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Field Report: The Switch To LEDs — Why Your Industrial Facility Needs Better Light

Lighting is one of the largest overheads for warehouses, representing about 30 percent of a typical warehouse or facility’s energy usage.

This article originally appeared in the October print issue of IMPO Magazine. To view the digital version, click here

Comprising roughly 16 percent of commercial building space nationwide, warehouse and industrial facilities represent a significant opportunity to conserve energy consumption through the implementation of next generation, energy-efficient solutions like LED lighting. In fact, lighting is one of the largest overheads for warehouses, representing about 30 percent of a typical warehouse or facility’s energy usage. This translates into thousands of dollars in annual energy expenses — a reality that is enticing facility managers to ‘flip the switch’ to LEDs.

Not only does LED lighting have the potential to cut electricity usage by more than 50 percent, but it also lasts up to 50,000 hours or longer while producing better quality light and contributing to a better work environment. And, with new high performance solutions, many industrial facilities can achieve payback in less than two years.

As a result, LED lighting has become the number one choice for new construction and renovation, especially when you take into consideration both the long-term and short-term advantages. With virtually no maintenance, premium light quality and other impressive payback benefits, LED is the best choice for your facility’s lighting needs. Why wait? Here’s how and why any industrial facility should get started now.

Immediate Facility Impact

While the energy-saving benefits of LEDs certainly take the spotlight, the immediate payoffs are just as bright. In terms of lighting quality and controllability, LEDs provide instant results and can transform a workplace from dull and drab to energized and productive. Better quality lighting in manufacturing environments means uniform light all down the line, enabling employees to focus on the task at hand while minimizing the possibility of accidents on the manufacturing floor. The crisp, clear white light produced by LEDs can be tailored to suit the human eye, eliminating eye strain compared to low-quality fluorescent and halogen lights that can cause adverse and costly implications in certain working environments. In fact, OSHA recommends that a workplace be ergonomically arranged to reduce glare and excessive lighting, which can result in headaches and other unfavorable work conditions. With an LED upgrade your facility may not only be a safer work environment, but employees benefit from greater visibility and fewer warehouse accidents and injuries.

Long Term Pay-Off, Quick

Spanning more than 17,000 square feet on average – and often keeping exterior lights on 24/7 to handle round the clock deliveries – industrial and distribution facilities are taking notice of LED lighting technology. Until LED lighting, companies had no other option than to regularly replace old burned-out lamps and hard-to-reach fixtures, often using space to store fixtures. However, the longevity of LEDs directly impacts maintenance expenses and hazardous disposal problems in facilities, reducing costly interruptions and employee downtime. The average projected life of a quality LED fixture is 50,000 hours or more, with some LED lighting lasting up to 100,000 hours, or 11 years of 24-hour operation. Leading suppliers are offering up to a 10-year warranty, instilling long-term confidence in virtually maintenance-free, energy- saving LED lighting that translates into time and money saved, and freedom to dedicate valuable resources to other facility needs. Facility managers can also reallocate savings to other improvements such as HVAC repairs, new equipment or hiring additional personnel and contributing to overall productivity and efficiency of operations.

Even the most efficient fixtures waste energy and money if they’re left on when not needed, making controllability another attractive component of efficient lighting systems. LED solutions offer greater intelligent light capabilities, enabling facility managers to cut costs and reduce energy usage immediately through wirelessly integrated controls. Today, LED systems can be dimmed, cycled down or turned on and off based on time, occupancy and daylight availability, translating into additional energy saved.

Things to Consider

After considering the many benefits of LEDS, switching to more efficient lighting is a no-brainer. So why do millions of outdated lamps still burn in the nation’s factories and warehouses, wasting energy and delivering less than optimum workspace illumination? Sometimes, it’s just a matter of getting started.

A lighting project starts with a simple analysis of existing technologies to determine where the retrofit would be most beneficial. While many lighting companies offer a range of energy saving solutions for lighting, it is important to research before retrofitting or designing a facility. Many lighting companies offer facilities the option to “test-drive” products by installing LED fixtures in a small portion of the facility. Typically, the short-term results of a test-run are so impressive that facilities choose to make the switch to their entire facility — or even company-wide.

It is also important to consider the product warranty. While most lighting companies offer warranties of up to fi ve years, some go above and beyond by offering warranties of up to 10 years. Choosing fixtures with longer warranties can significantly contribute to lowering maintenance costs and related expenses, creating an ease of mind when making these tough decisions.

And don’t overlook the exterior. LED lighting provides light where you need it and when you need it, unlike traditional technologies that often leave dark areas and create shadows, and proper exterior lighting is particularly important in ensuring a safe environment for workers. And, with deliveries and often round-the-clock hours, switching to exterior LED lights can be a significant energy-saver.

Ultimately, the most important factor to consider when installing LEDs is ensuring you’re getting quality and performance that will last.

Get Started Now

While yesterday’s business owners have held out on investing in LED technology, waiting for an old bulb to burn out before replacing it with a more efficient model, the energy wasted by waiting can have costly implications. So, why wait if you can start saving on energy today? Simply put, LEDs can save your facility costly expenses, improve working environments and pay back quickly. Now is the time to switch to LED lighting and make your facility the highest-performance environment it can be.