LEDs: Managers Must Watch Heat Levels, Ventilation
The role of managers in bringing LEDs into facilities tends to revolve around the real-world issues involved in making the systems perform as intended — namely, reliably and for as long as promised. The big challenge is that many managers are still near the start of the LED learning curve.
Managers' "intentions are good, but when we get involved, we tend to have to do a lot of re-education," Graf says, specifically regarding the most appropriate lighting options for a project. He recommends "education, education, education" as the best strategy in properly specifying LEDs.
One often-overlooked issue managers need to explore while planning a project is the impact of excessive heat levels on LEDs. They need to pay attention to problems such as ventilation to keep the entire LEDs system cool. Managers often believe — incorrectly — that LEDs' low wattage means they generate less heat.
"They say, 'It's only a 2-watt diode. How much heat can it produce?,'" Haser says, adding that in reality, "thermal management is a big issue." Some manufacturers now are designing fans into LED fixtures to address issues surrounding excess heat.
Managers also must ask manufacturers about the process of LED replacement.
"When an LED fails — not if — you need to know what to do to replace it," Haser says. An LED might come with a rating of 50,000 hours, but if a water pipe bursts in the ceiling above the LED and destroys it, managers need to know where to get a replacement quickly. Part of this discussion should explore the manufacturer's ability to deliver in such instances.
"You have to know the manufacturer you're getting it from," Haser says.