Monday, September 26, 2016

What is the Best Replacement For Metal Halide Technology?

In the world of commercial lighting, especially in outdoor lighting and large indoor areas there are three most common lighting technologies found:

  • High Pressure Sodium (HPS)
  • Light-Emitting Diode (LED)

With metal halide and high pressure sodium lighting technologies in an overwhelming amount of facilities and fixtures, LED has a long way to come in terms of being the majority.

When the question of “what is the best alternative to metal halide lights” comes up: the overwhelming and most common answer these days is LED. There are just so many benefits of LED vs metal halide, hence the massive growth for the LED lighting market while metal halide are slowly becoming obsolete.

Wondering what exactly are the benefits of LED over metal halide? Here they are:

Benefits of LED over MH

They use 50-75% less energy. Depending on where you get your industrial lighting products from will all depend on the energy savings you realize from you LED system. Ensuring you do proper research before placing an order will ensure the best ROI as well as short and long term energy savings. So although any LED is generally better than MH; if you don’t do your research you could be cutting yourself short of 25% more energy savings by choosing the wrong supplier / manufacturer. With savings like this; you can just “eye” how fast you can realize a return on investment.

Higher quality. LEDs not only offer higher quality of light emitted but also higher quality structure. It’s just in the way they are built. But like the previous benefits, it can all depend on the company you get your lighting fixtures from. Ensuring the highest of quality built lights can seriously make or break your ROI. If you go with the wrong company you could be costing yourself more, especially if your lights are going into a fragile environment (such as food processing plants, refineries, etc). Back to the part about higher quality of light; LED technology in general is known to emit and provide a better and wider range of color temperatures and Color Rendering Index numbers. In addition, if you’ve ever had issues with metal halide fixtures buzzing or flickering; you’ll be surprised to know that LED will never do these things, not even near the end of their lifespan!

LED gives rebates. Have you ever got a rebate for purchasing a metal halide light? Probably not, know why? Because energy companies know that they are inefficient and they only reward those who make the investment in quality lighting that they know is saving extranomical amounts of energy (especially when you are talking about a large building with many lights). Only thing you need to remember to be eligible for rebates is this: buy DLC qualified products only. The DLC qualifies only commercial / industrial lighting products that are of quality. And if they aren’t listed, utility companies typically (if ever) will give you rebates simply for having a LED system installed in your building.

Don’t get me wrong; some items don’t qualify to be listed on the DLC’s official website not because they aren’t quality but rather because they don’t fit the criteria to be listed. They can also be listed with Energy Star which is equally as good.

How to replace existing metal halide lights?

Replacing existing lights can have two different options: Fully replace or just retrofit.

Fully replacing a light involves removing and replacing not only the light source itself but also the fixture it is held in. While on the contrary, a retrofit is just a replacement of the existing light source with a new one; all while keeping the external fixture that the light source is in.

Something called a metal halide LED retrofit is the perfect option for those who would simply like to replace technologies from metal halide to LED instead of replacing the entire fixture. If you’d like to replace the entire lighting fixture too, you will be best off buying a system that is all put together and practically ready to install.

What is a Vapor Tight Light? When is it Used?

If you are a facility manager or even a building owner in a facility that deals with wet environments you probably already know what vapor tight lighting is. And for those of you who aren’t one of those; you are probably already getting a very small idea about what they are.

In short, vapor tight lighting is made to block out moisture from entering the fixture. This is extremely important for any situation in which the lighting fixtures within a facility are faced with wet conditions and need to block out moisture from entering.

Often times in food processing facilities this is very common due to regulations and rules requiring them to wash down everything in the facility frequently, even the lighting fixtures. Think about this; what happens when water gets into technology? It can ruin it, grow mold, and just ruin the overall safety and functionality of the product itself; and this all goes along with the lighting fixtures in wet facilities. But not only are they for wet environments, they are also made to lock out dirt and dust; which can also cause issues to lights.

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of what vapor tight fixtures are, what they do, and why they are important to have. Now we are going to cover exactly where they are used besides just in food processing facilities and also uncover the difference of a vapor tight and a vapor proof fixture. There is a difference, and you want to know what it is!

Where are they used?

We’ve talked about food processing plants as a common place that you will find a vapor tight light fixture being used. But where else are they used? Here is a list of many common applications that you will find vapor tight fixtures being used…

  • Food Processing Plants
  • Cold Storage Facilities
  • Paint Booths / Areas
  • Parking Garages

As you can probably imagine, all of these areas are susceptible to either water, dust, dirt, or any of the related. Thus, it’s highly important for these types of environments (as well as many more) to install vapor tight fixtures.

Vapor Tight vs Vapor Proof

There is a common confusion of vapor tight and vapor proof lighting. Vapor tight is what we’ve been talking about and the applications we’ve discussed. Vapor proof on the other hand is a bit different yet similar at the same time.Vapor proofs are designed to replace existing metal halide or HPS lights (just like the tights do), but instead of water and dirt; they are meant to resist corrosive fumes, vapors, gases, and the related (moisture too!).
Some common applications that vapor proof fixtures include the following (but not limited to):

  • Oil Refineries
  • Nuclear Power Plants
  • Any related environments…

The importance of this technology is highly important for all environments that are susceptible to wet, dirty, or gas environments. Without such technology, the lights in such environments would be vulnerable to the elements that these places produce.

Final Words

We have covered what a vapor tight lighting system is, when it’s used and where, as well as the difference of a vapor tight and vapor proof fixture.

We hope you now have a better understanding of how important this technology is to any fragile environment that is susceptible to certain conditions such as moisture, dirt, or dust. You should now be able to identify if you will need these types of lighting fixtures in your facility or not; and if you do you now know which you need (proof or tight).

Have any other comments or questions on the topic? Comment them down below and share your thoughts!

Friday, September 23, 2016

How to Identify Quality Healthcare Lighting and The Importance

In such a highly sensitive and fragile environments such as hospitals and healthcare facilities, quality everything is important; including the lights within and even outside the facility.

The importance is often overlooked within the healthcare industry as resources are often spent looking at ways to improve treatment. But one way you can improve treatment, reduces costs, and decrease liabilities is by installing quality healthcare lighting at your facility.

To help you identify what exactly a quality healthcare lighting system includes, we’ve include the following 9 points to help you.

Identifying Quality Healthcare Lighting Systems
     Good color temperatures based on patient needs. While some lighting color temperatures may not affect some patients, it may affect others. Discovering the perfect color temperature can prove to be difficult, but with some study of the topic and which is best for fragile environments you will surely define the appropriate color temperature.
     Technology that doesn’t flicker. The thing with flickering lights is that they can get highly annoying especially if you are around it all day. This can cause issues for both patients and workers. Flickering can cause irritation, loss of concentration, all of which are terrible combinations in a hospital type environment. The only technology that does not flicker, even at the end of the lighting sources life is a healthcare LED system. Things like Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium (HPS) start flickering as they come closer to burning out, and this is something highly dangerous in this type of environment.
     Technology that doesn’t buzz. This point is very similar to the previous, just this is a buzz rather that a flicker. Again the only solution to this issue is LED, as metal halide and HPS fixtures can buzz when they get older in usage.
     Toxin free fixtures. The last thing you want is a broken bulb filled with toxins to be inside (or outside) your fragile health care facility. Fluorescent fixtures and tubes are one of the biggest culprits of this issue. When broken, they often require extreme caution to clean up. And what happens when one of these fixtures breaks near a patient? A very bad situation. LED technology avoids all toxic chemicals which is another reason it is perfect for such sensitive environments like walk-ins and hospitals.
     Testing by third party organizations. The lighting industry is full of both quality and not-so-quality fixtures. To be able to tell the difference, the DLC, better known as DesignLight Consortium which was founded in 1998, is in place to test and qualify lighting products. If commercial lights on the market are not listed, we suggest to avoid these at all costs. Instead, be on the look out for both DLC standard and premium fixtures as they prove to be longer lasting and eligible for rebates.

Important Considerations for Any Healthcare Facility
     Always go DLC for rebates. As talked about in a previous point, DLC allows you to receive rebates (typically) through your utility company. Although they can vary greatly depending on where you are located, you should contact your utility company to consult with them about what DLC qualified products at your facility can do for you and any rebates available.
     Never cheap out with your lighting upgrades. Although you may save money in your upfront investment, the long run will prove to cost you significantly more. Not only in direct energy costs, but also liabilities you may open yourself up to by having sub-par lighting that leads to accidents.
     Always try going for the highest lumen per watt system. The highest lumen per watt system you can find always leads to a higher decrease in utility costs. This allows you to payback your investment faster and save month to month on your facilities energy costs. Be sure to always analyze your options though, including initial upfront cost in your analysis.
     Educate yourself on lighting. You don’t want to fall victim of any low quality lighting just because you have no basic education on lighting systems. Always be on the lookout for educational opportunities around the web that will allow you to at least get an idea of the industrial lighting industry; most specifically healthcare lighting. While you don’t need to become an expert, it’ll never hurt to learn the basics and then some.

Final Words

Here are some final words on the topic of healthcare facility lighting systems that you should keep in mind.

     Don’t go without DLC qualified lighting
     Always do your research
     Stay educated and up to date with what’s the best option of lights
     Fragile environments require quality lighting - don’t put patients or even workers at risk

There you have it, some important things to keep in mind regarding lighting for your health care building. Keeping your patients safe is the number one priority remember that!

What is a Cobra Head Light and Some Considerations

A frequently asked question that is asked about cobra head lighting is very simple, and it’s “what exactly is a cobra head light?”

In short, a cobra light is often just the official term for a street lighting fixture. It’s important for a buyer to know what this term is when considering a purchase of lights for streets so they don’t get confused when technical lighting terms come up.

A Brief History of Cobra Heads and Street Lighting
While this won’t be an extensive history lesson on street lighting, a brief overview seems to be a good fit for this topic to get a better understanding behind cobra head technology.

In the beginning times of street lighting, is was as basic as a glass lantern with a candle in it. Of course, this was way back in the 4th century. The cobra head technology was first brought into the world of illuminating streets in 1957. Since then, a lot of progress has developed.

Some of today's most efficient cobra heads are made from LED technology. Some cobra head LEDs run upwards of 120+ lumens per watt. Back when they were first introduced, it was nowhere close to this.

This proves to the industry and clients of street lighting around the globe that is just over 50 years of cobra heads in existence, the technology has improved greatly. This put a great outlook for the upcoming years of street lighting in general to improve even further.

Common Cobra Head Technologies
There are three common technologies being used today in the world of commercial cobra heads. One we have already talked about, and that is LED. Here is the list of all three common technologies:

     Light-Emitting Diodes (LED)
     Metal Halide (MH)
     High Pressure Sodium (HPS)

Out of all of them, LED is currently the leader when it comes to quality and efficiency. It offers the highest lumen per watt output, the highest quality of light, and a solution to energy waste in both the public and private industries.

The other two technologies, MH and HPS, are barely increasing in efficiency over the years while LED is improving at an explosive rate. LEDs are lasting longer and longer, producing more and more lumens per watt, slower in regards to lumen depreciation, and generally have a higher quality of light.

What to Consider When Buying Street Lighting Systems
Common things people ask about the purchasing of street lights consist of the following:
     Do I need to fully replace old and existing street lamps? The quick answer is it depends. Here’s why: you only should replace entirely if you need to. Common needs are when old fixtures are old looking, breaking apart, or you simply want new and improved looking fixtures. Replacing the bulb, also know as retrofitting, is a completely viable option if you just need to replace the light source itself. This reduces costs as you aren’t replacing the fixture entirely, just the light.
     How can I get rebates? You can typically only be eligible for rebates when your lighting technology is qualified by the DLC (DesignLights Consortium). On top of the rebates benefit of getting DLC listed products, it ensures you that you are getting quality products that have been tested and passed.
     Is it time to invest in new lights? Again this all depends on your situation. If you need to decrease cost, improve appearance, or even reduce light pollution; those are all perfect and very valid reasons to invest in new street lights. LEDs can typically do all of these things as they are more efficient on a per watt basis, they allow for directional lighting to reduce light pollution, and they can offer new looking fixtures that replace old ones.

Here we list some of the notable and key points that you should remember just in general in regards to cobra head lighting and street lighting systems:

     Always purchase based on need. Meaning, buy what you need. If you need an entire new fixture, get that, if you don’t, simply retrofit. This saves money and reduces waste.
     Consider going with LED. LED cobra heads are one of the most beneficial and best technologies you can go with. It has upsides in virtually every aspect from cost savings to quality of light. If you are going to need new lighting soon or even in the future, you should definitely keep LED on the top of your list to keep a look out for.
     Buy based on lumens per watt, not watts. Forget about buying based on watts when going with any type of light fixture. A keynote you want to always remember regarding any type of lighting: The more lumens per watt you get, the less watts you will need to produce the same amount of light compared to another fixture that outputs at less lumens / watt.