When are Fluorescent Lights Being Discontinued?

When are Fluorescent Lights Being Discontinued

For years, local, state, and national governments have placed additional regulations on the lighting industry and its products. This process continues pace, and while in the past these regulations were aimed at incandescent and halogen lamps, now fluorescent lighting is in the crosshairs.

For nearly a century, fluorescent light bulbs were the undisputed leaders in energy efficiency. This was true when CFLs were introduced in 1976, and it was still true when LED lighting was just being introduced by manufacturers.

That’s no longer the case, though. Modern LED fixtures have passed fluorescents in terms of energy efficiency, along with safety, maintenance costs and lighting quality. With these facts in mind, some governments are limiting, or outright banning, the manufacturing of some fluorescent lamps.

What Types of Fluorescent Lighting are Being Targeted for Discontinuation?

At the national level, the Department of Energy (DOE) is responsible for lighting regulations. In 2009, it announced a phaseout of T12 fluorescent tubes. According to the DOE, after July 14, 2012, T12 fluorescent tubes could no longer be manufactured, though manufacturers could exhaust their existing material stock to manufacture T12s before discontinuing them permanently.

However, there were some exceptions to the rules. Major manufacturers like Phillips were given an extension on the ban, but the DOE’s objective has been met. As soon as the DOE’s intention to ban T12s was clear, production plummeted. If your facilities rely on T12 fluorescents, you’ve likely had difficulty sourcing lamps or T12-related accessories, like ballasts.

A notable exception in the DOE’s regulation was high-CRI fluorescent lighting, specifically lamps with a CRI rating of 87 or higher. This exception buoyed the production of T12s for a while, but several states have already passed their own laws banning the sale or manufacturing of high-CRI linear fluorescent lighting. This essentially bans all T12s from those states, which include:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • Maryland (effective January 1, 2024)
  • Massachusetts (sales may continue until January 2023)
  • Nevada (effective January 1, 2024)
  • New Jersey (effective January 18, 2023)
  • Oregon (effective January 1, 2023)
  • Vermont
  • Washington (effective January 1, 2023)

Some T8 tubes are also considered high-CRI lamps and would therefore fall under these bans as well.

Why are States and National Governments Considering a Ban on Some Fluorescent Tubes?

Fluorescent tubes are available in a variety of sizes, denoted by the number following the “T.” The largest among them, by diameter, is the T12. T12 tubes are 1.5 inches in diameter, and their larger size means they must rely on electromagnetic induction to generate light. This is inherently less energy efficient (T12s require about 40 watts per hour to operate) than the more sophisticated circuitry built into T8s and T5s. A typical T8 tube, for example, requires between 25 and 30 watts an hour to run.

The DOE’s T12 phaseout was predicated on the T12’s poor energy efficiency, but there are other reasons why there is momentum behind a T12 ban. For example:

  • Lower quality illumination – Lamps aren’t generally phased out because they lag in output quality, but because T12s do produce lower quality illumination than T8s or T5s, this is one less defense for the fixture.
  • Contains higher amounts of mercury – A T12 lamp contains between 20 and 25 milligrams of mercury, which is much higher than newer fluorescent bulbs. Proper fluorescent tube recycling can prevent some of this mercury from reaching landfills, but only a small percentage of fluorescents are recycled.
    Fluorescent’s mercury content is relevant because mercury is an extremely toxic substance to contact or ingest. In developed countries like the U.S., a large amount of polluting mercury is a result of improper fluorescent tube disposal.
  • Must be replaced more often – Compounding the above issue is the fact that T12s must be replaced more often than other types of fluorescent fixtures. More frequent replacement means more opportunities for mercury to escape into the environment. More frequent replacement means higher costs over time.
    More efficient alternatives, including smaller fluorescent tubes, are also lower maintenance options.

What Lighting Alternatives are Available for Consumers and Companies?

The fluorescent phaseout is underway and will likely continue as long as even more efficient alternatives like LEDs gain market momentum. While T8 and T5 tubes aren’t targeted by the DOE’s 2009 Act, some T8s are already limited by high-CRI linear fluorescent lighting bans.

Facility operators and lighting experts can see which way the industry is headed. LED lighting has come a long way since it was introduced decades ago, and it’s quickly being adapted for a variety of lighting applications. LED lamps and bulbs offer several benefits compared to older lighting technologies, including:

  • Unsurpassed energy efficiency – Quality LED T8s require about half of the wattage that a fluorescent T8 needs. As lighting regulations tighten further, LED’s efficiency advantage may become more and more relevant.
  • Longer life – An LED tube lasts a lot longer than a comparable fluorescent tube. The typical LED tube is rated for about 50,000 hours of quality performance while a fluorescent T8 will only function for about 15,000 hours. With their extended lifespan, LED fixtures don’t need to be replaced or disposed of as often.
  • No mercury content – LED bulbs do contain a tiny amount of arsenic and some heavy metals, but the amount is so low that LEDs are not considered toxic by regulators. They don’t have to be disposed of in a particular way, as a result.
    Most importantly, LEDs contain zero mercury. Their environmental impact is greatly reduced as a result.

Modernize Your System with High Quality LED Lighting

In just the last couple decades, focused phaseouts of several older lighting technologies have changed the way the industry operates. With incandescent, halogen, and now fluorescent lights quickly becoming history, lighting manufacturers, facility managers, and even residential consumers are making the switch to LED lighting.

Many home and business owners are choosing LED retrofit kits to replace their existing fluorescent lighting. These kits bypass existing ballasts and snap in LED linear strips so that the fixture will be completely LED. This is a great economical solution, saving on kilowatts and requiring little maintenance.

If you’re considering the same for your property, work with a company that has a comprehensive selection of LED lighting products available, including LED retrofit options that can be quickly installed with your existing lighting infrastructure. Not only is LED lighting the energy efficient choice, it’s also quickly becoming a convenient one as well.

What Fixtures Are Used For Lighting A Warehouse?

What Fixtures Are Used For Lighting A Warehouse

Warehouses are a challenge to light due to their size and because of the activity inside. Warehouses are busy places where workers are frequently engaged in high-risk tasks. To ensure they can do their jobs safely, you’ll need a high-output lighting system that renders color well and provides even coverage.

LED fixtures can provide that and more. As a result, you’re likely to see LED lights more often in warehouses these days. They’re quickly replacing high intensity discharge (HID) fixtures for several reasons.

High Bay And Low Bay Fixtures Are The Choice For Lighting A Warehouse

Most warehouses feature extremely high ceilings, ranging up to 40 feet or more. In spaces like these, where verticality is the defining feature, high and low bay fixtures are the standard.

In the lighting industry, the word “bay” refers to illuminating a large space. That means they’re designed for a large area like a warehouse.

There’s only a couple of differences between low and high bay fixtures. They are:

  • Mounting height – Low bay fixtures are intended for ceilings between 12 and 20 feet high. High bay fixtures can be mounted to ceilings between 20 and 45 feet high.
  • Output volume – Low bay fixtures don’t output as much light as high bay fixtures, given their shorter throw distance. Because of this, low bay fixtures consume a lower amount of power than high bays.

You’ve got plenty of flexibility in mounting bays. They can be mounted directly to the ceiling or suspended at varying heights. This gives facility managers layout flexibility when setting up the bays.

There are also bay lights sealed against water and solid intrusion. They’re ideal for warehouses where high dust and humidity levels are common, and feature IP65 ratings or better. Further, bay fixtures come with anti-glare features that improve comfort and visibility at ground level.

Bay Fixtures Are Available In Linear Or UFO Designs

The other major difference between bay designs is shape. Bay lighting products are available in linear or UFO designs, and both are common options for warehouse applications. Here’s a quick look at each:

  • Linear bays – Linear lighting is rectangular shaped and therefore suited for illuminating aisles, reception, and dispatch areas.
  • UFO bays – UFO bays are called such because they look like little round flying saucers. Because of their circular shape, UFO bays emit in a circular pattern. This is an effective choice for general lighting purposes or for loading bay areas.

The Problems With HID Lighting

HID lighting was the warehouse lighting technology of choice for a long time. HID bulbs output a lot of illumination, making them one of the best options for lighting outdoor areas or a large indoor space.

However, this high output comes at a cost. Specifically, high energy costs. HID fixtures like metal halides and high-pressure sodium lamps require a lot of power to function. At the source, metal halides aren’t too bad, though they’re still behind LED light bulbs in source efficiency.

It’s at the system level where metal halides waste a lot of electricity. That’s because of how a metal halide fixture emits light. Metal halides emit omnidirectionally, so a lot of their output never reaches the floor level where it’s needed most. They emit a lot of light, but much of it never reaches the intended target. Reflectors can mitigate this to some extent, but they’re heavy, expensive, and still not as effective as LED fixtures.

HID lighting tends to degrade quickly, too, and you can expect the typical metal halide to fail around 10,000 hours. Many will need to be replaced early because metal halides tend to decline in color rendering or output as they age.

Four Reasons Why LED Lighting Is Ideal For Illuminating Warehouses

LED is quickly emerging as the first choice in warehouse and bay lighting. LEDs come with several advantages over other lighting technologies, four of them including:

  1. Better energy efficiency – No other form of lighting offers the energy efficiency that LED does. LED fixtures have the best watt-to-lumen ratios on the market, and because they emit directionally by design, LEDs are able to get more of their illumination to workers below.
    Even compared to efficient technology like fluorescent lighting, LED excels. It’s common to find an LED equivalent to a fluorescent tube that requires half the wattage.
    Further, LED lighting emits extremely low amounts of heat and won’t stress your HVAC systems in the process. That way, your energy costs are minimized further.
  2. Extended lifespan and low maintenance design – Maintenance is one of the most important factors to consider when installing warehouse lighting. When warehouse lamps fail, you’ll need special equipment (like a bucket truck) and expertise to replace them.
    Compared to other forms of lighting, LED fixtures require the least amount of maintenance. It’s common for LED lights to go years without a single issue. They also last far longer than other fixtures. The typical LED bay will provide upwards of 50,000 hours of quality illumination. Metal halides (which are quickly becoming obsolete) only provide 10,000 hours, and even fluorescent tubes are only rated for half as long as the average LED light.
  3. High quality output and color rendering – LED lighting technology has come a long way since it was introduced decades ago. The biggest gains have come in lighting quality, to the point where LED fixtures emit light that is comparable or superior to HID and halogen.
    LED lighting is extremely bright and makes for an ideal overhead source. It’s even as well, with no dim or dark spots, and no shadows resulting from fixture design. It’s also available in range of color temperatures, including neutral hues in the 4000K to 6000K range.
    Further, LED warehouse lighting is available with high CRI-ratings, so it represents colors very well. That’s important for safety and productivity reasons.
  4. Excellent controllability – Nearly every lighting control in existence is built for use with LED lighting. Attach dimmers to the bays to adjust output exactly where it’s needed, balancing brightness and energy usage. Pair timers or occupancy controls with your bays, and they’ll only switch on when needed.
    There are LED drivers that can facilitate instant start as well, which is valuable for facilities where time is money. That includes warehouses.

LED Spot Is Your Warehouse Lighting Source

If you’re overseeing a warehouse lighting project, you’ve probably got questions about what type of lighting to choose. The LED Spot team can help with those questions and help with everything else regarding your warehouse lighting project. We carry a deep inventory of lighting, including many types of LED warehouse lighting.

Whether you’re updating an existing system or preparing a system for new construction, we’re the experts to call.

What is a Photometric Drawing?

What is a Photometric Drawing

A photometric drawing (also called a photometric lighting plan or design) is essential for any lighting design as it allows lighting professionals to visualize a system before it is installed. Photometric plans are often used in tandem with an AGi32 calculation tool for accurately predicting the photometric design. This is essential before breaking ground on a lighting project, for several reasons. The lighting industry uses photometric plans to arrange fixtures and ensure output intensity is distributed evenly.

There’s a lot of data included with every photometric study, and this data can be presented as raw numerical values or as a visual example. To generate this photometric report, lighting specialists use software such as AGi32, which is designed for the task.

How Do Lighting Designers Use Photometric Software?

Every light comes with its own photometric properties. Some lights emit directionally, while others radiate in every direction. Some lighting fixtures spread illumination further than others. This data is collated and provided to lighting professionals by the manufacturer.

During a photometric analysis, the lighting designer arranges each fixture inside the software, placing them in a rendered version of the client’s property. Fixture-specific photometric data is plugged in for each fixture and the software does the heavy number crunching. This includes taking measurements of lighting levels at every point in space.

What Does a Photometric Plan Look Like?

Photometric plans can be presented in many ways. One way is to analyze the system with nothing but numerical data. The software will compute how much light, in lumens, is present at each location. As the fixtures are changed or rearranged, the software will recompute light levels at each area. Lighting designers can study this data on its own to spot potential issues.

It’s more common, though, for lighting professionals to visualize the system using photometric software. Some professionals will produce a 3D rendering of the client’s property and simulate the distribution of light as the human eye would see it.

Photometric software can also generate wireframes or heat maps to detect areas that are receiving too much illumination and spaces that are too dark.

When is a Photometric Lighting Design Needed?

In most cases, property owners are not required to get a photometric analysis before starting a commercial lighting project, but it’s strongly recommended for several reasons, including:

  • Commercial lighting systems must meet lighting safety codes – Commercial properties must maintain a minimum lighting threshold if they operate during evening or nighttime hours. Failure to do so could expose the property owner to legal action if an injury occurs due to poor lighting. Photometric analysis ensures your property meets those lighting codes without anything left up to chance.
  • They also have to follow light pollution regulations – On your property, you’ll want to optimize your system’s output. Off your property, you’ll be required to minimize any lighting trespass or pollution. In other words, keep the light you produce on your property. There are additional lighting codes that require this and violating those codes can result in hefty fines.
  • You’ll get maximum return on your investment with a photometric plan – Ideally, your lighting system will provide all the illumination you need with as few fixtures as possible. Too many fixtures are a waste and too much light is both uncomfortable and wasteful.
    Photometric plans allow designers to experiment with a variety of system layouts and fixture options. The goal is to find the best combination of layout and lamp to meet all project requirements. This degree of optimization is impossible without photometric software.

What Information Can a Photometric Analysis Provide?

A photometric analysis can answer a lot of questions about your lighting system’s projected performance. For instance, a photometric analysis can provide insight into the following:

  • The angle and distance of light emission – Using manufacturer data, typically IES files, photometric software can measure the angle each fixture is emitting at, and how far that light is reaching. This is critical for determining if light pollution is a problem.
  • The amount of light at every spot – Lighting intensity, as detected by the human eye, is measured in lumens. Photometric software prefers lumens when calculating how much light is reaching every part of the environment.
    That means photometric software can visualize how intense the light will be perceived at every point. This ensures the system meets all visibility, safety, and security requirements. It also helps designers spot overly intense or underlit areas.
  • Footcandle levels – Some projects require minimal footcandle levels, and a proper design plan is essential for determining the ideal footcandle calculation. This ensures the area is evenly lit with the proper intensity.
  • The ideal system layout – The goal of most commercial lighting systems is to produce enough illumination and even illumination. Photometric software makes it easy for designers to achieve both. The software responds to changes in fixture arrangement, so the designer can play around with fixture positioning to create an optimal system layout.
  • Which fixtures will work best – Photometric analysis can be used with nearly every type of lamp in existence, as long as there is data on it. The designer can cycle through all of the available luminaires and pick one that provides the best performance and appearance.

With all of these factors accounted for, construction on your lighting project can begin with a clear plan in place. This will save your build teams some valuable time, which saves you money.

Photometric drawings are vital for ensuring lighting plans will provide the intended illumination. They are useful for exterior lighting systems, including solutions for parking lots, commercial campuses and parks. Be sure the company you work with will follow strict lighting codes and has extensive experience with photometric analysis to provide a clear picture of how your new lighting solution will look long before it becomes reality. At LED Spot, our basic photometric plans begin at a modest cost of $250, which is an affordable way to ensure your lighting project performs as intended.

LED Light Automation Is Futuristic Technology Ready For The Present

LED Light Automation Is Futuristic Technology Ready For The Present

Although home automation technology has been around for decades, only recently has LED light automation become a viable solution for all home and business owners. LED engineering has improved greatly in just the last 10 years and many of the technologies required for effective lighting automation have also improved.

That’s great news for people seeking better efficiency and performance from their lighting solution. With LED light automation it’s possible to achieve new heights in energy savings, occupant comfort and security.

What Are Some Effective LED Light Automation Products?

One of LED lighting’s many benefits is its controllability. No other lighting technology can be controlled as easily or with as much versatility as LED lighting. This extends to full LED lighting automation, as your LED fixtures can be controlled using the following automation technologies:

Timers

Timers are used to define when the light’s settings should change. This could be a change in output level or when the light is switched on or off.

Occupancy Sensors

Occupancy sensors detect when people are in the immediate area and switch the lights on in response. They also switch the lights off when the area is clear. Most occupancy sensors rely on motion to work, though some can also detect heat.

Photocells

Photocells are essentially light sensors. When they detect light, they react. When used with LED lighting, photocells can be used to switch the fixtures off when ambient light is present and switch them on when ambient light is absent.

Dimmers

Dimmers can be used to make precise adjustments to the lamp’s output. Dimmers come in many forms, from tactile control knobs to programmable solutions that bring the lights up or down at predetermined times.

Color Controls

Unlike other forms of lighting LED lights can output a full spectrum of colors depending on the chemical substrate that powers the LED’s semiconductor. With automated color controls users can specify what colors to display at any given time.

LED Light Settings Can Be Programmed In Advance

LED light automation isn’t just effective, it’s convenient. As the term suggests light automation technology is designed to run with minimal input. Once you’ve determined what your lighting controls should be set at those preferences just need to be programmed in. Set dates, times and your lighting’s configuration and the system handles the rest.

Modern lighting controls can even be programmed from your own device. This greatly simplifies management and is particularly useful for people responsible for managing a lot of LED lighting at once.

What Are The Benefits Of Automating An LED Lighting System?

Home automation has always promised compelling benefits for those willing to invest in the technology, but the technology has only become viable recently. Now that lighting automation solutions are now feasible for home and business owners there’s a lot to like about the technology. For example, with LED lighting automation you can look forward to the following:

Enhanced System Efficiency

Lighting is a primary energy expenditure for homes and businesses alike. If that lighting is on when people don’t need it, it’s a waste. Lighting automation technology ensures that your LED lighting is only on when people are present, minimizing waste and operating costs.

Improved Security

LED lighting automation can be used to switch the lights on when they are needed most for security purposes—at night. Photocells switch the lamps on when the sun is down. Timers can fill the same role. Motion sensors detect when potential intruders are nearby and switch the lights on as a warning. Lighting automation technology can also be used to power all the building’s lights on at once when someone is trespassing, and this can help law enforcement quickly respond to a potential break-in.

Reduced Maintenance And Manpower Needs

LED lighting automation extends each lamp’s life by powering them down when they aren’t needed. LED lighting already exhibits an impressive lifespan, but lighting automation enhances this and further reduces maintenance costs. Automation technology is also set-and-forget by design, so your LED lighting will require minimal babysitting once automation is in place.

Improved Lighting Performance And Aesthetics

No other lighting technology can be controlled as well as LED, down to the aesthetic level. With color controls, for example, users can change the lighting’s appearance in one room while leaving another room untouched. With dimmers, users can set their LED lights to slowly come up in the morning or slowly taper off in the evening for comfort or aesthetic reasons.

Compliance With Local Lighting Ordinances

LED lighting automation is also an effective solution for exterior applications, such as neighborhood parks and parking lots. Excess light pollution can be a problem for these settings, but automated lighting controls keep it under control. To keep nearby neighbors happy a neighborhood park could tie its LED lighting to timers that switch off when the park is closed. Dimmers, photocells and occupancy controls can also be used to control light spill in this way.

LED Lighting Automation Is A Wise Investment For Residential And Commercial Buildings

Automating your LED lighting will provide a compelling array of benefits—the kind of benefits that a residential or commercial property could benefit from.

In an office, LED light automation reduces waste and provides optimal illumination for productivity. In a warehouse or industrial facility LED light automation enhances security and safety with better color rendering and lighting performance. At the park LED light automation minimizes light pollution and ensures the park remains a good neighbor.

In the home LED light automation can do it all—reduce energy expenditures, ward off potential intruders, minimize lamp replacement and provide the kind of light that people are happy with.

That means LED light automation is no longer a far off, futuristic fantasy. Instead, it’s a viable present-day option for any home or business owner that wants more from their lighting solutions.

LEDs Are At The Heart Of The Best Commercial Lighting Systems

LEDs Are At The Heart Of The Best Commercial Lighting Systems

Well-designed commercial lighting systems enhance a property’s function and appearance, especially when they leverage LED technology. More and more commercial properties are turning to LED fixtures for their lighting needs, whether for a retrofit or for a brand new system. It’s easy to see why LED commercial lighting is so popular, as it represents an upgrade over fluorescent and HID fixtures in nearly every conceivable way.

What Should A Commercial Lighting System Consist Of?

Commercial lighting comes in many forms, and no matter what the property looks like or how it is arranged there is a commercial lighting system that makes sense.

Here are the most common commercial settings, and the lights that make the most sense for each:

  1. Office buildings – Traditionally, office buildings have been fitted with panel and troffer fixtures, most of which utilize fluorescent technology. Troffers and panels are still the dominant fixture options, but LED technology is now the light engine of choice for offices. LED fixtures can emit close to neutral white light, while fluorescent tends to leave a greenish, pale cast over everything. Because LEDs emit in a color range more similar to natural sunlight, they help workers stay focused and alert. Several studies have confirmed the impact of natural light on employees, and have noted a productivity boost among those regularly exposed to it. LED technology offers the best and most cost-effective match to sunlight so companies can invest in their employees’ well-being while also getting efficient, reliable lighting.

    Some offices are doing away with the panel and troffer fixtures and are installing commercial lighting systems that are more appropriate for an open office layout. Open offices are gaining in popularity, as they are seen as a way to unify departments and encourage collaboration. Commercial lighting systems in open offices should enhance this approach, with extended rows of linear suspended lighting and some strategic pendant fixture placement.

  2. Warehouses and storage facilities – Warehouses need maximum visibility and worker comfort more than anything else. When selecting warehouse lights the first decision is between high bay or low bay fixtures. High bay lighting is more appropriate for any building interior where the ceiling is at least 20 feet high. At this height the lighting must be specialized so that it can adequately illuminate the ground. This usually means adding a bulky reflector to the fixture, but in LED’s case only an angled lens is necessary.

    Some warehouse facilities still have HID lighting in place, and these facilities need an update. When updating from HID, it’s T5 fluorescent fixtures or LED fixtures that make the most sense. Increasingly, lighting experts are recommending LED high bay lights as they offer greater energy savings and require almost no maintenance for years after installation. This can keep operating costs down to a minimum, and makes up for the greater upfront cost of LED.

  3. Restaurants and shops – Businesses that rely on attracting patrons have a different goal in mind with their lighting. Restaurants and shops have to draw people in with attractive lighting, ensure the property is easy to traverse and use the lighting to encourage a purchase. The best way to accomplish this is with sophisticated, coherent design.

    LED technology is a natural fit into a modern commercial lighting design as it can be paired with most fixture housings. Further, LED technology is easily controlled so property owners can fine tune how the system looks at all times.

    Although there are plenty of ways to light a shop or restaurant, strong lighting design uses layering to get the most out of the space. Good layering would combine ambient, accent and decorative fixtures to bring cohesion to the property. For example, ambient lighting provides general visibility in the space using linear suspension fixtures, track fixtures, recessed fixtures or something similar. Accent lighting draws attention to points of interest, like restrooms, changing rooms or the checkout area, and it often consists of LED strip fixtures or pendant fixtures to stand out. Decorative lighting can be built into dramatic pendants or chandeliers or even custom designed for something one-of-a-kind. Whatever the choice, decorative lighting with LED technology is ideal, because it can be brought up or down so it always looks perfect.

The Importance Of Photometry In Commercial Lighting

When lighting experts plan out a commercial lighting project they observe photometric principles to ensure the system looks exactly like it should.

What is photometry? Put simply, it’s a way of measuring light so that the human eye is taken into account. Light emits across an entire wavelength spectrum, and our eyes do not perceive them all with the same sensitivity. In other words, some wavelengths (colors) of light are easier for the eye to detect, which means those wavelengths appear brighter in certain settings. Lighting experts consider this when setting up fixtures, because it more accurately represents what people will actually see when the fixtures are powered on.

Photometry is a critical consideration for most lighting projects, and is particularly important for commercial, industrial and artistic applications. For this reason, lighting experts will diagram the system prior to installation, and this provides some valuable information to the installers. For example, photometric diagramming offers clarity on:

  • How the entire system will be perceived, at every angle and from every spot on the property.
  • Where the light will be most intense and where it will be least intense.
  • Potential problem areas where too much or too little lighting is available.
  • How far apart the lights should be spaced to ensure even coverage.
  • What lighting technologies make the most sense for a particular project.
  • How many fixtures will be required, which makes it easier to provide an estimate for the project.

Because photometry is so fundamental to proper commercial lighting design, commercial property owners should prioritize lighting providers and installers that utilize it.

Commercial lighting systems function best when they are designed with the space in mind. A proper commercial lighting system can bring maximum visibility, worker comfort and safety, or smart design to a property. In each case, LED technology offers the best combination of efficiency, reliability and functionality.

Seven Reasons To Switch To LED Lighting

Seven Reasons Your Organization Should Switch to LED Lighting

LED lighting has gone from a niche product to a market favorite in just 10 years, and there’s no sign that this trend is slowing down. According to the International Energy Agency, 2021 marked the first year that LED technology was present in more than half of major lighting markets.

Residential, commercial or industrial – LED lighting is a frontline choice for a variety of applications. The question is, why have LEDs captured so much of the market so quickly? There are lots of reasons, but here are seven of the most prominent:

Bring Operational Costs Down With Improved Energy Efficiency

Energy efficient lighting is cost efficient lighting and LED leads in this category by a significant margin. Compared to linear and compact fluorescent fixtures, which are the most popular lighting options behind LED, LED lighting is around 50 percent more efficient. This number may be a little higher or lower depending on how your fixtures are arranged, but the bottom line is that LED technology can shave thousands off your organization’s operating costs over time.

This efficiency bonus is more pronounced over older lighting technologies like HID and halogens. You can expect to drop more than 80 percent of your lighting costs if switching from HID to LED.

LED’s Enhanced Lifespan Lowers Maintenance Costs

The more often your organization has to replace its lighting components, the more expensive it will be to maintain the system. Targeting lamps with a longer lifespan is one way to extend your system’s performance and LED lighting is also the frontrunner here.

The typical LED lamp will last more than 50,000 hours and may provide 100,000 hours of quality light before it needs to be replaced. That means if left on 24/7, an LED light will last for nearly 10 years at the minimum. Compare this to fluorescent tubes, which only remain functional for three to five years before they need to be replaced. Halogens, HIDs and other older technologies may burn out in a year (or even less).

A Longer Life And Strong Durability Means LEDs Are Extremely Reliable

LEDs are also more durable than other lights and are capable of dealing with rough handling. Unlike other forms of lighting, which use flimsy filaments or fragile gas chambers, LED lights are built on solid state circuitry. There’s no weak spot that could result in early failure. This advantage is notable during installation, where the occasional bump and knock is likely to occur. Because LEDs can deal with a little punishment, they are more likely to perform as long as they are rated. That’s additional cost savings.

LED Lighting Is Easy To Pair With Modern Controls

LED lighting has been designed with modern engineering processes, so it is designed to work with modern lighting controls. With dimmers, you can control the exact amount of illumination the lamp outputs. With occupancy sensors, the lights will switch on as soon as someone is nearby. With a photocell, the lights will switch on and off with the sun’s presence. With timers, you tell the LEDs when to operate and when to shut off.

All of this is simple to do with LED’s solid state engineering. It’s not as simple with fluorescent or halogen technology, so LEDs are the choice if controllability is a concern.

LEDs Can Also Be Paired With Existing Fixtures During A Retrofit

LED fixtures have come a long way in a decade. It wasn’t too long ago that installing LEDs meant ripping out the old system and replacing it with something completely new. That was expensive, but it’s no longer the only choice. Now many LED fixtures are designed specifically for retrofit applications and are compatible with most existing lighting systems. Retrofits are possible in most facilities and are a quick, less expensive way to get the benefits of LED without the upfront cost of a new system.

Modern LED Lamps Generate Brilliant Light That Renders Color Well

Much of the discussion around LEDs focuses on efficiency and longevity, but the illumination that LED lights produce is also impressive. LED fixtures output high quality, high clarity light that appears brighter and more neutral than HID or incandescent. Also, while LEDs once lagged behind other lights in their ability to render color, that’s not the case anymore. High-CRI LED fixtures are available and are ideal for either exterior or interior applications. Inside, high-CRI lamps can faithfully represent colors in clothing and artwork. Outside, high-CRI LEDs can help people see better at night, or they can be paired with security cameras for better imaging.

Aim Light Where You Need It With LED’s Directionality

Most lamps emit illumination omnidirectionally. That means they cast light in all directions at once. This can be of benefit in some settings, but it frequently results in a lot of light that’s wasted on the ceiling and low priority surfaces.

LED lamps are directional due to their engineering and can be aimed with precision. There are a couple of benefits to this. One, more light is directed to where it is needed which improves performance and efficiency. Two, LEDs can be targeted at a particular object or area, which can be used in display and security applications.

The Future And Present Of Lighting Is LED

With clear advantages in efficiency, longevity, performance and versatility, LED lighting is poised to dominate the market for the foreseeable future. That’s great news for organizations looking to make the switch to solid state lighting. Like with most technologies that have come before, economies of scale are driving down the cost of LED lights and driving up the quality of engineering. The result is a lighting technology that is across-the-board better than its competitors.

Light The Night With Canopy Lighting Featuring LEDs

Light The Night With Canopy Lighting Featuring LEDs

LED canopy lighting offers everything property owners need in a fixture. It is intense, energy efficient, reliable and long lasting, beating out long time options like HIDs and fluorescents in every way. It won’t be long before LEDs are the first choice in canopy lighting, and lighting experts are so impressed with the technology that many are now recommending it for a wide range of applications. The time has never been better for property owners to consider the benefits of LED fixtures.

What Is Canopy Lighting Used For?

Canopy lighting can be installed on residential properties, but it is usually found in front of businesses or in areas that are frequented by people or vehicles. They are always installed in areas that are likely to be active at night, like over a gas station or warehouse. Vertical lighting capabilities, lighting intensity, low operating and maintenance costs and reliability are all essential qualities to have in canopy lighting.

Like the term suggests, canopy lighting is installed directly above the target area offering an intense pool of illumination to ensure visibility and safety. Although canopy lighting can come in pendant, recessed or surface mount forms it is always placed on the underside of an overhang or soffit.

There are numerous applications of canopy lighting. In addition to gas stations, covered walkways, garages, warehouses and industrial facilities, product showrooms are also ideal spots for these fixtures.

Why Should Property Owners Update Their Canopy Lighting?

High intensity discharge, or HID technology was the canopy lighting option of choice for decades, along with fluorescent fixtures. This is a quickly changing trend though as property owners are realizing a boost in savings and performance by switching to LED fixtures. LED technology has replaced HID, fluorescent and other fixtures in many applications including canopy lighting applications.

Why has LED become a compelling choice for property owners? There are several reasons, including:

1. Low energy costs – Canopy lighting must be on for hours at a time, and in some settings it’s better to keep it on even when no one is taking advantage of it. For example, gas stations will keep their fixtures on from sundown to sunrise, because it encourages people to stop and patronize the business. In this instance, canopy lighting provides that sense of comfort and safety that people look for at night.

Low energy and maintenance costs are essential, and LED is far superior to all other technologies in both respects. The advantage is particularly noticeable when comparing LED and HID technology. The important metric here is the watt-to-lumen ratio. The greater the number of lumens per watt, the more efficient it is at converting energy to light.

LED fixtures regularly achieve ratios in excess of 100 lumens per watt, which is impressive. HID manufacturers may advertise similar ratios, but the listed watt-to-lumen number is often way off once the HID fixture is put in practice. That’s because HID fixtures tend to radiate in all directions, so only some of those lumens make it to the ground. Reflectors can offset this, but reflectors are heavy and are not 100 percent efficient. LED, by contrast, does not radiate but is naturally directional. This makes it easier to direct all of the LED’s output toward the ground and achieve a brighter result.

Further, HID lamps degrade faster in performance compared to LED. It’s common to see somewhere close to a 20 percent output reduction after the HID fixture has operated for about 8,000 hours. At this mark, LED fixtures will still be operating near peak output levels. If the lights are kept on for 12 hours a day, it will only take a couple years before the HID fixtures are noticeably dimmer than LED lights with the same watt-to-lumen ratio.

2. Longevity and low maintenance costs – These two go hand in hand, as most of the associated maintenance costs are due to replacement. In this respect, LEDs are often maintenance free for years after installation. That’s because most LED canopy lighting is rated for at least 50,000 hours of performance, and some are rated for twice as long. HID fixtures are only rated for 15,000 to 25,000 hours of performance, but declining performance means HIDs usually have to be replaced before that mark.

LEDs can go for years without being addressed, while HIDs may need to be switched out two or three times during that span. Also, HID fixtures have to be regulated with an onboard ballast and that has to be replaced separately adding to maintenance expenditures. The cost advantage here is clearly in LED’s favor.

3. Controllability – LEDs are built on top of solid state circuitry, while HIDs and fluorescent lights use reactive gases to output illumination. Solid state circuits are far easier to control, responding to the same electrical impulses that a computer utilizes. This added controllability gives LEDs a lot more utility in a few ways.

For instance, LED canopy lighting switches on instantly and does not need to be warmed up even in temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit. Consider HIDs, which need several minutes to reach full intensity. LEDs also do not flicker and can be aimed with greater precision than HIDs. The result is more consistent, more even and more comfortable lighting.

Most LED canopy lighting can be dimmed when necessary, and dimmers can be tied to occupancy controls so intensity drops slightly when no one is around. The drop off is minor and as soon as someone enters the area the lights return to full intensity immediately. Occupancy controls and dimmers, though, ensure operating costs are kept to a minimum. They also extend the fixture’s life, offering more performance out of every fixture.

Canopy lighting pushes back the darkness and provides a sense of safety. It’s a must-have for businesses that remain open around the clock, so property owners should carefully consider their lighting options. LED fixtures are the superior option over HIDs, fluorescents and other technologies, and aren’t just the future of canopy lighting, but the present as well.

How Do LED T8s Compare to Fluorescent T8s?

Fluorescent T8 tubes have been a lighting mainstay for decades, but the development of LED T8 linear lighting means there’s a high-performing alternative. Is this a case of new replacing obsolete technology, or is there room for both fluorescent and LED T8s? It depends on the application. There are still some settings where fluorescent tubes make sense, but LED T8s have several advantages over their older counterparts. Some of them include:

  • Reliability – LED T8 lighting has a lifespan of about 50,000 hours. Some fluorescent T8 tubes are rated for 50,000 hours as well, but there are several fluorescent specific issues that can cut into that lifespan significantly. For one, fluorescent tubes are more likely to prematurely fail if they are switched on and off frequently. They are also adversely affected by cold temperatures and require a ballast, which will also eventually fail and require a replacement. These issues limit fluorescent lighting’s effectiveness in some applications, like those that require occupancy sensors.
    LED T8s don’t have these drawbacks and are far less likely to fail early. When comparing cost, it’s important to factor in LED’s long-term reliability.
  • Lighting quality – Fluorescent T8s can output a lot of light, but the quality of that light is inferior to LEDs in a couple of ways. LED lighting emits directionally so more of the light that LEDs emit can be aimed where it is needed. This can be useful in general lighting applications because more of the light can be aimed downward. LEDs are also useful in applications where concentrating the illumination is important, like in workshops. Fluorescent T8 lighting emits omnidirectionally, and some of that light is wasted in the process.
    LED technology also surpasses fluorescent lighting in color rendering. In other words, LED will display colors more accurately. While there are some high-CRI fluorescent tubes on the market, they are among the most expensive available. Fluorescent fixtures emit light beyond the blue and violet end of the visible spectrum, so they render warm colors especially poorly. The UV light that fluorescent tubes emit is also harmful to the colors in surrounding objects and will cause them to fade with long-term exposure. LED fixtures produce close to zero UV light, by contrast.
  • Controllability – LED fixtures are designed to be compatible with modern lighting controls and can be easily attached to motion sensors, photocells, timers and dimmers. This gives LED technology the versatility advantage and it also means a big efficiency boost in many settings. Fluorescent T8s cannot be dimmed as easily as LED T8s and they are a poor fit with occupancy controls.
  • Environmental – Fluorescent tubes work by exciting mercury vapor and creating light through a process termed fluorescence. Mercury vapor is a critical part of the phenomenon, but it is also harmful if it is exposed to people or the environment. For this reason, fluorescent tubes are treated as hazardous waste and their disposal may be subject to regulation. LEDs do not contain harmful chemicals or materials and may be disposed of without extra effort.

The only advantage that fluorescent lighting has is its cost. Fluorescent T8 tubes have been around for a long time and are cheap, while LED T8s are new and cost more upfront. However, the superior lifespan, efficiency and versatility of LED linear tubes can make them the more cost-effective option in the long run. There is also room for improvement in LED tube lighting and it’s likely that future generations of LED linear lighting will expand the technology’s advantages.

What Applications Are The Best Fit For LED T8 Linear Tube Lighting?

While fluorescent T8s are still useful in applications that call for a high volume of general lighting, LED T8s are starting to replace them in many settings. Some of those applications include:

  • Any lighting solution that requires occupancy controls – Office buildings, schools, retail shops, government buildings, industrial facilities and anywhere else high foot traffic is expected. LED’s durability and controllability are unmatched for these applications.
  • Any setting where cold temperatures are expected – If the lighting is going to be exposed to lower temperatures, LED T8s will prove much more reliable. Workshops, garages, outdoor walkways and sheds are spots where LED’s cold resistance is useful.
  • Any setting where the lights will be powered on and off regularly – LED tubes tolerate frequent powering on/off much better than fluorescent tubes. For this reason, LED linear lighting is a good choice for high traffic areas like residential and commercial hallways, kitchens and bathrooms.

For safety reasons, it’s also a good idea to consider LED T8s if there’s an increased likelihood of the fixtures experiencing breakage.

What are the different types of LED T8 tubes?

There are multiple LED T8 models on the market and some of them are ideal for retrofit applications. Labeled Type A, Type B and Type C, the primary difference between these models is how they work with existing fluorescent ballasts. Here’s a closer look at the three:

  • Type A – Type A LED tubes are designed to draw current through the existing ballast and power an LED driver that’s integrated into the tube. Type A T8s are the easiest and least expensive to install because they can be plugged in right where the fluorescent tube was removed. However, Type A LED tubes tend to be less efficient and because they rely on an existing ballast, they cost more to maintain over time.
  • Type B – Type B LED tubes are built with an internal driver that bypasses the ballast. This removes the ballast from the equation completely and optimizes the conversion from watts to lumens as a result. Type B tubes are also available in the widest array of lengths. Installation is more difficult and costly with Type B tubes, though, because the ballast and potentially the fixture sockets will need to be removed. This can pose a major safety hazard if not handled by a licensed and experienced professional.
  • Type C – Type C LED tubes utilize an external driver instead of an internal one. This external driver may be remote and it also removes the ballast as a functional part of the system. Compared to other LED linear lighting types, Type C tubes require the most work to install, however, they are the most efficient and controllable of the three.

Fluorescent T8s have a long and successful history in the lighting industry, but LED T8s are catching up. In many applications they are already ahead, and as LED lighting technology improves, so will LED’s already impressive reliability, lifespan, efficiency and flexibility.

Benefits Of LED Lighting For Industrial Facilities

Benefits Of LED Lighting For Industrial Facilities

Benefits of LED lighting for industrial facilities is something that is often overlooked when in reality they have the potential to make work more productive and efficient. The lack of appropriate lighting could lead to quality control and safety issues for both workers and consumers, a situation that could be avoided with better lighting.

If you are the owner of an industrial facility and are finding yourself or your employees noticing inefficient lighting or the constant stoppage of work to replace light bulbs take a few minutes to learn about LED lighting and the benefits it can provide for your facility.

Drawbacks of an Industrial Facility Without LED Lighting

Lighting paves the way for the majority of things we do on a daily basis. It’s readily available and easy to take for granted without even realizing it. For industrial facilities proper high bay lighting is a necessity, but the question then becomes are you making your lighting really work for you? Is it helping your business to thrive?

Subpar lighting can lead to serious and potentially dangerous problems including but not limited to:

  • Safety hazards
  • On the job injuries
  • Improper product assembly
  • Compromised product lines
  • Repeated failure of quality inspections

Not only could these situations put workers’ safety at risk, but it might also have the power to negatively impact a company’s bottom line. In short, subpar lighting is not an option for industrial facilities which is why many are turning to LED lighting in record numbers.

LED Lighting

Lighting is a key component of the workplace. Subpar lighting can make most kinds of tasks nearly impossible to do. What many companies do not realize is that the type of lighting they use can impact their bottom line, for better or worse.

Historically, lighting has been comprised of options such as high-pressure sodium, florescent, or metal halide lighting. While these may have been ahead of their time years ago, the mass use of LED or light emitting diode lighting is quickly making these options more obsolete. For example, many LED bulbs have the capacity to produce light up to ninety percent more effectively than most incandescent bulbs.

LED bulbs also tend to last much longer than their older counterparts. The longer lifespan of a bulb can equal less time replacing bulbs which means less lost time in a facility that would have normally had to shut down to replace these bulbs. As an added perk, LED lights seldom go out unexpectedly with a bright flash. They are instead designed to slowly dim over time, allowing companies a longer window to replace a bulb when needed.

Benefits of LED Lighting for Industrial Facilities

LED lighting is earning its place in businesses, warehouses, and industrial facilities across the nation as companies seek to improve their lighting efficiency. While it is worth noting that a company may have to pay upfront costs to have lights retrofitted for LED capabilities, this option yields savings on energy bills that will eventually pay for the installation.

When considering the advantages of using LED lighting, it can make any other type of lighting seem like an inefficient use of resources. Some of the key benefits of LED lighting for industrial facilities include:

  • Encouraging alertness – Workers may become prone to be less focused during a mid-afternoon post lunch slump or in the early morning for those that work night shifts. A significant but often unmentioned benefit of LED lighting is that its direction and brightness can assist in keeping some workers more alert.
  • Creating a higher level of safety – In addition to the brighter, directional power of LED lighting, there is the added benefit of offering facility workers a higher level of safety that can come with improved indoor visibility. Using LED lighting in this setting may help prevent accidents caused by poor visibility such as injuries, collisions, or misuse of special equipment.
  • Improving quality control – LED lighting has the capacity to be directed to specific areas rather than uniformly blanketing larger areas. This allows the light to be directed to areas with the greatest need for focused light, such as quality check of production.
  • Less switching out of light bulbs – Once the initial retrofit is performed to allow for LED lighting, these lights tend to last for longer periods of time than some less modern options. This saves companies from having to replace light bulbs as frequently which is instrumental in keeping facility production running smoothly and avoiding shutdowns for bulb replacements.
  • Saving on energy bills – Since LED lights tend to last longer than their more traditional counterparts, when used in a high bay lighting setting it could reduce the amount of energy used by as much as sixty percent. This type of savings can have a welcome domino effect when used on multiple fixtures and may allow a facility to put energy bill savings toward other areas of need.

It can be easy to look at the above and think this would be helpful but not doable in terms of time or money. It may be helpful to stop and translate some of these bullet points into actual dollar amounts. For example, how much money would the company stand to save in one year if the energy bill is cut by sixty percent? How could those same savings add up over two years? The answer may have you realizing that the time and money you spend up front on this type of upgrade can more than pay for itself over time with energy savings.

The benefits of LED lighting for industrial facilities are too abundant to ignore for the company owner that seeks high levels of efficiency and productivity. Reach out to a reputable lighting provider today to learn what switching to LED lighting could mean for your facility.

Why LEDs Should Be Utilized For Parking Garage Lighting

Why LED Parking Garage Lighting matters for both safety and appeal:

One of the first things people notice when pulling into a parking garage is the lighting. Is there enough of it? Is it bright enough? Is it helping me figure out how the garage is laid out? These are the kind of questions people reflexively ask themselves when using a parking garage. It’s clear that lighting should be a priority.

Outdated or failing lighting systems are not capable of producing enough light for visitors to maintain adequate visibility. Poor lighting can also lead to security issues and can confuse people attempting to navigate the garage, leading to frustration.

Modern lighting systems, and LED lighting in particular, can provide a garage with excellent lighting coverage, intensity and efficiency. Compared to outdated HID lighting systems, LED technology represents a major step forward for parking garage lighting.

Why LED Lighting is the best option for parking garages:

Parking garages are expected to be available around the clock and must be as low maintenance as possible. LED lighting fits perfectly into this objective for several reasons. They include:

  1. Security – The Bureau of Justice Statistics tracks, among many other things, the number of crimes that occur in parking garages. From 2004 to 2008, the bureau tallied up nearly 2.5 million crimes in U.S. parking garages. Of these, more than 15 percent were violent crimes.
    People often feel vulnerable in parking garages, and if there isn’t adequate lighting in the space, then that feeling will only be more intense. Older lighting systems are prone to outages and declining luminous intensity, and this can leave people in the dark. Anyone using the garage at night will likely take notice as well, and this may push people into finding an alternative.
    Bright and even lighting ensures there are no dark areas where someone could hide. Every part of the garage is easy to see, allowing visitors to drive and walk around with confidence.
    LED lighting is prized for its ability to produce even illumination, and this is thanks to the technology’s engineering. LED fixtures are directional by nature, which means they emit in a tighter angle than other fixtures. This allows for easier, precise aiming, and lighting experts can utilize this when diagramming and laying out LED fixtures.
  2. Safety – According to the National Safety Council, there are more than 50,000 accidents in parking garages every year, resulting in around 500 deaths. Parking garages can be hazardous for drivers and pedestrians alike, especially if there is inadequate lighting in the garage. Poor lighting reduces visibility and makes it difficult to detect motion at a distance. At night, visibility may be reduced to the point where completely preventable accidents occur.
    Even illumination helps people feel more secure, it will also improve safety. LED lighting will eliminate the kind of dark spots and shadows that can affect driver visibility, ensuring drivers aren’t caught off guard by pedestrians.
  3. Low maintenance – Most parking garages are effectively giant mounds of poured concrete. They are intended to be sturdy, rugged structures that only need occasional maintenance. Aging lighting systems put pressure on garage owners to constantly address maintenance issues. As fixtures enter their decline phase, they produce less and less light and may blink out for good at any time. It only gets worse with time, as some lights will need to be replaced while others may still have a bit longer to go. This can lead to maintenance call after maintenance call, costing the owner more money to maintain failing systems.
    This is a major problem with older technologies like HID lighting. These lights may only last thousands of hours before their illumination output becomes unacceptable. Most won’t make it past 10,000 hours. However, LED lights normally provide at least 50,000 hours of performance, and it’s common for LED fixtures to last much longer than that. Longer performance means fewer replacements, and that saves the owner money and time.
  4. Durability – It’s rare for a parking garage to be shielded from the elements to any degree. They aren’t climate controlled, which means rain, snow, ice and intense heat are all issues that the garage’s lighting will have to contend with. Drivers are another hazard for lights that are installed closer to the ground, and one will eventually bump into an expensive fixture.
    Fortunately LED lights are particularly durable and are often used in tougher environments for this reason. They handle physical shock better than all other lighting options, so they can take the occasional bump without failing. LED fixtures are also able to withstand unconditioned environments with ease, ensuring they remain operational even during the worst conditions.
  5. Controllability – Occupancy controls are a must in parking garages, as lighting is essential when people are navigating through the garage, and a waste when no one is present. Fortunately, LED lighting is designed for maximum controllability, and can be easily tied to occupancy sensors, dimmers and other control options.
    Parking garages can be confusing to many people, as they aren’t laid out like any other building. LED lighting with the proper controls can help with this, as well, as the fixtures can be set to flash, change color, or otherwise get attention. This is a simple way to help people find their way, and to do so in the safest way possible.

Parking garage lighting can greatly enhance the building’s utility as long as the right lighting solution is put in place. LED lighting is that solution for most parking garages, and will provide years of reliable, low maintenance service.