You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again: If you want to make a serious dent in your energy bill (we’re talking 50 to 70 per cent), switching to LED lights is where it’s at. Not only has the cost of LED bulbs fallen by more than 85 per cent, LED lights are six to seven times more efficient than traditional fluorescents. What makes LED lights more efficient? Longevity, minimal maintenance, controllability, quality of light and the list goes on. Combine these with provincial energy rebate programs and LED lights basically pay for themselves.
Okay, now that we’ve convinced you about all the great ways LED lights can save your bottom line, let’s look at what’s trending in the market. We recently spoke with Graybar Canada’s Atlantic Lighting Manager Sean Dixon, and Lighting Specialist Mark Vaughan, to shine a light on what’s popular with their customers.
One of the major benefits of LED lighting is your ability to control its energy output through dimmers and occupancy sensors. “By going to LED you can adjust your light levels,” explains Lighting Specialist Mark Vaughan. “Fluorescent lights require a special dimming ballast whereas most commercial LED fixtures come with a 0 – 10 voltage control built-in.” Control systems are also popular for reducing lights in those unused spaces. “Typically, lighting in commercial stairwells run 24/7 and very seldom are people using them,” explains Lighting Manager Sean Dixon. “The benefit of connecting your fixtures to a centralized system is you can schedule them to adjust at certain times including load shedding (dim areas down at the same time). Also, if you have centralized control of the lighting, such as with Lutron’s Vive system, you can see in real-time how much energy you’re saving through an app on your phone or computer.”
If you’re interested in learning how to connect your lighting to one central hub, the Graybar Canada Lighting Group is well trained on control systems and showing customers how to implement them.
Small but Mighty:
Another big trend our lighting division is noticing is how traditional pot lights are becoming almost non-existent. “Customers are moving away from large rough-in pot light housings and installing thin-profile downlights that take up very little space in the ceiling,” says Dixon. Lithonia and Eaton Lighting offer thin-profile wafer style downlights that are easy to install and produce more lumens per watt.
Traditional office lighting is also getting in on the thin-profile action with LED flat panel fixtures. “Flat panels are huge in the market right now,” explains Dixon. “In fact, their upfront cost is almost as inexpensive as traditional fluorescent troffers and most have built-in dimming capabilities.” Fixtures like Eaton’s FP Series LED flat panels are ideal for commercial spaces because the ultra-thin design allows for installation in grid ceilings, drywall recessed and surface, or suspended applications.
A common fear of switching to LED lights is that people think they’re going to be too harsh. We tend to envision those first-generation Christmas and street lights with that awful bright blue hue. But thanks to improvements in technology, well-designed LED fixtures come in a variety of colour temperatures and dimming controls. “I always try to remind customers that a dimmer can be easily installed to control light levels,” says Vaughan.
Computer glare is also a common problem in commercial spaces that can be solved with the correct colour temperature. “A lot of people are leaning towards the warmer colour in office spaces because it’s easier on your eyes and it cuts down on glare,” explains Vaughan. “If a customer is having issues with glare, the first thing I’ll adjust is the colour temperature and nine times out of ten that solves the problem.”
With manufacturers continuously upgrading to new technology, it’s difficult to know which lighting system is right for you. Contact your local Graybar Canada Lighting Specialist to learn more about new LED fixtures and how they can improve your workspace.