A different type of lighting
LED lighting differentiates from traditional incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescents in a number of ways. Most strikingly, the actual source of the light is a fraction of the size of other sources and is comparable in form and appearance to a pepper seed.
The directional nature of LEDs makes them ideal for uses in commercial properties. They are increasingly common in parking garage lighting, walkway and other outdoor area lighting as well as indoor applications like common area lighting, modular lighting, and task lighting. They are also perfect for recessed down lighting applications as well as task lighting. Since LEDs do not require reflectors or diffusers that can trap light and cut the intensity of older lights by as much as half, fewer fixtures may be possible.
LEDs also generate very little heat and stand in stark contrast to incandescent bulbs which release 90% of their energy as heat. Cooler lights are more efficient lights and, as such, LEDs use at least 75% less energy.
A wide variety of products for various applications
LED lighting is currently available in all types of specifications for commercial real estate application, and new products are being introduced regularly. Because of the rapid growth in usage, manufacturers have become more efficient in producing LEDs which results in lower cost of purchase.
In the commercial environment, LEDs are typically being used in four main applications:
Ambient Lighting – Most common in open spaces including outdoor areas such as parking lots, these lights ensure that tenants feel comfortable and are able to move about safely.
Task Lighting – Focused lighting, used to better illuminate areas where more light is needed for specific applications such as illuminating staircases and walkways.
Accent Lighting – Used to illuminate any area that requires emphasis, such as signage, street numbers and marquees. Retail tenants may use these above window displays or to add visual emphasis in order to draw people into their store. LED accents may also be used in display cases, or as bar or rope lighting.
Decorative Lighting – Functions specifically for the purpose of adding sophistication and beauty to a building and is often found in entrance ways or common spaces, and include things such as chandeliers, wall fixtures, and custom designed fixtures – all of which come in LED varieties now.
Buildings Can Get Green with Bright White Lights
Building managers and property owners with green initiatives may turn to efficient, light-emitting diodes for illuminating their building. LEDs use solid-state technology which consumes energy far more efficiently, with little wasted heat compared to traditional lamps that release 90 percent of their energy as heat. This level of efficiency means a drop in thermal pollution and a lower carbon footprint. Today’s energy efficient LED lights have a useful life of 25,000 hours or more – meaning they can last more than 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs, cutting down on waste.
It should also be noted that LEDs contain no mercury, a fact which contributed to the recent U.S. Energy Department study that determined that LEDs have a much smaller environmental impact than incandescent bulbs.
LEDs provide savings for commercial real estate as well
Quality LED light bulbs last longer, are more durable, and offer comparable or better light quality than other types of lighting. But, what’s most attractive about LEDs is the opportunity to save money through their usage. One clear example of such savings can be seen in the conversion to LEDs by the United States General Services Administration (GSA). The agency which occupies the New Carrollton Federal Building in Lanham, Maryland, was able to cut its annual lighting electric bill from a whopping $238,000 to $53,500 by installing LED lighting systems.
Widespread use of LED lighting has some of the greatest potential impact on energy savings in the United States. By 2027, widespread use of LEDs could save about the equivalent annual electrical output of 44 large electric power plants (1000 megawatts each), and a total savings of more than $30 billion at today’s electricity prices.
Finally, it should be noted that LEDs are considered energy efficient and may qualify for a Federal Income Tax Credit. Owners or lessees of commercial buildings that install these type of fixtures in the interior lighting systems of their buildings should check with their tax professionals for details.