Industrial and Warehouse lighting
Fluorescent and HID (high-intensity discharge, including metal halide, high-pressure sodium, low pressure sodium, CFL's, induction, Mercury vapor etc. Although these technologies have served us well in the past, they share a same fundamental flaw: repeated turning on and off and short usage intervals inevitably cause premature lamp failure. It is because of this, warehouses and commercial buildings around the world are leaving lighting on, even though there is zero occupancy.
Power switching on these outdated lighting devices is also archaic; the main power must be cut to the device, meaning turning breakers off or as with the case of fluorescent lighting miles of unnecessary wiring to rows and rows of wall switches.
Industrial LED fixtures (and some new energy-efficient fluorescent T8) can be controlled via a low-voltage input, this allows for a multitude of switching capabilities including: RF, Wi-Fi, occupancy sensors, motion detection and other energy-saving lighting controls that are just not compatible with current HID and older fluorescent lighting.
While the world health organization and governments around the world including the Canadian government move to ban all Mercury from consumer products, fluorescent lighting and compact fluorescent continue to receive a free pass to continue to be sold unabated. (With very little consumer awareness of mercury content or proper recycling procedures) it would seem the government's hands were tied as they had introduced legislation that phase out incandescent lighting products from Canadian retailers shelves. They could hardly ban the lights they were touting as a replacement.
The recapture rate for fluorescent and compact fluorescent products in North America is dismal, this reportshows that in 2007 ,5 million CFL's were sold in Canada's British Columbia, yet five years later(estimated lifespan) less than 300,000 were recovered across B.C. The Mercury recyclers Association of America states over “500 million of these mercury-based products are tossed into open waste containers across USA”
Is LED ready for prime time?
While other types of lighting have been re-engineered to maximum efficiency; LED continues to make improvements in luminance output or lumens per watt, high current LEDs for sports and large area outdoor lighting as well as improvements in color temperature and lifespan. LED has clearly emerged as the leader in the new era of solid-state lighting (SSL).
Far from being a new technology LEDs were first developed in the 60s and their green and red signature miniature lamps are well-known by many hobbyists and electronic enthusiasts. The discovery in the 90s led to the emergence of royal blue LED lights, which along with the introduction of Blue-Ray™ players, heralded a new paradigm in commercial and residential lighting.
Where to begin?
Targeting these larger commercial lighting arrays that seem to be left on permanently as to avoid premature failure, should be the main targets if you're seeking to have a heavy impact. Improved intelligent controls combined with LED savings could yield gigantic results. And of course as the old saying goes if everybody would just change one light, but those sheer numbers do add up, everybody saving a little put together adds up to be enough to run entire cities.
So instead of burning away or limited fossil fuels such as coal and oil, let's implement energy-saving strategies throughout our communities, corporate environments and educational facilities and make energy efficiency and way of life, not just another trend.