LED lighting technology has made immense strides in recent years. Today’s LEDs can go years without maintenance, are able to turn less power into visible light, and have excellent color rendering. Read on for some new insights into the possibilities of LED lighting in grain handling facilities; you might be surprised by what you didn’t know.
MYTH #1: LED’s are too expensive for grain facilities.
FACT #1: Payback can be quick.
With LED technology improving and more competition in the marketplace, LEDs are now more accessible because of the diverse retrofit and new construction options available, in addition to rebates and incentives.
For a new construction project Interstates completed in Nebraska, 122 nonhazardous-rated and 150 hazardous-rated fixtures were purchased. The initial cost of the LEDs was over twice that of the metal-halide equivalent; however, when considering the energy cost and maintenance cost differences, the payback period for the owner was just 2.7 years.
MYTH #2: Retrofit options are limited and difficult.
FACT #2: There are retrofit options for every budget.
In many retrofit applications, a complete LED fixture unit is used to replace an existing HID, incandescent, or fluorescent fixture. If cost or downtime is prohibitive, some fixtures can be upgraded to LED by replacing the housing and light source but leaving the existing splice box and conduit in place. Several manufacturers offer a retrofit kit that uses much of the existing fixture housing, conduit, and wire, while adding only an adapter and new light source.
MYTH #3: LED fixtures are not suited for grain handling environments.
FACT #3: LED’s can work well for grain facilities.
LEDs do especially well with vibration, water, and dust. Many LEDs have a rated minimum operating temperature of -40°F. Heat is still the greatest enemy of LEDs, so operating LEDs in a cold environment helps alleviate this limitation. Additionally, unlike fluorescent and metal halide lamps, LEDs are instant on and produce their full lumen output immediately in all temperature conditions.
MYTH #4: LED’s are just a one-for-one replacement of traditional lamps.
FACT #4: LED’s provide flexibility in controls.
LEDs require less power, resulting in smaller cables and allowing increased flexibility in lighting controls. The instant-on and instant-restrike characteristics of LEDs give them superior flexibility in operation impossible with traditional lamp fixtures. Cycling and switching does not affect the lifespan of the LED node; switching a fixture off will only extend its life. This characteristic allows LEDs to be easily controlled with traditional switches, occupancy sensors, timers, or in an office or loadout control room.
MYTH #5: LED’s create a “spotlight” effect.
FACT #5: There are wide-ranging options for LED optics and output.
Though LEDs are directional, precision optics and varied lumen packages allow us to direct light only where needed. You can avoid spilling light onto the wall or ground behind a fixture or off the edges of a catwalk. LEDs can be manipulated using small lenses surrounding individual LED nodes, and any number of nodes can be mounted on a single board.
The light quality of LEDs is higher than other traditional lamp technologies and can provide more visible light for less lumen output, power input, and energy cost. Human eyes prefer to see the type of light provided by LEDs, so we need less light output to believe we see better.
Jaron Vande Hoef, Interstates Business Development