Three Truths About LEDs

Many professionals in the construction industry deal with electrical issues pertaining to interior and exterior lighting. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 160,560 electrical engineers employed in 2012. Many of those engineers and others are using outdated, energy-hungry technologies like fluorescent tubes instead of new, LED lighting that is safer, gives off better light without heat and provides lower maintenance costs and sustainability.

Like many emerging technologies, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about LEDs. Here are three things to know about this beneficial lighting source.

1. Almost all of the old lighting technology that is out there can be changed to LED lighting. LEDs, or light emitting diodes, are the new generation of lighting that can easily replace old fluorescent lighting technology. Construction professionals should encourage customers to conduct retrofits or replacements to conserve energy and be environmentally friendly. 

LED lighting is sustainable and uses considerably less wattage than traditional lighting. The life cycle of an LED lighting product exceeds the life of traditional lighting (such as incandescent and fluorescent tubes) by anywhere between 50 to 80 percent with lower overall replacement costs. Additionally, the reduction in energy consumption reduces carbon footprints.

With this in mind, electrical contractors can make a huge impact on conserving energy worldwide. Think about it. If everyone switched to LED lighting, including the thousands of indoor and outdoor malls, sports arenas, museums, entertainment centers, industrial parks, bridges, garages, and more, that would be a savings of thousands of watts of power. 

Also, people are starting to learn about light pollution. Old lighting technology wastes more than 50 percent of light by shining in the sky, residences, people’s eyes, and other places where it is not supposed to go.  With LEDs, the light is controlled and can be directed to give the appropriate amount of light, in the right color, without causing light pollution. 

2. High quality LEDs are available for every industry and application. Initially, many construction professionals jumped on the bandwagon and started using LEDs when they first became popular without having the appropriate education on what they were actually purchasing. Unfortunately, this led to installing poor quality LED lights that did not work as intended and were far from sustainable. Others view the successful, LED-lighting projects currently out there but automatically assume that the products available will not work for their particular applications. 

Construction professionals should know that LEDs can be made for every application and industry and provide high-quality lighting with an excellent return on investment. It all comes down to education and learning about the customized products and lighting solutions available for each situation.

3. The ROI on LEDs is not 10 years. The reality is that the cost for LEDs has consistently gone down since they were first used commercially in the 1970s. As pricing has lowered, there have also been major increases in the quality and performance of LEDs. Unlike the rumors out there, the return on investment on LED lighting can be anywhere from three months to three years – not 10 years. 

Clients can see results immediately. For example, LEDs go to full power immediately without a warm-up stage. They do not contain toxic mercury or have the flicker found in fluorescents. Besides the annoyance, this flicker has been shown in some cases to actually have a harmful physical effect and cause headaches.

In addition, LEDs do not emit ultraviolet light or give off heat as fluorescent and incandescent lamps do. This is a huge bonus for construction projects that include rooms with paintings, artwork, artifacts, and other, valuable items. 

Where to Start

The construction industry has a major role to play in energy efficiency, leading to energy independence for the country. 

However, there is a huge need for LED education via specific seminars, training sessions and other events. 

Once  information becomes more readily available, and professionals in the construction industry grasp all of the benefits of LED lighting technology over traditional lighting, there will be no turning back. 

The construction industry is also on the cusp of creating many jobs based on clean energy, LED lighting and clean energy solar power. Currently, many corporations have energy managers, and there are initiatives that have started to create “green businesses.” 

The goal of these initiatives is not only to reduce energy but also be environmentally-friendly and go green by not wasting paper and reducing massive use of  electricity, lighting and other resources. 

There is a lot more energy that needs to be conserved, and the construction industry can be a major player in this energy-reduction process on a worldwide basis.

LED technology offers a win-win situation that provides controlled, quality lighting with minimal maintenance and a high ROI.   

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