LEDs: Maintenance Considerations, Lamp Replacement
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: LEDs: Popular for Exterior ApplicationsPt. 2: LEDs Improve Lighting Performance, ReliabilityPt. 3: LEDs: Cost Inhibits Widespread SpecificationPt. 4: This Page
Despite the advances in technology, LEDs have not solved many of the age-old problems in exterior applications. Issues such as water ingress, temperature sensitivity, and physical abuse plague LED technology, just as they have traditional sources.
Using a well-built product is still essential for exterior applications. This mantra applies to LEDs and becomes more critical due to heat. Excess heat is the leading enemy of an LED source. Manufacturers are facing the new challenge of channeling heat away from LEDs. This typically includes large heat sinks and extra material to aid in the transfer.
The evolving state of LEDs still has not answered one important question: How do technicians change out a lamp? Since most LEDs are integrated on a processor board mounted to the fixture, it can be difficult to simply remove the old source and install the new.
Some manufacturers have developed a replacement module, but managers tend to consider many products on the market as disposable. This situation calls into question the sustainable nature of a source that many people see as improving energy efficiency.
LED lighting products are here to stay. Despite the need for improved product development and source efficiency, LED systems are an acceptable solution to many of today's exterior lighting challenges. Managers are likely to end up with a successful LED installation if they pay attention to luminaire performance and work with a lighting manufacturer committed to building quality into the technology.
Chad Watters, LC, LEED AP, is a designer for Candela, a lighting consulting and design firm in Seattle and San Diego. He has more than 10 years of experience developing lighting designs in the built environment.