolved to the point where it is a perfect fit for neighborhood parks and sport courts. LED lighting’s unmatched precision, compatibility with shields and baffles, lightweight build, excellent efficiency and excellent durability makes LED pickleball lighting the ideal option.

Debunking Four LED Lighting Myths

Debunking Four LED Lighting Myths

Disproving Four Common Myths About LED Lighting

LED technology is taking over the lighting industry, and for good reason. LED bulbs offer excellent energy savings, an extended lifespan, instant startup, and many other benefits. But even as LED lighting makes progress, myths about the technology are still widespread.

Let’s address four of the most stubborn myths surrounding LED bulbs and shed some light on the truth of the technology.

Myth #1: LED Lighting is Too Expensive

This is perhaps the most persistent myth regarding LED lighting, causing many companies to avoid installing LED lights for fear of their perceived cost.

LED lights cost more than older types of light bulbs, but this fact only speaks to the upfront cost. There is also ongoing operating costs that need to be considered. This includes:

  • The cost of energy consumption
  • The cost of lamp replacement
  • The cost of lost productivity (due to poor lighting quality)

LED lamps have the advantage in all three areas over all other forms of lighting. LED fixtures are the most energy efficient available, with significant advantages over fluorescent tubes, metal halides, halogen, and other technologies. Part of this advantage is derived from the lamp itself, which uses a sophisticated semiconductor chip instead of filaments or pressurized gas. An additional advantage is due to LED’s directional nature. LED bulbs cast illumination directionally instead of omnidirectionally (like fluorescents and metal halides) – meaning they can be aimed with precision. As a result, less power is needed to get enough light to the target.

As for maintenance and lamp replacement – a high quality LED bulb will last for at least 50,000 hours, which adds up to about 12 years of 12-hours-a-day illumination before replacement is needed. Compare this to fluorescent tubes (about 20,000 hours) and metal halides (10,000 hours at most), and the replacement cost advantage is rather clear.

Modern LEDs also produce high quality illumination that can facilitate greater productivity. Their brilliant output is similar to sunlight in emission range, so it’s the next best thing to natural sunlight. For many workers, this is a welcome change from the green pallor (and headaches) that fluorescent tubes are known for. Research shows that retrofitting LED lighting comes with a modest per-worker productivity boost. For large facilities that rely on hundreds or thousands of workers, this added productivity can offset overhead costs.

Add it all up and LED’s operational cost advantage means a return on investment in as short as a couple of years.

Myth #2: LED Lights Are Not as Bright as Older Lighting Technologies

LED lights were not immediately embraced by the industry as first-generation LEDs could not compete in lighting output or quality.

That is to be expected with any new technology, but LED lighting has definitely made up the gap. High quality LEDs now generate more lumens per watt than all other lighting options. That means more light per unit of energy spent.

LED fixtures and lamps can also be scaled up to any degree, including massive stadium sportslighters that can throw 50,000 or more lumens. And again, because LEDs are directional, more of that light reaches its intended target.

LED lights are also available in neutral and cooler color temperatures that are usually perceived as brighter, compared to warmer lamps. With these facts in mind, it is no surprise that LEDs are also replacing older street lighting technologies, like high pressure sodium lamps, as they support better night-time visibility.

Myth #3: LED Lighting Produces Zero Heat

Another benefit of LED’s energy efficiency is its low heat output. Since the technology wastes very little energy on thermal waste, it outputs a fraction of the heat that other lights put out. As such, LED lights tend to be a safer option and less burdensome on a facility’s HVAC systems.

However, no lighting system can be 100 percent efficient, and the same is true of LED lighting technology. A tiny amount of heat is generated as part of the lighting process, and this heat needs to be controlled to preserve the lamp’s reliability. Poor internal heat regulation will lead to early LED failure.

That is why LED lighting manufacturers include heat sinks with every lamp. Onboard heat sinks are responsible for capturing and dispersing thermal energy, ensuring it does notcollect around the light and affect its performance. So, while LEDs are not exactly heat-free, they do manage thermal waste in a much more efficient and controlled way.

Myth #4: LED Lights Emit Unsafe Levels of Blue Light

Blue light may be an emerging health concern among medical researchers, as this energizing light can disrupt circadian rhythms and therefore affect sleep quality. LEDs have been blamed for outputting blue light, perhaps owing to LED’s reputation as a cooler light.

However, multiple lighting agencies have reported that the blue light emitted by LEDs is no more concerning than the blue light emitted by other lighting products. When controlling for color temperature (cooler lights do emit more blue illumination than warm lights), the amount of blue light emitted by LED lighting is no different than other sources.

Fact: LEDs Are the Present and Future of Lighting Technology

The truth is that LED lighting is quickly replacing older lights in a wide array of applications. In 2018, almost half of all commercial buildings were utilizing LED lighting to some degree. That number is significantly higher now.

No technology is perfect, of course, but LED lighting is in the best position, among all lighting options, to get as close to perfect as possible. Since its introduction decades ago, LED lights have improved in quality and reliability, while dropping in costs. Since LED lighting is a relatively new technology compared to other lighting options there is still plenty of room to improve LED engineering and optimize lighting products further. Contact your lighting expert today to start your journey into creating a brighter future.

Why LEDs are Poised to Light the Future

Why LEDs are Poised to Light the Future

The LED lighting revolution is well underway, yet in many ways it is really just getting started. It’s been more than half a century since LED lights were invented, but even the geniuses behind the engineering could not have guessed that the future belonged to LED technology.

Today, LEDs are rapidly replacing all other bulbs in every application imaginable, but replacing older lights is only the beginning. LED fixtures are poised to rework how we think about lighting, from an efficiency, appearance, and even health standpoint.

How LEDs Helped Phase Out Incandescent and Fluorescent Lighting

For more than a century, Edison’s most impactful invention – the incandescent bulb – has provided the world with warm illumination, and fluorescents have provided larger commercial spaces with reliable (albeit unattractive) illumination.

But time is up for these outdated lighting options, which pale in comparison to LEDs in several ways. Here is some insight on how LED technology made its way to becoming a frontline lighting option:

  • LEDs have an unbeatable efficiency advantage – The topline benefit for LED lighting has always been its energy efficiency. Early on, it was clear that LED lamps could improve facility efficiency, but this advantage has become more pronounced with time. Today’s LED lighting products can achieve luminous effectiveness ratings of 170 lumens per watt, and manufacturers believe LEDs with 200 watt-to-lumen ratios will be available soon.In fact, some experts believe that LED lights could eventually achieve luminous effectiveness ratings in excess of 400 lumens per watt, but it’s not clear just yet on whether there will be a market for those.

    The point is, LED bulbs are so efficient because of their underlying engineering, which uses semiconductor technology to transform electricity to illumination at the atomic level. While other lighting technologies rely on metal filaments or pressurized gasses to emit light, LED fixtures represent the power of modern engineering.

    For property owners, this overwhelming efficiency advantage promises a rapid return on investment and compliance with toughening efficiency regulations.

  • LEDs minimize operating costs for facility owners – LED’s other primary cost-saving mechanism is its minimal maintenance design. The typical LED light lasts for 50,000 hours before it’s time to consider replacement. With improving energy efficiency metrics, LED fixtures are improving in lifespan as well. It’s not difficult to see a future where LED lights regularly provide 100,000 hours or more of reliable illumination. And during their lifespan, LED bulbs need almost no attention from maintenance crews, providing the ultimate install-and-forget lighting option.With fewer replacements and less maintenance to budget for, facility owners can recoup their investment faster.
  • LEDs can be adapted for a much larger range of applications – An impressive, but often overlooked advantage of diode engineering is its scalability. LEDs can be manufactured in a huge array of form factors, including microscopic diodes that can be integrated into clothing.LEDs are unlocking designer and installer creativity in ways that would have been unexpected just five years ago. They can already be integrated into a range of surfaces and materials, with no visible bulb, fixture, or wiring interfering with the final look.

    For businesses, LED’s versatility means an expanded range of applications that can reduce costs and boost visual impact.

  • LEDs offer precision controllability – LEDs are far more compatible with modern lighting controls than older technologies. The implications here are vast, but for facility managers, the immediate result is better energy efficiency, security, and productivity.Dimmers, timers, photocells, and occupancy controls can all be easily attached to LED fixtures, and this is only the start, as we’ll address in a bit.

Why LED Lighting is Taking Over Commercial Spaces

No matter the application, LEDs provide better efficiency, versatility, and controllability. Commercial properties obviously benefit from these factors, but there are additional reasons why LED lighting is taking over commercial spaces.

Survey data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) drives this point home. In 2012, only 9 percent of commercial buildings were fitted with LED lighting equipment. In 2018, that number had jumped to 44 percent, with only fluorescent lighting still ahead of LEDs (though fluorescent lighting did drop in popularity during the same timespan from 84 percent to 68 percent).

When the EIA’s newest survey data is available within a couple of years, it will likely show what lighting experts already know – that LED lighting is now the undisputed lighting leader.

In addition to LED’s impressive efficiency, reliability, and performance, there are a few reasons why LED lighting technology is dominating commercial settings. They include:

  • Government incentives and regulations – Energy efficiency means businesses pay less for their lighting. It wasn’t too long ago that companies were dedicating up to 40 percent of their utility costs to lighting. This number is quickly trending down and it’s likely that lighting costs will represent less than 10 percent of a commercial building’s utility expenditures year-over-year.That energy efficiency is also relevant for regulatory reasons. Incandescent bulbs are already becoming difficult to find among lighting suppliers, and most T12 fluorescent tubes are following suit. The reasoning behind these regulatory waves is to improve overall lighting efficiency among commercial facilities, and it’s a pattern that companies should anticipate going forward.
  • Access to less expensive LED retrofit products – The upfront cost of a new LED lighting solution has been a hurdle in the past, but numerous retrofit options are now available to commercial facilities. These retrofit LEDs are available in a comprehensive range of fixture designs (tubes, panels, etc.) and can be used with existing lighting infrastructure. With retrofit fixture options available, companies can enter the LED lighting market without committing as much upfront.
  • A boost to worker productivity and safety – LED lighting emits in a full spectral range, akin to natural sunlight. Our bodies seem to adjust best to this type of light, as LED lighting solutions are often accompanied by a worker productivity boost. That is what recent research shows, and though the boost was minor, it was cumulative among workers, so companies with larger facilities can reap significant productivity bonuses from LEDs.Along that line, workers tend to be more alert and comfortable in the presence of LED light. This can improve worker attention and focus while on the job, which correlates with increased safety.

Three Ways LED Technology Will Transform Urban Lighting Solutions

LED lighting’s victory isn’t limited to buildings. It’s also poised to transform how cities and municipalities deploy their lighting resources. We’re still in the early stages, but there are exciting LED lighting concepts on the near horizon – concepts that we may see deployed in the next several years. Three of them include:

  • Smart LED lighting controls and sensor networks – LED’s extensive controllability is yet to be fully leveraged, but cities are getting closer. Smart controls, for example, can be integrated into street lighting and used to dim an attached LED streetlight, power it on or off, change its color, tell it to strobe, amongst other interesting things.With these controls in place, streetlights can respond to people or vehicles in the vicinity and only output at full intensity as needed – further improving efficiency. These features can also be used to point out alternative traffic routes and direct first responders to emergencies.
  • Networked monitoring and remote configuration – LED street lighting systems can also be remotely monitored and managed from a central location, giving utilities granular control over their resources.For instance, a networked lighting solution can send an alert back to home base when a fixture’s output dips below a certain level. Maintenance crews can respond before failure and ensure no interruption in lighting.

    LED lighting systems can remain modern with regular updates to fixture firmware. These updates will be remotely pushed over from a central location, ensuring the entire system remains up to date.

  • Minimal (or zero) glare fixtures – Light pollution is an emerging concern, for humans and the environment. Our ever-expanding cities are pumping out so much illumination that it’s interfering with wake/sleep patterns, migration patterns, and blotting out the night skies.Older lighting technologies had to answer for these issues, but modern LED fixtures are directional to the point where they can be precision-aimed and shielded to minimize uplighting. This same approach can be used to minimize glare and ensure lighting solutions only illuminate what should be illuminated.

From Novelty to Gold Standard, LED Technology is Lighting the Way to a Better Future

LED lighting has captured headlines for decades, so the ongoing lighting revolution may not be getting the attention it deserves. What is clear, though, is that LED technology is changing the way lighting professionals design, manufacture and implement lighting solutions.

That means LED lights are not just poised to light the future – They’re bringing the future of lighting to people, businesses, and cities everywhere.