Updated: Feb 11, 2019
Let there be light! But not any old light. Good light. Quality light. And the right amount of light too. Often overlooked in the development of lighting projects to reduce energy consumption is the quality side of the equation.
I often tell our clients that we can save them 100% of their lighting energy if they would just allow us to remove all of their lighting. Not so practical and it defeats the purpose but there is a lesson there. We have recently had several clients push for a “de-lamping” strategy in conjunction with an LED upgrade of their lighting systems. The energy models and spreadsheets proclaim this strategy to be an absolute “no brainer” driving both CAPEX down and energy savings up. And because lighting designers have typically designed in a good 25% - 30% of surplus light to account for the lumen depreciation of florescent fixtures, dropping the amount of light on LED upgrade project can be a good strategy. But not always.
The Right Light For the Users
We want to ensure that our clients and their tenants / employees / customers / guests who inhabit the space have the right amount of good, quality light. There are several strategies that can be deployed but it is important to start with a solid foundation of data. In our case, we build photometric models that validate the existing and future lighting environments for our client’s spaces. Most good projects developers will provide this for their clients. That said, I am regularly running across poorly designed and implemented LED projects to find out that the implementer installed without any advance planning. In one case, a client told me that they were on their third set of lights through a trial and error process with their lighting contractor! The disruption alone is totally unacceptable. Getting the appropriate level of footcandles for people to work and live under is critical for productivity, health and safety.
Once the quantity of light problem is solved, we can then move on to the quality issue.
Quality Solid State Lighting
Poor quality light can result in glare, gloom, eyestrain, and flicker and can even potentially manifest itself physically through headaches. Quality solid state lighting has the ability to control and overcome these obstacles. Manufacturers like Lumenetix (hat tip to John Picard for introducing me to their products) can deliver full spectrum lighting. Trans-Lux Energy has T8 tubes that are pushing >90 CRI (color rendering index) in a super-efficient package (150 lumens per watt). Lunera Lighting has innovative plug and play lamps that dramatically improves the light quality in a low cost install. Ephesus Lighting is changing the broadcast standards in sports lighting with their incredible LED lighting system. In fact, if you watched last years Super Bowl, this years BCS Championship or will watch the Final Four this year, you will see their product and what a difference it makes, especially in Ultra High Definition and Ultra Slow Motion.
Bottom line is that lighting is critical to how we live our lives and we hardly ever pay attention to it unless is really bad or not working.
We all love to save money, and believe me, LEDs will certainly tick that box, but not all lights are created equal. Give me a shout if we can help shed some light on your buildings.