With the recession forcing businesses to focus on cost reduction, and increasing pressure to demonstrate a reduced carbon footprint, the latest developments in LED lighting means it is becoming increasingly attractive for facilities managers to consider as an alternative to fluorescent tubes.
Add to this the fact that interest free loans are available from the Carbon Trust to assist with the cost of replacing fittings, should they be required, and an LED conversion makes increasing sense.
It has long been the case that LED lighting held great promise as a coming technology that would transform the energy efficiency of lighting. In 2010, it is increasingly a worthwhile replacement; recent developments have seen improvements in the colour of the light emitted, and the actual output of individual LED components, so that the lights now available match the performance of the tubes they replace in every respect.
In many cases, the conversion to LED lighting can be undertaken without substantial modification of existing light fittings. LEDs have been developed to directly replace, for example, standard fluorescent tubes in regular suspended ceiling luminaires; and to replace the 2D fluorescent bulb used in many commercial applications, both inside and outside buildings. The look-alike tubes come with twin pin ends, enabling them to slot straight in to an existing tube holder; while the 2D panels are simple to install within the existing light body.
The bulbs provide a very effective payback. With a high efficiency and long life, they impact positively on the electricity bill, and reduce ongoing maintenance costs. A typical LED bulb will have a service life of up to 50,000 hours and for the same light output will consume up to 60 per cent less electricity than a fluorescent equivalent. In areas where lighting is on 24 hours, that can add up to a substantial saving.
In a wide range of commercial applications, the long life generates substantial savings. Maintenance costs are reduced as bulbs need changing far less frequently – particularly valuable in situations where access may be complex, such as reception areas with high ceilings, over stairways or in high traffic areas. In addition, there is a safety bonus, as lamp outages in vital areas such as escape stairs are less likely.
Best of all, LED lamps can be trialled on a small scale in situ to ensure they provide an appropriate level of light, of a suitable colour, before any decision needs to be taken on comprehensive implementation. But for companies seeking to demonstrate an unequivocal reduction in their carbon footprint, LED lamps are now an increasingly viable part of a forward thinking building maintenance strategy.