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How LED Lighting Saves Business Owners Money

How LED Lighting Saves Business Owners Money

LED lighting can save business owners money in a variety of ways, including the following:

  • LEDs reduce energy consumption and energy bills
  • LED lights can be precision-controlled to reduce costs further
  • LED bulbs last longer, so fewer replacements are needed
  • Tax incentives can reduce the cost of installing LED lighting

Together, these benefits can provide a quick return on investment (ROI), especially for business owners who operate large commercial properties.

How Much Money Can LED Lighting Save Business Owners?

To get a detailed idea of a company’s savings, a consultation with a lighting expert is a great first step. During consultation, the lighting team will perform a site survey, noting the age and condition of the existing lighting equipment. They will also determine the number and types of fixtures in the facilities. With this information, the lighting expert can provide a detailed estimate of the LED lighting system and what the company stands to save by making the switch.

There are some general guidelines that can be used to roughly calculate the potential savings for the business.

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions states that companies spend about 20 percent of their total energy bill on lighting. For some businesses, that number may be as high as 40 percent.

Compared to legacy lighting systems, LED can cut energy usage by up to 80 percent. So, if a business spends 20 percent of its energy on lighting, switching to LED lighting could immediately trim 15 percent or more from its utility bills. Depending on the size and nature of the facility, that may mean thousands of dollars every year in energy savings.

But that is only one part of the picture because LED lighting provides a couple of other notable cost benefits. Specifically, here is how LED lighting can save a business money:

1) LED Lighting is More Energy Efficient and Costs Less to Operate

As previously mentioned, LED lighting can greatly reduce energy usage and utility bills. LED lighting systems achieve this in two ways – at the source level and at the system level:

  • Source level – At the source, LED lamps have a modest, but significant energy efficiency advantage over metal halide and fluorescent fixtures (both of which are being discontinued). On average, LED’s luminous efficiency (the lumens it puts out per watt) is around 100, and current generation LEDs are already pushing past that. Fluorescent and metal halide lights range between 50 and 100 lumens per watt, but both decline rapidly and do not retain their out-of-the-box luminous efficiency for long.
  • System level – LED’s energy efficiency advantage is mostly captured at the system level. LED fixtures emit light directionally, which makes it easier to position the bulb for maximum effectiveness. It can be aimed, which means more light reaches the intended target. If the lighting installer can do photometric analysis, they can use LED’s directionality to minimize the amount of power needed for the system. Other lighting technologies are omnidirectional, which means they emit illumination in every direction. This leads to a significant amount of waste and reduced system performance. The only way to compensate for this is to attach bulky reflectors onto the fixture, for an additional cost.

2) LED Lighting Systems Can Be Controlled to Boost Energy Efficiency

LED lighting is a modern technology adapted for modern lighting controls, which can unlock another level of energy efficiency. For example, pair dimmers and occupancy controls together with the LEDs and they can dim up and down depending on whether someone is nearby. In areas where people are not active, the system saves additional power by reducing or shutting down fixtures that are not needed.

LED’s controllability makes it an ideal security lighting option as well. When occupancy controls detect someone, they can immediately power up the LED lights and ensure there is enough illumination for surveillance. In this way, LED lighting may save money by deterring crime.

3) LED Fixtures Require Near Zero Maintenance and Have an Unmatched Lifespan

Once installed, LED fixtures require near-zero maintenance to operate reliably, making LEDs an install-and-forget lighting option.

More importantly, LED lamps have a much longer lifespan compared to other lighting technologies. On average, an LED bulb will provide 50,000 hours of high-quality illumination before reaching the L70 threshold (the point where the light has lost 30 percent of its lumen output due to age). Some LED fixtures will last longer – up to 100,000 hours in some cases.

Fluorescent lamps hit their L70 mark around 20,000 hours, sometimes less. Metal halides wear out even faster, requiring replacement every 10,000 hours or so.

LEDs can operate continuously for several years before they need to be switched out. The business will save money by spending less on replacement lamps and by reducing maintenance-related overhead.

4) The Installation Cost of LED Lighting Can Be Offset with Tax Incentives

If the property qualifies, the cost of the commercial lighting project may be reduced significantly by tax incentives. The most impactful provision is Section 179D, which provides an immediate tax deduction for the cost of a new or retrofit energy efficient lighting system. The deduction may be as high as $5.36 per square foot, depending on how much power the new lighting will save (the full deduction requires a 50 percent reduction in energy consumption).

It is highly recommended that business owners consult with a trusted lighting company to determine eligibility for tax incentives and to calculate potential savings.

LED Lighting Saves Business Owners Money and Improves Lighting Performance

Through better energy efficiency, reduced maintenance, enhanced controllability and tax incentives, LED lighting can save business owners a good deal of money. Depending on the size and nature of the facilities, it could mean thousands of dollars to the company’s bottom line. Further, LED technology is the future of lighting and will ensure the system remains viable for decades.

If a business is ready to cut costs, speaking with a reputable lighting expert will reveal more on how LED lighting can save business owners money.

How to Avoid Light Pollution with LED Lighting

How to Avoid Light Pollution with LED Lighting

LED lighting can help property owners avoid producing light pollution, as LED offers the following advantages:

  • It can be aimed
  • It can be shielded
  • It can be controlled with precision
  • It is available in warm color temperatures
  • It can be easily diagrammed using photometric technology

Together, these benefits can be leveraged by lighting experts to minimize light pollution – including uplight that causes “sky glow” and unwelcome trespass onto neighboring properties.

Read on to learn more about each advantage of LED lighting in detail, and how LEDs can be utilized to avoid light pollution.

1) LED Lights Produce Directional Illumination That Can Be Shaped

Until LEDs came along, all forms of exterior lighting were omnidirectional in nature. This includes metal halides and other high intensity discharge technologies. Omnidirectional lights emit illumination in every direction – an obvious problem if you are attempting to avoid light pollution.

On the other hand, LED lights are directional by virtue of their engineering. They tend to emit most of their light in a single direction, and lighting experts can use this directionality to their advantage. Specifically, LED’s directional nature means maximum illumination reaches the target and minimal illumination is lost as pollution.

LED Lighting Fixtures Can Be Shielded to Reduce Uplight

Because of their directionality, LED bulbs can be shielded with minimal impact on the light’s performance and quality.

Light fixture shielding is one of DarkSky International’s primary recommendations for reducing light pollution. When it is attached to a fixture, the shield blocks all light above the horizon, preventing any upward-aiming rays from reaching the sky. Shielding can also reduce glare and therefore prevent light from trespassing onto neighboring properties.

Fixture shielding can be used with a variety of lighting applications, including parking lot lighting, streetlights, and venue lighting.

3) LED Lighting Controls Ensure the Fixtures Are Only On When Needed

Another way to minimize light pollution is to attach lighting controls to those LED fixtures. There are many types of lighting controls, including:

  • Dimmers
  • Timers
  • Photocells
  • Occupancy controls, such as IR or ultrasonic motion detectors

While each of these controls do their job a bit differently, they all serve the same general purpose – ensure each LED light is only on (or at full intensity) when necessary. For example, with dimmers and occupancy controls, each LED source will only light up to full intensity when someone is nearby.

Many businesses are already using lighting control products to improve energy efficiency in their indoor facilities, but the same approach is also effective for reducing lighting pollution. At night, when there are fewer people walking around, full-intensity lighting may be excessive and emit easily avoided light pollution. Advanced controls can mitigate this issue.

4) Warm LEDs Minimize Blue Light and Light Pollution

From a light pollution perspective, blue light causes more problems than warmer color temperatures. Blue light scatters further, causes more glare, and has a bigger impact on human and wildlife health. For these reasons, DarkSky International recommends cities and communities invest in warm lighting.

LED lighting is now available in a full range of color temperatures, including warm tones that are ideal for cutting light pollution. Warm LEDs are just as reliable as other LED lights and can therefore replace neutral and cool LEDs without a drop in performance.

5) LED Lighting Systems Can Be Precisely Designed

Prior to every LED lighting project, lighting experts use photometric analysis to diagram the lighting system to precision. During this analysis, the designer will create a 3D model of the project environment and place a variety of LED lighting sources to test different fixture layouts.

Every time the designer makes a change – moves a fixture here, switches out one LED bulb for another – the software instantly recalculates how much light is reaching every part of the property. These calculations are based on the manufacturer’s performance data, so it is mathematically precise.

In this way, lighting experts do not have to guess at system performance. They know exactly how much light the system is putting out, where it is aiming that illumination, and whether it is trespassing onto neighboring properties. With photometric analysis, designers can avoid light pollution by carefully shaping the system’s output.

Why It Is Important to Avoid Light Pollution

Excessive night-time illumination is linked to adverse health effects in humans and animals. It can suppress the body’s ability to produce melatonin, which influences our circadian rhythms and disrupts sleep.

Light pollution also disrupts animal migration patterns and can pull wildlife into brightly lit areas. This can have significant negative effects on the local ecosystem.

In response to these emerging health and environmental concerns, a growing number of communities are enacting dark sky ordinances to reduce light pollution. Several of these communities are in Texas, and enthusiasm for dark sky ordinances is spreading across the nation.

On top of dark sky ordinances, many cities already have light pollution ordinances in place to prevent illumination from creeping onto neighboring properties. The use of photometric analysis, cutoff fixtures and lighting controls can help properties remain in compliance with these standards.

An LED Lighting Expert Can Help Your Business Preserve the Night Sky

There are several ways lighting designers can avoid light pollution with LED lighting. They can take advantage of its directionality, shield the fixtures, opt for warm LEDs, pair the system with advanced controls, or use 3D modeling technology to position lights with precision.

If your project must adhere to ordinances that limit light pollution, partnering with a lighting expert will ensure you get an LED lighting system that is not only efficient and reliable, but dark sky compliant as well.

Types of Outdoor LED Lighting

Types of Outdoor LED Lighting

Outdoor LED Lighting For Any Application

Outdoor LED lighting is quickly replacing legacy lighting technologies in a variety of exterior applications.

The reason for this is that modern LED lighting products lead the way in energy efficiency, but they offer much more, including:

  • Extended reliability and durability
  • Longevity
  • High quality performance
  • Reduced maintenance
  • Advanced controllability

These benefits are especially valuable in outdoor applications, where lamp replacement and maintenance can be a challenge.

Another advantage of LED lighting technology is versatility. Current generation LED lamps can be integrated into any type of landscape or exterior fixture. That means property owners can transition to LED lighting without overhauling their existing system.

Ten Types of Outdoor LED Lighting

The following outdoor LED fixtures can provide an ideal lighting solution for any outdoor application:

Bullet lights

Bullet lights are used in landscape lighting applications where directionality is necessary. They are ideal for exterior signage, facades and interesting landscape features, as they can be aimed with precision. Bullet fixtures are weather-resistant and dust-sealed for maximum durability and reliability.

Bollards

Bollard lights are installed inside bollard posts (which stand 3-8 feet high) and are often found in parking lots, parks, playgrounds and walkways. LED bollards are designed for an aesthetic fit in any setting, including contemporary, modern and geometric options.

Flood and spot lights

LED flood lights are also used in landscape applications, where they are most effective for illuminating facades, hedges and large trees. LED flood lights are a top choice for security applications and crime deterrence.

Pendant (hanging) lights

Pendant lights are suspended from ceilings and are therefore a good option for porches, balconies and aesthetically-focused settings. They’re also available in a large variety of styles to ensure a perfect fit.

In-ground lights

In-ground fixtures emphasize discreteness, as these fixtures are invisible once installed. They are typically used in uplighting applications, where they are effective for illuminating trees, greenery scenes and exterior facades. Like all exterior LED lights, in-ground LEDs are sealed against water and weather for maximum durability.

Path lights

Path lights sit low to the ground – most are less than two feet tall – and are used to illuminate paths, walkways and gardens. Path lights are often used in both commercial and residential applications, as they improve curb appeal and safety simultaneously. Like with bollards, there are many path fixture styles to choose from to ensure an ideal aesthetic fit.

Rope lights

Rope lights are a durable form of indirect outdoor lighting, so the fixtures remain hidden during operation. They are typically found on residential properties where they are installed around patios, along walkways and in architectural coves. Rope lights are available in several colors and are protected with a PVC housing that keeps the bulbs safe from water.

Step and deck lights

LED step and deck lights are mounted to and integrated into exterior steps and decks. They can be affixed to wood, brick or metal and blend in, with a variety of faceplates and color temperatures to choose from. They also reduce tripping hazards and improve pedestrian safety, so they are also useful in commercial applications.

Underwater lights

LED underwater lights can be installed in ponds and fountains, so they work equally well in residential gardens and commercial water features. Underwater LED fixtures are cast from brass, with high impact acrylic optics and a watertight bushing for excellent protection from water intrusion.

BBQ lights

BBQ lights are gooseneck fixtures that hang over a grilling area and provide precise, high quality LED illumination during night-time barbecuing. BBQ lights are built with stainless steel, so they’re resistant to weather and corrosion, and they can be wired directly into a transformer or breaker box.

Four Advantages of Outdoor LED Lighting

LED lights are well-suited for outdoor applications for the following reasons:

  1. LEDs last much longer than other types of lighting – LED lighting has a longer lifespan than any other lighting technology on the market. LEDs are improving in this area all the time, but the typical diode fixture already provides at least 50,000 hours of reliable illumination before replacement is recommended. Lighting manufacturers use the concept of lumen maintenance to determine when a lamp has reached the end of its useful life. Specifically, when a light has lost about 30 percent of its overall lumen output, it is no longer considered viable. As mentioned, LED lighting reaches this point around the 50,000 hour mark. Fluorescent fixtures reach their end of life around 20,000 hours, and metal halides may not make it to 10,000 hours. It is also important to note that both of these lighting technologies are being discontinued. This extended lifespan factors into LED’s overall cost efficiency, but it’s also a major convenience advantage for outdoor applications. The longer the light lasts, the less often it will need to be replaced.
  2. Outdoor LED lights provide high-output, high quality illumination – The initial concerns with LED lighting were performance related, but these concerns have disappeared with improving diode engineering. Today’s LED lights are capable of extremely high lumen counts, excellent color rendering and reliable light metering within tight tolerances. These are major advantages for security-focused and safety-focused lighting applications, such as parking lot, street and walkway settings. LED’s excellent lighting quality is also important for sports fields, courts and arenas, where the light needs to be sharp enough to track high-speed objects.
  3. Outdoor LED lights can be paired with advanced lighting controls – LED lighting systems are compatible with all widely used lighting controls, including photocells, timers, occupancy controls and dimmers. This controllability advantage can enhance energy efficiency or safety further, as your LED lights will only be on when they are needed. This has obvious security applications, but it can also improve an outdoor space’s utility, as the system won’t need to be powered around the clock to ensure adequate lighting levels. For example, LED lighting used for walkways can be configured to brighten up when people are nearby, and dim down when no one is present. The same approach can be used with all types of landscape lighting, as well as street lighting, canopy fixtures and parking garages.
  4. Outdoor LED lighting consumes less energy – LED lighting is the most energy efficient option on the market – an advantage that’s been apparent since the technology’s introduction. This advantage has widened with time, as improved optics and photometric analysis can fully leverage LED’s directional nature. Now, LED lighting systems can be precisely designed to maximize the amount of usable illumination with as few fixtures as possible. The result is greatly reduced energy consumption and lower maintenance/replacement costs – a one-two cost-saving punch that accelerates the system’s return on investment (ROI).

Trust Outdoor LED Lighting Professionals for Design and Installation

LEDs provide the long-lasting durability, reliability, performance and efficiency that is expected from outdoor lighting systems. However, there are still questions to answer before installing your LED lights.

Do you have the right fixtures selected for your project? Do you know where they will be placed? Do you know how to safely install your lighting fixtures?

Lighting professionals are experts in outdoor LED lighting, from planning to installation. If your exterior lighting project is overseen by an expert lighting team, they will be able to:

  • Optimize your lighting system’s energy efficiency
  • Select and source the best fixtures for your project
  • Select and source the best lighting controls and components for your project
  • Identify optimal fixture placement to enhance efficiency and performance
  • Install all fixtures, lamps and lighting system components
  • Configure the system to meet your lighting needs
  • Provide ongoing maintenance and lamp replacement

In short, by working with a reputable lighting expert, you will accelerate the ROI on your outdoor LED lighting and ensure a clean, professional look.

LED Lighting for Commercial Use

LED Lighting for Commercial Use

LED lighting is now the first choice for commercial buildings and spaces. Why? There are many reasons, but versatility may be the most important. LEDs have been developed for an array of commercial lighting fixtures, so no matter your application, there is an LED fixture that will meet the need. If you are installing a new lighting system or overhauling an existing one, read on for some of the best LED lighting options for commercial use.

LED Lights Used in Office Buildings

Office buildings are typically built with drop ceilings that were designed to accommodate fluorescent fixtures. However, now that fluorescent technology is slowly being discontinued, LED fixtures have been adapted to replace them. Some examples of office LED lighting include:

  • LED tubes – LED tubes are designed to fit into existing tube fixtures and some also use existing ballasts, making these a plug-and-play option for facility owners. LED tubes are available in standard diameters, including T12s, T8s and T4s. Fluorescent T12s have already been banned and T8s are being phased out, but LEDs allow building owners to continue using their existing tube fixtures.
  • LED troffers – LED troffers are made with a concave design that insets the lights higher up into the ceiling. Like with fluorescent tube fixtures, LED troffers are meant to be a direct replacement to fluorescent troffers – with the LED lamps plugging into the troffer. With their slightly recessed design, they emit illumination in a tighter, concentrated spread that is appropriate for lighting up individual workstations.
  • LED panels – LED panels offer edge-to-edge illumination for drop ceilings, but this light is passed through a diffusion screen to prevent glare. The result is a softer, but wider spread of illumination ideal for general lighting applications.

LED Lights Used in Large Commercial Settings

LED lighting is also a mainstay in expansive commercial buildings, including department stores, shopping malls and warehouses. The following light fixtures are popular options for these settings:

  • High bay lights – High bay lights are intended for ceilings 20-45 feet high and are designed for maximum output. Some high bay fixtures throw 50,000 lumens or more, as higher outputs are necessary to ensure adequate ground-level brightness. Photometric analysis will verify that a particular set (and arrangement) of high bays will provide enough illumination. LED bays are available in linear or UFO (circular) designs. Linear bays are better suited for lighting store or warehouse aisles, while UFOs are better at creating lighting “zones.”
  • Low bay lights – Low bays are identical to high bay fixtures in shape and design but are intended for ceilings 12-20 feet high. Because they are installed at a lower height, they do not need to output as much illumination (fewer lumens are lost from ceiling to ground). They are also rated at lower wattages than high bays, so they require less power to run.

Bay fixtures can either be mounted directly to the ceiling or suspended from it.

LED Lighting Used in Small Commercial Settings

In retail shops and restaurants, more subtle lighting is required to achieve a nice balance between visibility and aesthetics. Here are some LED fixtures that can provide this balance for boutique shop and restaurant owners:

  • LED track lighting – LED track fixtures are mounted to a track that is suspended from the ceiling. Each track can hold multiple bulbs and each one can be positioned independently. This allows shop and restaurant owners to be versatile with their lighting, as LED track fixtures can be aimed at separate targets.
  • LED strip and cove lighting – LED strips and cove lights are indirect fixtures, primarily used for accent or decorative applications. They are available in a range of color temperatures, and since they are indirect, the fixtures are concealed from view. Their design means strip and cove LEDs are ideal for drawing attention to high-value products and establishing a cozy, intimate ambiance – without the fixture being a distraction.
  • LED pendant lighting – Pendant LEDs are suspended from the ceiling and serve a decorative or accent role. Pendants can be hung at different heights and are available in an endless variety of designs and styles. As such, they can fit in an array of retail settings. Pendant lights are typically seen suspended over product displays, checkout stations, or restaurant dining tables.
  • Recessed LED lights – Recessed LED lights are installed inside the ceiling and provide a concentrated spot of illumination. Recessed fixtures have a sophisticated aesthetic that people respond to well, which makes them effective in boutique retail shops. They work best when used to illuminate product displays or walking paths.

LED Lights Used in Sports Arenas and Concert Venues

Sports arenas and concert venues require space-filling lights to maintain adequate visibility levels. Given their fast-paced nature, arenas for baseball, football and tennis need extremely high-output fixtures for safe play.

  • LED sportslighters and flood lights – Sportslighters and flood lights are the highest-output LED fixtures on the market, capable of throwing 100,000 lumens (or more). These fixtures are designed for heavy-duty, outdoor use and are therefore shielded from dust and moisture. LED sportslighters and flood lights also require zero warmup to come up to maximum brightness and can be placed well out of the field of play while remaining effective. Further, because LED lights emit even, high quality illumination, they offer the best min/max ratios on the market – a comparison between the dimmest and brightest area. Extremely tight minimum/maximum ratios are required for collegiate and professional-level play.LED lights are also available in several illumination distribution patterns, including forward-throw patterns that are ideal for mounting to out-of-play lighting poles.

LED Lights Used in Commercial Parking Lots and Garages

LEDs are also taking over parking lot and parking garage lighting applications. Their energy efficiency and high-quality output makes LED lights a superior choice for outdoor, night-time applications. Some LED fixtures you may see in these settings include:

  • LED parking lot lights – LED bullhorns, cobra head and area lights are all frontline options for parking lot and garage applications. Chip-on-board (CoB) LEDs are also common, as they are rated for continuous use. LED’s directionality is a major advantage for nighttime use, as LED fixtures can be shielded to eliminate uplighting (and comply with dark sky regulations) while ensuring adequate light reaches the ground. Since LEDs are available in several distribution patterns, lighting designers can ensure optimal coverage while using fewer lighting poles.
  • LED wall packs – Wall pack LEDs are mounted to the side of buildings or parking garage walls. While they are not typically used as the primary source of lighting, wall packs can provide additional illumination on walkways near parking areas and can also work in security applications, near building entrances, and around loading areas.

Four Advantages of LED Lighting in Commercial Settings

LED lighting products offer several benefits over older commercial lighting technologies. These advantages are driving the shift to LEDs, and they include:

  • Superior energy efficiency – LEDs are the most energy-efficient lights on the market, surpassing metal halides, fluorescents, and other commercial lighting technologies. At the source (lamp) level, metal halides and fluorescents are only a little less efficient than LEDs. However, LEDs have a major advantage in system efficiency, as they are directional in nature (fewer lumens are lost from source to ground) and because they hold onto their lumen output for longer.
  • Low maintenance and extended lifespan – Once installed, LED fixtures require near-zero maintenance throughout their lifespan. And LED’s lifespan is much longer than older lighting technologies. Lighting professionals use the L70 threshold to determine when a lamp has reached the end of its life. L70 is a “lumen maintenance” concept that describes when the fixture has lost 30 percent of its initial lumen output. At this point, the lamp is no longer considered viable.
    Metal halides typically reach this point within the first 10,000 hours of their lifespan. Fluorescents are only slightly better, lasting about 20,000 hours before hitting the L70 mark.
    On average, you can expect your commercial LED lights to provide between 50,000 and 100,000 hours of quality performance before they need to be replaced. This means you will need to replace a metal halide or fluorescent fixture several times during the lifespan of a single LED light.
  • Excellent lighting performance and quality – Modern LED lights produce even, high-quality illumination that’s free from hotspots and dead spots. Inside, this means less glare and a more attractive look. Outside, this means better overall visibility, better lighting consistency (min/max ratio), and better long-range and color visibility. In fact, there are now high-CRI (color rendering index) LEDs available that render colors much more accurately than other high-intensity discharge lights.
  • Extended controllability – LED lighting is the most controllable form of lighting available. LEDs are compatible with nearly all lighting controls, including timers, dimmers, photocells, and occupancy sensors. This controllability can be leveraged to improve an LED system’s efficiency and ensure that illumination is delivered exactly where it is needed, when it is needed.

LED Lighting is the New Gold Standard for Commercial Use

In just 10-20 years, LED lighting has evolved from a high-potential technology to one whose potential has been realized. Current generation LEDs are the most energy efficient, long lived and controllable lights on the market. Now they can match other high intensity discharge lights in performance and lighting quality – if not surpass them altogether.

Installing a new or retrofit lighting solution for your commercial facilities? Consult with a LED lighting expert to see what LED lighting can do for your commercial application.

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.