Not Registered? The College Park Energy Solutions and associated newsletters are unique services offered only to our customers.
Log In or Register now to gain full access to a variety of tools and information designed to help your business.

6 Reasons to Switch to LED Outdoor Lighting

Key Points
  • LEDs are highly efficient and provide a number of benefits over conventional HID lighting.
  • Choose LED products that are independently tested to quality and performance standards.
  • One shopping center reduced energy use by 88 percent after installing LEDs with dimmer controls.

Parking lot lightsOutdoor lighting can really enhance the visibility of your facility, and it's critical for safety and security. At the same time, lighting takes up a big chunk of your energy budget. Conventional high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps are widely used in outdoor applications, but they generally have poor light quality and a long start delay.

LEDs are the latest technology in energy-efficient lighting. They provide a host of benefits over conventional lighting technologies that can brighten your outdoor space and your bottom line. Here are six reasons you should make the switch to LEDs:

  1. Longer life. LED lamps are rated from 50,000 to 100,000 hours for some outdoor applications, compared to 16,000 to 24,000 hours for conventional HID lamps. This is a real plus in outdoor areas where maintenance and replacement is a challenge.
  2. Durability. Made from solid materials, LEDs are resistant to damage from shock or vibration, which is sometimes a problem in rugged outdoor environments.
  3. Improved light quality. LEDs offer improved light quality, as measured by the color rendering index (CRI). Higher light quality allows you to maintain or improve visibility and safety using less light output or fewer fixtures.
  4. Instant start. LEDs start instantly, making them a perfect fit for motion detectors, timers and other controls, which may reduce energy use even further. HID lamps, by contrast, have a delayed start and require up to 12 minutes to reach full illumination.
  5. Better direction. Unlike other lighting technologies, which are omnidirectional, LED fixtures shine light in a specific direction. This makes it easy to focus light exactly where you need it.
  6. Connectivity. LED lighting is easily integrated with motion and daylight sensors, energy monitors, mesh networks, and area lighting services such as surveillance cameras and audible messaging/warning.

Getting up to standard

Despite their many benefits, LEDs are still a newer technology and careful selection is important to ensure quality and performance.

Make sure the lamps and fixtures you choose are independently tested according to recognized standards, such as those published by the Illuminating Engineering Society. Also, look for LED fixtures that meet the the DesignLights Consortium™ Qualified Products List.

LEDs typically cost more, but you can save money and realize a good return on your investment through lower energy and maintenance costs.

Shopping center saves big with LEDs

Shopping centers require good outdoor lighting to ensure visibility and customer safety, and to enhance facility appearance. Rona Plaza is a grocery store-anchored shopping center with 77,000 square feet of parking area. The property owners upgraded the existing parking lot and wall-mounted exterior HID fixtures with high efficiency LEDs integrated with wireless dimming controls.

The result was energy savings of 88 percent and a payback in less than two years. "LED technology enabled us to reduce lighting operating costs through significant energy and maintenance savings, while providing superior lighting quality," said Mark Paternell, vice president of sustainability at Regency Centers, the property owner.