LED Lighting – Improving Businesses & Projects World Wide
If you are trying to understand how LED lighting can improve the way you illuminate your home, you can always look towards how commercial outlets interact with energy saving lights. Over the last ten years LED lighting has become a real option for businesses, whether it's a huge conglomerate, a local service or factions started off at grassroot levels, the presence of LEDs are being increased. Some companies will implement LEDs to save energy and reflect their eco-conscious ethics, whereas others may be more interested in the money it saves; whatever the reason LEDs are playing an important role.
Those with expenditure to spend have the advantage of installing new products or devices on a big scale. They needn’t worry so much if the products they buy fail to fully satisfy because they have the wealth and contacts to reinvest. Yet for newly born businesses or projects ran at grassroot levels they need to be assured that what they buy will reform the function and performance of their operation.
A moving story from 2014 exposed the graft and commitment to saving energy in one of the poorest areas in the world. In the Brazilian favela Morro da Mineira, Rio de Janeiro, a whole community with the help of footballing legend Pele, embarked on producing an artificial pitch with a difference. To help provide the community with a safe place to play football after the sun goes down the design team along with volunteers harnessed a unique and captivating way to generate their light source.
The construction team installed 200 kinetic tiles to breed the energy created by players movement, which in turn would generate power, and combined with energy from solar panels would interact with the six LED floodlights encompassing the astroturf pitch. This state-of-the-art project presents a number of advantages; it saves money compared to running energy hungry lights, reduces the level of energy used to help the environment, and it encourages youngsters to play safely in the evening. It could well be that this energy efficient football pitch will increase the potential of any young footballer, a youngster that one day could be as successful as the man himself (Pele).
Away from the sunny soccer skills of Rio is another example of how LED lighting can improve a local community. In January 2015 a town music centre in Frome, Somerset, called The Cheese & Grain was awarded a £22,000 loan from the local council. This loan was lent out as part of an energy saving project which hoped to counteract the energy and money spent through the venue’s increase of shows. The Cheese & Grain’s carbon footprint dramatically grew with a scheduled annual usage of 55,000Kw of which around 28,000Kw is consumed by hall and stage lighting. In the adversity of escalating costs the local council provided The Cheese & Grain with LED lighting as an energy saving alternative, with an evaluation of the new lighting systems to save £407 a month in electricity bills and light bulb maintenance. This greener way of lighting may have just saved the venue from offering music to locals, subsequently attracting more acts to come and play.
Larger commercial companies are also becoming more aware to the unmatched benefits of LED lighting. A couple of weeks ago plumbing firm Wolseley UK kitted out their distribution centre with LED lighting, a change that could potentially save them £100,000 a year. The transition from halogens and fluorescents to LEDs is forecasted to finish in September this year, proposed to reduce electricity consumption by 236,000 kWh; which is equivalent to powering more than 300 homes.
Just like the Cheese & Grain in Frome, this change hasn’t happened by accident, as the plumbing and heating distributor received £50,000 as part of the Electricity Demand Reduction (EDR) programme from the DECC. Along with Wolseley UK, another 18 companies in the British Isles are involved in this energy saving initiative, names such Network Rail, BAE Systems and Tata Steel UK are all participating in the scheme.
There are also other examples from across the pond where LED lights have steered the way for a more energy savvy approach. In February 2015 the Super Bowl in America used LED floodlights for the very first time. It’s reported that 780 metal halide lights were traded in with 312 LEDs, with the new LEDs using 75% less energy. The manufacturer has come out to say that these high powered LEDs will last for at least 20 years, a formidable period of time compared to the metal halides which required maintenance every two seasons.
These are four very different examples of how LEDs have helped projects world wide, so despite the ambition of retailers to supply homes with LEDs, it would also seem that the commercial arena is also adopting the advantages of LEDs. So if you ever needed proof that the lighting times are changing, why not keep an eye on the latest developments made by the commercial sector.
Author: Tom Bray works for a national electrical wholesaler – Direct Trade Supplies, a company which specialises in LED lighting Tom regularly contributes to magazines and websites.