Light-emitting diode (LED) lamps are more energy efficient and longer lasting than conventional lighting technologies. An LED upgrade can help facilities save significantly on energy and maintenance costs. But what if LED fixtures were also smart, adapting to their environment and communicating energy use and maintenance information? Facilities could save even more because such intelligent LED systems help optimize energy efficiency, increase lamp life and reduce operating costs.
The advantages of LED lighting
LEDs offer two major advantages that make them highly adaptable to intelligent control, dimmability and instant on. Fluorescent and high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps have a long warm-up time. HID lamps also have a restrike time delay; they must be allowed to cool before being turned on again. In contrast, LED lamps start almost instantaneously and have no restrike time delay. Fluorescent and HID lamps typically have a limited dimming range, while many LED products are highly dimmable.
Other benefits compared to conventional lighting technologies include:
Lower energy costs. LEDs are highly energy efficient. The directional nature of their light output also helps put light exactly where it is needed, saving more energy by reducing the number of light fixtures and total light output needed.
Lower maintenance costs. LEDs have an average rated life of up to 50,000 hours or more, far longer than most conventional light sources. This helps reduce the need for lamp replacement and maintenance.
Durability. Made from solid-state materials, LEDs are resistant to vibration and difficult to break, making them useful for outdoor lighting, parking garages, sports facilities and other rugged environments.
Cold temperature performance. LEDs perform well in cold temperature environments, making them useful for outdoor lighting and refrigeration applications.
Safety. LEDs do not contain mercury, a hazardous substance found in fluorescent and high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps, increasing safety and easing disposal.
The combination of these benefits with intelligent control can lead to lighting cost savings of 90 percent or more, with a reasonable payback for the initial investment.
The basics of intelligent LED lighting systems
Although intelligent LED lighting products differ in some respects, common features setting them apart include: awareness, adaptability, measurement and communication.
Intelligent light fixtures come with built-in daylight and occupancy sensors integrated with drivers and controllers, allowing the fixtures to adapt to the changing environment. Daylight sensors detect the amount of natural light in the surrounding area, dimming or turning off lights when they are not needed. Make sure that LED fixtures will work with your existing dimming system. Occupancy sensors save energy by turning off fixtures automatically when a space is empty.
Intelligent LED systems include integrated power metering to track how much energy each fixture is using. Facility managers can assess lighting energy use for specific areas or from an overall system perspective, making it easier to develop strategies to reduce waste and improve efficiency. Information about variation in energy consumption of individual fixtures can signal the need for repair or replacement, reducing operating and maintenance costs.
Networking lights together makes the whole system smarter; allowing fixtures to communicate with each other, and with a central controller. While each intelligent fixture has the ability to automatically manage operations to save energy, such intelligence is preprogrammed and limited to that individual fixture. Networked intelligent fixtures, however, offer an entire new set of functions, such as remote sensing and shut-off, emergency control, as well as tracking and reporting.
Wired or wireless communications can be used, depending on the situation. Wireless installations add flexibility and reduce costs. Signals are transmitted using WiFi, ZigBee or other wireless communication standards. Many intelligent LED lighting systems also include a software system to display information and facilitate remote control.
Your electric utilities offer incentives for purchasing energy efficient lighting and controls. For more information, see our Save@Work section.
This article has been prepared solely for the purpose of providing helpful information to users of this service. The information has been compiled by Questline, a contractor to the NHSaves utilities; however, no representation is made by either Questline or NHSaves as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained therein. In particular, some information may be incomplete, may contain errors or may be out of date. In addition, neither Questline nor NHSaves endorses any product or service mentioned therein.