The national shift away from traditional incandescent light bulbs toward more energy-efficient forms of lighting, such as LED lights, has caused quite a stir among home designers and even electrical contractors. According to Electrical Contractor magazine, more and more contractors are making the effort to enhance their knowledge of LED lighting in order to effectively utilize LED technology in both residential and commercial settings.
This is because as LED light usage becomes more widespread, contractors are increasingly recognizing the benefits of LED technology, which can be creatively blended with traditional lighting to not only solve design challenges but to meet the requirements of energy codes and other programs, such as LEED certification.
Reducing Energy Costs
For example, Illinois-based JMS Electric Inc. used LED lights to drastically reduce the energy costs of Chicago’s trendy theWit hotel in 2008. Initially, the hotel lighting design called for a projected $10,000 monthly cost in electrical bills; after utilizing the latest LED technology, however, they were stunned to discover the actual electrical bill came to only $4,000.
“We hadn’t anticipated how much the branch load really dropped using LED (lights),” said JMS project manager Jack Nelson. “If we knew of this efficiency beforehand, the construction budget could have been reduced in terms of distribution and service-equipment sizing.”
Solving Design Challenges
Another example of the benefits of LED technology was demonstrated when San Francisco’s Decker Electric Co. took on the job of wiring for 70 different types of custom LED light fixtures in the Contemporary Jewish Museum.
“There wasn’t one straight wall,” said Keith Burrows, the company’s executive vice president. “Every one was slanted, and the lighting had to match the design.” By using LED lights, among other innovative solutions, the contractors were able to supply electrical power to all of the fixtures while also meeting the requirements for green building certification.
The better electrical contractors and other designers understand the opportunities afforded by LED technology, the more value they can bring to their clients and projects.