By Tyler Oberly, Safety Program Manager
When it comes to energy reduction, one of the first—and most fruitful—opportunities a facility can pursue is its lighting system. Upgrades here can result in big cash savings.
Ironically, D.L. Steiner’s most successful lighting efficiency project so far is occurring not primarily because the client wants to save money—but because its employees can’t see. The application is an indoor processing operation lit by high-pressure sodium lights in high-bay fixtures. With the muted yellow light these lamps emit, the processing area is “dark,” even when the lights are on, making it difficult for operators to do their work.
In looking for solutions to this problem, D.L. Steiner first considered fluorescents. These lamps would improve the client’s lighting for this process—plus save an estimated 25% on electricity costs. But the T5 fixtures we reviewed have a rating of only 105° F. Temperatures generated by this process can reach 130°, with most of this heat traveling up into the bays. We felt there had to be a better option.
Next, we examined the latest in LED technology…and found out there is! The output quality and quantity of the LED lamps are far superior to the high-pressure sodium bulbs—exactly what our client needs—plus their robust design suits them for the high temp environment of this process. As an added bonus, running LEDs will produce an estimated electricity cost savings approaching 60%—more than double that of the fluorescents!
The only slight drawback to LEDs in this application so far has been price: the LEDs do cost more to buy than the fluorescents—but their simplified installation will do much to offset the additional cost. Using fluorescents would involve major system changes to conduit runs, etc. Installing LEDs,however, is a simple screw-in replacement to the present fixtures. Another plus for the LEDs is maintenance. Fluorescent lighting would require replacing bulbs every 20,000 hours. The LEDs have an anticipated life of 100,000 hours, with a five-year service guarantee, for significantly lower lifetime maintenance costs.
For this application, D.L. Steiner has specified the Dialight HBLCQQ LED with occupancy sensor to dim the lamps when no one is in the area. During “down times,” this configuration will reduce electricity usage to only 15% of what the high-pressure sodium lamps presently draw.
D.L. Steiner estimates the LEDs will save nearly $10,000 in electricity costs over a ten-year period—and keep in mind this is just the savings on a small seven-light system! Since our recommendation, our client has become so excited about the possibilities of LEDs that it is now considering their use plant wide. What began as small lighting project may turn into a major facility upgrade.