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.

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