Expert Insight: Facilities

Something You May Not Know About LED Lighting

The LED (Light Emitting Diode) as we know it has been around for over 50 years. In 1962, while working for General Electric, Nich Holonyak, Jr., invented the first LED which was red. Pale yellow and green were invented next. At first, you would normally only see this type of little light on the front of a computer when it was turned on. The recent development of white LEDs is what has brought it into the public eye as a replacement for traditional light bulbs. LED lighting products produce light approximately 80% more efficient than fluorescent or incandescent lights with only 5% of energy in LEDs wasted as heat.

We, as facility technicians, are beginning to see more and more LED lighting use in homes and commercial buildings. I have personally started upgrading the lighting in my home with LED bulbs. The out of pocket money for LED bulbs and LED fixtures may cost a few dollars more up front, but over time, LED lighting is more cost efficient and pays for itself.

  • Take a 43-watt halogen bulb, the brightness 800 lumens: the estimated cost is $6.02 per year to operate one bulb.
  • Now compare a 9-watt LED bulb, same brightness of 800 lumens: the estimated cost is $1.26 per year to operate one bulb.

However, the same technology that allows LEDs to produce light with less electricity use also means that it has different hardware requirements than incandescent lights. Proper 120v LED light installation includes the use of specific adapters or drivers to regulate the voltage and heat that reaches the Light Emitting Diode, so that the diodes only receive the right amount of electricity and continues to function properly. Household LED light bulbs typically already have a driver built in to the bulb, but not every commercial bulb does.

One of our clients, Hancock Whitney Bank, has recognized the cost savings that LED lighting provides and has been budgeting money for LED light upgrades for the past two to three years. The Labarre Techs in Mississippi (Mark Akins, Gary Garriga, Gerald Ladner and Kenny Martin) have been working together as a team for several years and have recently been installing these new LED pole light fixtures and LED building light fixtures for Hancock Whitney. This work is one example of how we go above and beyond the normal maintenance contract and continue to recommend and apply value adds to our clients’ facilities. We, as Techs for Labarre, are the “boots on the ground” that look for ways to work more efficient and help our customers save money, and LED lighting is one of the ways we can do that.