Long gone are the days when a commercial enterprise could install basic halogen or incandescent light bulbs. As evidence mounts about how human activity is negatively impacting the planet problem solvers are rushing to develop energy-conserving methods of doing business.
Old lighting technology like halogen lightbulbs wastes nearly 95 percent of the electricity used to run the luminaries. Incandescent and halogen bulbs convert energy into heat which in turn drives up the cost of air conditioning and the cycle of wasted energy continues to cost businesses enormous amounts of money. A wide array of industries has been put on notice by their customer base that wasteful practices, pollution, and worker exploitation aren’t tolerated. Energy wastage negatively impacts brands and can tighten profit margins.
The European Union is working hard to phase out halogen and incandescent bulbs to improve Europe’s energy use. Switching to LED lighting is a sure-fire way to improve the EU’s energy efficiency because the swap reduces CO2 emissions to an impressive 15 million tons each year.
What are LEDs?
LED stands for light-emitting diode. A diode is an electronic device made from semiconductors like germanium or silicon. Diodes possess two connectors or electrodes that transport electricity in a single direction. These technological marvels can alternate electrical currents with a simple bridge that allows the energy to move in different ways. There are used in a variety of ways but the most common use for diodes is to produce light.
LEDs produce a variety of colored electroluminescence by moving energy forward. The shade of LED is determined by what materials are used to build the light. LEDs can produce infrared, near-ultraviolet, and light visible to the human eye.
The amount of energy used by the LED is determined by the color. White LEDs typically have a couple of colors inside the bulbs while white LEDs are commonly blue mixed with a type of phosphor that merges the color to produce clear, white light.
The U.S. Department of Energy states that the building sector uses the most electricity of any industry in the nation at 76 percent and is responsible for 40 percent of the country’s greenhouse emissions associated with energy use.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration surveyed in 2012 to find 5.6 million buildings with almost 90 billion square feet of space used the most energy in any industry.
5 Types of Commercial Spaces Responsible for the Most Energy Use
- Retail (includes mercantile and service buildings)
- Educational buildings
- Healthcare services like hospitals and labs
- Travel industry lodging
Each of these types of building takes up more than half of all commercial buildings in the nation, using more than 60 percent of all commercial floorspace. These buildings use more energy than any other type of structure. These industries rely on natural gas and electricity which represent 93 percent of all energy consumed in industrial spaces in 2012.
Energy.gov describes LEDs as superb energy-efficient luminaries which when applied correctly have the capacity to revolutionize energy consumption all over the world. The popularity of LEDs leads FSG logistical experts to believe that by the year 2027, LEDs could conserve an estimated 348 TWh (in comparison to traditional lighting like fluorescent bulbs) of electricity.
348 TWh is enough electricity to power nearly 50 power plants at 1000 megawatts per plant, which would save nearly $30 billion in electricity costs. Even 70 watt LED high bay bulbs conserves 60 percent of electricity compared to a traditional 175-watt sodium lamp.
High bay lighting is a term used to describe lighting that is used to illuminate spaces with a high ceiling of 20 to 45 feet high. Alternatively, low bay lighting is used for spaces with ceilings less than 20 feet tall. High bay lighting is ideal for parking lots, warehouses, gyms, storage facilities, assembly lines, and large buildings.
LEDs aren’t simply more efficient or eco-friendly, the last roughly 25 times longer than incandescent luminaries. The average high bay LED will function roughly 50,000 hours. Non-LED energy-saving lamps have a lifespan of a single year and contain mercury.
LED light bulbs will indeed require a bigger initial investment, but these luminaries can last for more than a decade if used modestly. The durability of LEDs is reducing waste, costs, and carbon footprints.
However, if the lights for eight hours or more every day the LEDs will last approximately 3.5 years. The decade durability claim comes from the manufacturer’s statement that LED bulb functions for 11,000 hours but that’s only if the bulb is used for a few hours a day.
Considering that an incandescent light bulb has an average 1,000-hour lifespan, 11,000 hours is still an enormous improvement and creates less waste. High bay LEDs often claim to last for 50,000 hours but again this is based on use. LED bulbs do degrade over time and will provide less illumination as they degenerate.
Different types of light perform differently in various settings. Reflectors often impact the performance of high bay lighting. For example, aluminum reflectors from light fixtures point directly at what is below them, while prismatic reflectors provide more light and are suitable for illuminating things like shelves or other high up objects.
The varied point structure of LED lights diffuses the illumination evenly with the correct fixtures. LEDs provide uniform light levels and can be adjusted to meet specific color temperatures or brightness needs.
LEDs are more energy-efficient than any traditional lamps. LEDs are cold source lights that do not convert energy into heat. Fluorescent, halogen, and metal halide lights waste energy by expelling excess heat into the lighted space.
An incandescent bulb runs by warming the filament to a temperature which creates light, an LED bulb produces electromagnetic energy that is expressed as illumination. when electrified. LEDs turn energy into light, skipping the step of heating a filament, which allows LEDs to operate at low temperatures.
LEDs do generate a small amount of heat, but the warmth is deconstructed by a heat sink. A heat sink dismantles heat and directs it from the diodes. A light fixture can be hot to the touch, but LEDs don’t create infrared radiation. There is no warmth on the LED bulb itself. LEDs have long been the most popular option for galleries and museums because the light doesn’t degrade paint, dye, or other materials and protect the art from damage.