The Tech and the Tumult
According to Bear Shelton, regional director for Blue Sky Lighting products, a lighting retrofit typically involves removing a 1,000-W fixture and replacing it with a 300-W fixture expected to last more than 20 years without the need for maintenance.
“On top of that, it gives a similar brightness and quality of light relatively the same as 1,000 watts, and they save upwards to 70% of energy,” he says.
When it comes to choosing a lighting system for a new installation or retrofit, it’s important the system be visually efficient, says Larry Leetzow, president of Magnaray. A system should have good color-rending sources, proper distribution for the human eye to operate efficiently and reduced glare, he adds. High-quality products ensure longevity, Leetzow says.
“[End users] may need to pay a little bit more for a better-quality product, but they’ll be repaid many times over in longevity, use, and liability for both indoor and outdoor equipment,” he says. “Maintenance is something people should take into consideration. If you buy cheap products, you’re going to have higher maintenance costs, which is ongoing.”
Magnaray provides exterior lighting products primarily to the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as for interior warehouse and factory applications. End-users generally derive energy savings above 70%, and maintenance costs are reduced by at least 50%.
“Like a lot of people, we’re working on an LED solution,” says Leetzow. “At this time, there are still some problematic areas that need to be worked out by the components manufacturers to eliminate some of these inherent problems that still exist.”
LED technology “can look like something foreign to a fixture that was originated in the 1900s,” says Chris Rosfelder, vice president of sales and marketing for Spring City. “Nostalgia is important, and the aesthetics of the fixture are as important as the performance of the fixture.”
But it’s not just appearance that’s important, up times and lighting quality must also be considered when choosing an indoor lighting source.
With today’s technology, you’ve got mercury vapor or metal halide,” says H. B. Turner, president of Heatron, pointing out how this can effect warehouses and other large spaces. “Those fixtures are on all of the time because they take so long to come on. They use so much energy. A 1,000-watt bulb mercury vapor could be replaced with a 100- or 200-watt LED fixture. The advantage is you get instant on/instant off. Only the area in which forklifts are operating needs lighting.”
Glare reduction and high color-rendering source lamps offer wide distribution patterns and work more efficiently.
“We’re focusing on the latest state-of-the-art florescent lamp for sources and we combine that into our fixture design, which is a very efficiently designed reflector to get the light out of the fixture, but it also minimizes glare,” says Leetzow.
“The human eye doesn’t need as much intensity of light to function efficiently,” he adds. “In a lot of cases, we’re reducing light levels as well, but people don’t perceive the light levels being lower. They tell us they have two to three times the light they used to have even though the light meter doesn’t indicate that.”
Cooper Lighting’s next-generation LED LightBAR System is AccuLED Optics. The system is designed to provide improved lumen output and efficiency and offers up to 75% in energy savings over standard HID systems. The lumen and energy output can be customized to fulfill the exact needs of the outdoor space to eliminate wasted energy and obtrusive spill light.
SmartPOD technology by Lumetric is based on a direct drive light engine. The electronic drive, solid state HID luminaire minimizes light and quality degradation with soft-strike ignition designed to improve lumen maintenance and color rendering. The arc formed by electrodes in HID lamps is “tamed” by the SmartPOD, making it possible to dim the lights and provide a high level of lumens per watt, says Greg Davis, Chief Technology Officer of Lumetric.
“Why fix something that’s an efficient lamp, and replace it with something that you have to give up something else? We fix the process, and you get to keep the lamp.”