LEDs: Lightening the energy load
12 May 2015
Too many companies have still not switched on to the huge energy-saving potential presented by LED lighting and controls, according to Michael McDonnell, business development director at Harvard Engineering. Here, he puts forward the case for change.
Industry is more aware than ever of the need to cut energy spend, with increasing competition fuelling the need to keep overheads down and growing pressure from government to cut carbon emissions. The new Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) will be encouraging many companies to look again at their energy strategies, with larger enterprises required to undergo a mandatory assessment of energy use and energy efficiency opportunities by the end of the year.
Replacing outdated lighting with LEDs is now widely accepted as one of the most efficient ways of making substantial savings on a site’s electricity bill. Lighting represents a disproportionately large share of a commercial building’s electricity spend – typically around 40% - while installing new lighting technologies, together with lighting controls, can result in savings of over 50%. Implementing a change makes sound financial sense with payback, calculated at the outset, generally delivered in a relatively short period of time.
The performance of LEDs has also improved dramatically in just a few short years. In addition to the savings delivered, LEDs now offer a better, brighter quality of light that is infinitely scalable and controllable – given the optimum LED driver and light engine solution to power the LED. They are suitable for use with energy-saving strategies such as daylight harvesting, occupancy sensors, scene setting and time scheduling.
LEDs have other advantages; their long lifespan of around 50,000h, almost seven years of continuous operation, reductions in maintenance spend on lamp replacement – particularly useful in industrial settings with high roofs – the fact that they are up to eight times more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs because they emit light in a specific direction, making them suitable for the levels of visual clarity required on a production line. They also give off very little heat, so can also reduce the cost of air conditioning.
Even greater savings are achievable through the use of controls, particularly in an industrial facility where lighting can typically be powered on for 24h a day. There is a myriad of opportunities for reducing lighting levels in different areas at different times. Using controls overrides the need to rely on compliance from staff, who may lack knowledge about what can and can’t be switched off, or understanding about the significant cost implications of leaving lights on.
The LED lighting market has surged as more businesses wake up to their benefits, growing four or five-fold since 2010. With growth has come extensive industry investment in the development of new products and technologies. Harvard Engineering’s own significant investments have resulted in products such asthe CoolLED constant current drivers which provide a solution for powering LEDs from a mains supply and offer intelligent, programmable digital dimming.
A range of highly efficient modular light engines, compatible with DALI and 1-10V dimming, LEDeng, has also been developed to meet market demand. Also compatible with Harvard’s new indoor lighting control system, EyeNut, which offers a total web-based, wire-free control solution that delivers a 40% energy saving on top of savings already provided by a switch to LEDs. Harvard provides standard and custom LED design and placement for clients ranging from niche markets to some of the world’s largest lighting manufacturers. Combining light engines and drivers that have been designed in conjunction, ensures maximum compatibility and efficiency.
Product development and the strength of competition in the LED lighting market means that there has probably never been a better time for industry to invest in energy-efficient LED lighting and speed the UK’s path to a low carbon economy.