Monday, October 17, 2016

The Process of Replacing Metal Halide with the LED Equivalent

In the world of commercial and industrial lighting, metal halide seems to be one of the more popular lighting technologies that are found in facilities and buildings. Although this technology is old and slowly people are moving over to more efficient technologies like LED, for those who haven’t yet are faced with a difficult task; discovering what it takes and how they go about making the switch from metal halide over to a LED equivalent.

A proper lighting design for any facility or building is crucial for optimal savings, best light for the given environment, and overall a good lighting design. Making the switch to metal halide to LED can seem technical, confusing, and even scary; but this post should get you on the right path.

We are going to cover each thing you should consider about making the switch, and exactly why LED is the technology of the future and thus; the technology your building should be switching to over the others.

Replace on lumens, not watts. A common misconception about upgrading a lighting system is that they need to replace their existing fixtures based on wattage alone. Instead, this is totally something you should avoid at all costs because it will result in three things:

1. Paying more than you need to because you are buying more light than you need
2. Over lit building / areas (which is not good at ALL)
3. Paying extra in energy costs associated

As you can tell, when you buy solely based on watts, you end losing a lot more than you gain. Instead, you need to buy your fixtures based on lumens, not watts!

The higher the lumen output per watt you get equals the higher efficiency it runs at. Would you rather have a light that needs 100 watts to output 5,000 lumens (50 lumens / watt) or 33.3 watts to output that same 5,000 lumens (150 lumens / watts)? The answer is obvious, and LED is the more efficient technology that allows for more lumen per watt output. This is especially true when you go with a DLC qualified metal halide LED replacement. DesignLights Consortium is an organization that tests commercial lighting products based on their individual efficiency and quality and only those that pass are qualified by them, no exceptions.

This whole concept of buying on lumens rather than watts is basically the entire thing you need to know about replacing metal halide with LEDs. Without this, you will be “going in blindly” and not getting the proper illumination. Because again, watts are not everything in lighting, lumens are.

Not convinced that LED is a winner over metal halide? Here are some more benefits other than just higher efficiency that LED will bring to your facility when you replace metal halide lighting fixtures with it.

Longer lifespan. A replacement of metal halide with LED will allow you to realize the benefit of a much longer lifespan that LED technology offers. At a lifespan of 2-3 times longer than MH lights, you will be able to reduce maintenance costs associated with changing out burnt out lights. Along with that cost saving benefit, you get to reduce your purchases of new luminaires to replace the ones that burn out.

No flickering, ever. If you’ve ever ran into the issue of flickering lights with your metal halides, then a switch over to a proper LED equivalent will get rid of this issue, and the issue of buzzing, entirely. Even when an LED fixture nears the end of its lifespan, it will never flicker or buzz.


Conclusion

Although this post hasn’t gone step by step how to replace, it’s covered the general process of replacing metal halide with LED. The main points you need to know have been defined, such as buying by lumens, and never by watts alone. This fact by itself should allow you to get the most optimal LED lighting system installed in place of your metal halides (or any other technology like HPS).

Sunday, October 9, 2016

You NEED a LED Prison Lighting System: Here is Why

We all know that prisons and correctional facilities prove to be highly stressful and even that much more dangerous environment for anyone; from visitors, to staff, to the inmates themselves. While lighting won’t solve all of your issues in your facility, it will surely solve some major and minor issues that will lead to cost savings and higher security of everyone in, on, and around the facility.

But why do we NEED LED technology in our prison systems? It’s not a question of do we need, but why we need. As an overlooker of a prison facility, you know that reducing costs, maintaining budgets, all while keeping things safe and secure can prove to be far beyond difficult.

When it comes to your lighting system, the only way you can go is with LED. There is no question about it. But enough about telling you that you need it, we are now going to discuss exactly the reasoning behind this logic, and hopefully will bring light to the situation, along with light to your facility.

Here is the first major reason you should install an LED correctional lighting system as soon as it allows:

Reduce energy usage caused by your lights. In a big facility like a prison, you can imagine the number of lights that it requires to light both inside and out of the entire area. This can make it be one of the most energy intensive things in your facility, and imagine if you could reduce this energy cost just for your lighting alone by 2-3 times.

LED technology is proven to be, on average, 2 to 3 and sometimes even 4 times more efficient than competing technologies like metal halide. Imagine being able to reduce costs associated with running your light fixtures by 2-4 times! This can prove to increase your prisons bottom line, remain within budgets, and realize a return on your investment with LED lighting.

LED products last longer. They last 2-3 times longer than metal halide and HPS luminaires do. This also allows you to reduce costs by less frequent purchasing of new bulbs to replace burnt out ones. Prison lighting in today's world burns out far too fast for an environment like a correctional facility. With LED, you will be able to realize a much longer lifespan by 2 to 3 times longer.

On top of that benefit you also have a huge security and cost benefit: less maintenance. Think about it; what do you typically do when it’s time to replace burnt out lights? You need to secure your facility, ensure people aren’t out where maintenance is, and so on. By reducing the amount of maintenance your lighting fixtures need, you will allow for less chance for things to go wrong. On top of this, since you will be changing out lights less often you will be able to reduce your maintenance costs by not having to pay someone to change the lights as often. Both of these benefits alone prove to be a major reasons why prisons especially make the switch, along with the cost savings LED fixtures will bring to your locked down facility.
No buzzing, no flickering. Unlike HID technologies like metal halide or HPS which are susceptible to buzzing and flickering during their life; LED will never flicker or buzz even at the end of their lifespan. As you probably know, these annoyances can increase stress, especially when you are around them 24/7. On top of all of the other stresses in such environment, any little way to help reduce it can prove to provide indirect benefits; such as less violence and “bad” activity in your compound. Also, since these noises are a major annoyance; they can prove to decrease focus which is especially bad for staff members that need to be alert at all times. Because as well all can figure, anything can go wrong at any time.


Conclusion

From reduced costs to less stress and higher focus; LED technology can and will solve many issues your facility may be facing. Whether you noticed all of things before or not, you now know what you need to work on, fix, and improve to create an overall safer and more efficient correctional facility.

Working on your prisons lighting design and upgrading it with LED will ensure all of these benefits are brought to your facility. Don’t be the one left out with old technology, upgrade and realize all of these benefits that LED products will bring to your facility.

Bad Lighting Will Destroy Outdoor Security Efforts: Go With Quality

To any security operation for a building, piece of property / area, or a mix of both; we know that lighting can make or break security efforts. And when it comes down to it, we all know that having bad lighting can cost you big time if you get unlucky and slack in the lighting your facility or building has in and around it.

Specifically we are going to be talking about outdoor lighting in this post, and how outside security efforts can be compromised simply by bad lighting. If you are a head of the security team or a facility manager / building owner with security in place and know of this to be an issue to your building and it’s integrity, read onward. This post is going to bring light to why low quality lighting is bad in many areas, and what you can do to make it “good” again.

Why “Bad” Lighting Can Destroy Your Security Efforts:

It’s probably obvious on why bad lighting can literally compromise your security at your location. But to clarify, having bad lighting that is under lit or flickers can cause serious issues when it comes to identifying people through cameras or even face to face (depending on the severity). Not only will low quality outdoor lights lessen the chance of identified someone, it will lessen the chance of someone being seen at all in the first place. Flickering lights can affect the visibility because movement will be less noticed due to the lighting movement and flickers. By having steady light that does not flicker, your team will better be able to identify movement, if there is any.

What Qualifies “Good” Outdoor Security Lighting?

In short, quality security lighting is defined by being able to properly illuminate an area and not flicker or buzz; which will lessen your team's ability to notice movement through cameras or in person. The way we suggest to overcome these two issues alone is by switching to a good outdoor LED security lighting system that will allow you to illuminate at proper levels, cut out flickering lights, and on top of all that; reduce operating costs associated with your lighting fixtures.

Let’s cover what exactly outdoor LEDs made for security purposes can do for your building and property a little more in-depth:

Proper illumination. Often times when we first install a new light source, such as metal halide or Halogen, the illumination is adequate and proper. But over time, lumen depreciation kicks in and the light slowly becomes less and less. This causes underlit areas and proves to effect security efforts, especially outside. By switching your security lights to LED from metal halide or similar technologies, you will realize much slower and overall less lumen depreciation on your fixtures.

What is lumen depreciation? To clarify, it is the process of your fixture losing its overall light output. It does this at a much greater pace and overall more with metal halide and Halogen fixtures, while with LED it is much slower and overall less. It’s unavoidable with any lighting fixture, but with LED you won’t have under lit areas nearly as much as other lighting technologies.

No flickering. We’ve talked about how flickering can affect your ability to detect movement, and since LEDs will never flicker or buzz; you will never face this issue. Even near the end of a LEDs lifespan, you will never see flickers or annoying buzzing noises that far too often happen with Halogen and Metal Halide lights.

Lower energy used. LEDs will lower your energy consumption associated with your outside fixtures by 50% or more, depending on which products you go with and from whom. This will allow you to reduce costs at your facility and be able to make a return on your investment when making the choice to switch to LED over other outdated technologies. This is often one of the main reasons companies are making the switch to LED over others, but in the case of security at a building; it’s simply just an additional benefit to the security benefits that proper LED fixtures will bring to your building.

Conclusion

Don’t overlook your lighting in your security efforts. Protecting assets and employees is highly important, and overlooking the light in and outside of your facility can prove to lead to complications down the line. Security isn’t all about CCTV’s, alarms, and security teams, it’s about all of the little details that are often overlooked too. Don’t overlook this one, it could cost you!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Replacing Metal Halide With LED: Possible?

The majority of commercial fixtures, especially in warehouses and outdoor lights, consist of inefficient and lower quality metal halide lighting technology. The majority of building owners and / or facility managers are making the switch for multiple reasons, but the most common one being the energy reduction that LED brings along with it.

Before talking about if it’s possible and / or how to replace metal halide (or MH for short) lights with LED, let’s talk about the major benefits that LED will bring you over metal halide.

Up to 75% energy reduction. A conversion to LED luminares over metal halide can bring you a savings of up to 75% in energy costs related to your lighting fixtures. While it does depend on which LED products you buy and from whom as well as which fixtures you currently have now will depend on how much you actually save after the conversion. Any business that makes this switch will be able to collect a positive ROI fairly quickly and realize some amazing savings after a ROI has been reached. This will allow for your overall bottom line to increase tremendously, especially if your facility has a lot of lighting fixtures installed. Another factor to remember is this; the more you use your lights (e.g 6 hr vs 12 hours a day), the quicker and greater ROI you will realize. Taking that fact into account will help you better estimate the upside you have by making the switch.

Rebates will come. As long as you buy DesignLights Consortium qualified lighting products, typically only available to LED technology because they are efficient, you will be eligible for rebates through your utility company. This is great because it will offset your lighting investment costs associated with your lighting upgrade, making it even more worthwhile to upgrade to LED away from metal halide fixtures. Just remember, only buy lighting products that have been and are confirmed to be qualified by the DLC.

Longer life. The life of an LED vs a metal halide light can be 2 all the way up to 4 times longer. This will allow you to not buying replacements as often, which will actually prove to be a cost reduction. On top of this, the maintenance costs will decrease substantially due to the less frequent maintenance that LED lights require.

From higher efficiency, to rebates, to longer life and lower maintenance costs; LED is the surefire winner over metal halide by a long shot. But the bigger question is, can you switch to LED from metal halide? If so, is it easy and how can you do it as inexpensively as possible?

Basically, the answer is a big yes. You can convert from metal halide to LED actually easier than you may of thought. So there is such thing as a LED replacement for metal halide lights, and that can be either in the form of a retrofit kit or a full fixture replacement.

By retrofitting your existing fixtures instead of a full replacement, you don’t need to get rid of the external fixture shell but rather only the light source itself. This also allows for a cheaper conversion because retrofit kits tend to be cheaper than an entirely new fixture replacement.

The difference between an entirely new fixture vs a retrofit is simple: a retrofit is simply a replacement of a light source. While on the contrary, an entire fixture replacement consists of not only switching out the light source, but also switching out the entire fixture and shell that the light is held in. This option is typically chosen over retrofitting when an entire fixture replacement is deemed necessary. This can be because of old fixtures that are falling apart or simply don’t match with the environment that they are in and look “off.”

In Review
To answer the topics question in short, you can replace metal halide technology; and in a variety of ways at that.

By making the switch to LED, you open yourself to all of the benefits that have been listed here. From energy savings to rebates that will allow you to realize a greater and quicker return on investment. The switch is highly practical, and becoming more affordable for companies to make a switch that makes sense.