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Lighting The future of lighting

Tom Harrison, Managing Director of MHA Lighting, guides facilities managers through the latest LED lighting options available and discusses the increasing popularity of LEDs along with their benefits and challenges.

The next consideration would typically be whether to go the whole hog to LED or to take the smaller step, safer switch to T5 technology which involves a much lower investment but a fraction of the energy saving. A key factor in choosing between the two is the operating hours involved in the application.

The Carbon Trust reports that energy efficient lighting such as LEDs can save UK businesses £700million a year and cut more than 10 million tonnes of carbon emissions, while other research puts the savings closer to £1.4billion. There is no doubt that the switch to energy efficient lighting such as LEDs can really pay off but as a Facilities Manager, when do you jump on the LED bandwagon with the lighting market moving so fast?

The benefits of LEDs are now well documented but so too are the challenges they pose. Therefore professional LED manufacturers have been working hard to ensure their products are able to achieve the photometric performance of fluorescents and halogens, and to develop luminaires that are as pleasant to look at as fluorescents.

Choosing LED For all Facilities Managers, the first

consideration before choosing new lighting is the required quality of the lighting solution to be implemented - light levels, colour rendering and uniformity must all be taken into account. For example, the traditional high pressure Sodiums/ Halides can no longer compete with any of the aforementioned lighting requirements against LED solutions which provide 65CRI and 5500k.

48 Tomorrow’s

LEDs involve a greater upfront expenditure but offer much more significant savings; however this is only the better business case if the lights are used for at least 11 hours a day, so that return on investment can be achieved in a justifiable timeframe. When choosing LED technology care also needs to be taken to ensure reliable products are installed.

LED documentation All the benefits of LED technology

are completely dependent upon longevity in the fitting, which is dependent upon three crucial factors:

• The LED itself.

• Thermal management of the junction temperature.

• The driver.

Facilities Managers are entitled to ask the LED manufacturers to provide thorough documentation and certification for each of these three elements. Responsible LED lighting suppliers will have independent test data for each of the factors, as well as photometric data, CE marking and IP rating certification.

The right colour Facilities Managers should ask for

the photometric data as evidence of the light distribution of any fitting they may be considering installing. Care should also be taken to ensure that for internal applications LEDs with 80CRI - or external application

65CRI – should be specified. Some LED manufacturers provide much cooler temperatures as these give the appearance of the light actually being brighter than it truly is. In our experience, cooler temperatures of around 4000k are best suited to most internal applications that may involve precision working, and external temperatures of 5500k and a 65CRI will deliver the ideal light colour.

With respect to colour creation, LED lights can be quite inconsistent with a tolerance range of up to 500k. Facilities Managers should take care to specify a tolerance of approximately + /- 100k and insist that the manufacturer demonstrates how this will be achieved. Finally, the manufacturers should be questioned as to how the internal LEDs are protected so that things like surges in power supply will not result in catastrophic failure of the light engine.

The future As a manufacturer of lighting

products which use LEDs as the light source I hope Facilities Managers are not deterred from making the switch to LED. The technology is here and the ever growing number of professional LED lighting manufacturers and suppliers are constantly innovating to create ever- improving solutions.

MHA Lighting’s strapline - The future of lighting is here - is significant. The technology really is here right now and over the next couple of years the take up will be no less than phenomenal. Presently, only 10- 15% of the general lighting market is occupied by LED. This is set to increase to 64% by 2020, resulting in a market value of $75.6billion.

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