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LEDs: Manufacturer Matters
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Shining a Light on LEDs and UpgradesPt. 2: LEDs: Integrating UpgradesPt. 3: This Page
One essential element when incorporating LEDs into lighting upgrades is the role of the LED fixture manufacturer. Fixture manufacturers must make many electrical and optical design decisions as they integrate LEDs, power supplies, sensors and wireless networking into a final fixture configuration.
For example, a manufacturer must choose how hard to drive one diode or an array of diodes. By selecting the amperage range for one diode or array of diodes, a manufacturer can create more light from a given diode configuration, but this might come at the expense of longevity of the fixture.
LED manufacturers are focused on enhancing the optical design of their products. LEDs are a highly directional light source that provides advantages for managers seeking a high-powered flashlight, but they create challenges if the goal is a warm, gentle, dispersed light source.
Managers need to investigate, ask questions of the manufacturers, and look into warrantee periods and services offered by each manufacturer under consideration. The best manufacturers will stand behind their products.
LED technology offers significant promise in reshaping lighting in and around facilities. As with other transformative changes, managers need to guide it with a plan that sets forth the goals, strategies and actions that will accomplish the change.
By clearly understanding a facility’s lighting applications and unique needs, managers can ensure they focus on the most critical areas first. The best retrofit strategy for a building is driven by a manager’s goals and the specific applications. Managers can work with selected manufacturers and ask hard questions regarding the way a fixture is designed, the way it can be most effectively applied and the support provided after the sale.
Doing so will insure managers maximize the benefits received over the fixture’s life cycle and create a lighting system that will serve the building and the organization effectively for many years to come.
Eric Nyenhuis is director of project development and engineering for Southland Energy, http://southlandindenergy.com. He is responsible for the technical development of energy projects. Jody Baldwin is Mid-Atlantic branch manager with the firm and is responsible for leading the overall performance and growth of the divisions.