Beyond the Build

Conservation

LED Lighting Trends in Commercial Construction

Electricity is the #2 operating expense for most properties. Lowering cost can be a real game changer.

We’re about to commence our second LED exterior lighting package at the Redstone Arsenal and in the process should achieve about a 70% energy savings. Here is what we are seeing across the board: 

There is less new construction, but we see landlords taking more time to investigate energy efficient designs for new projects and existing holdings as well. Smart move. They are creating value on the front end and midway by making properties not only brighter, but lower cost long term.

Lighting technologies are advancing the cause of efficiency. This includes LEDs, induction, wireless controls and more. Coupled with contributions from local utilities, long term efficiency helps offset the upfront costs of retrofitting with these products. Creating and then sustaining energy efficiency is becoming the topic of action in addition to words.

Tenants are voicing their opinion. There is more pressure on property owners and managers to become more energy efficient. In return it brings along some postive press and good will.

Savings are being monitored in real time. New management systems like netLiNK wireless controls have the ability to control individual fixtures and verify the actual savings.

LED lighting is continuing to evolve. Manufacturing is getting more efficient and technology costs continue to burn off. There are still some challenges, especially for parking field lighting. There are now LED lighting applications which provide adequate light levels on taller poles including 35 & 40’ poles.

Induction is becoming a bigger player. Induction is another excellent light source rated for a burn life of about 100,000 hours. It is akin to fluorescent, but with no internal cathodes to fail. It seems that for canopies, garages, wall mounts and lower wattage “area” applications, induction is an excellent light source and typically costs less than LED. However, induction still a new frontier.

What experience have you had with LEDs, natural white and induction? Would you recommend one system over the other? 

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and President of the Stewart Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.