Effective Applications for LED Lighting

Effective Applications for LED Lighting

Efficient Applications of LED Lighting

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

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

1) LED Lighting in Office Buildings Boosts Productivity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3) Warehouse and Industrial LED Lighting Improves Safety and Efficiency

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

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

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

4) Sports Arena LED Lighting is Reliable and Low Maintenance

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

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

5) Landscape LED Lighting Offers Improved Safety and Aesthetic Appeal

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

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

Work with a Lighting Expert to Maximize LED Lighting Applications

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

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

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

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