Contributed by: Don WinnerOne of the main goals for lighting is to have security at night, for our families, our homes and our neighborhoods. However, the task is to be safe, not just to feel safe. Visibility is the goal. You want to be able to see rather than just have an abundant amount of fixtures blinding everyone and creating harsh shadows. Quality, vivid or brilliant lighting is essential for any real security situation. As a society, we all support law enforcement efforts to help, protect and serve our community. During a recent business trip to Panama City last year, we completed a Light Emitting Diode Proposal (LEDs) for the Energy Division of the Panama Canal Authority. While driving by the Headquarters of the Panamanian National Police in Ancón we noticed a lighting opportunity at the security checkpoints entering and leaving the facility. The station had sufficient lighting for the soldiers, but, based on a recent LED special services and checkpoint guidance we presented to enforcement officers in the US we decided to coordinate and meet with the Engineering department of the Ancon Police Station. (more)
Demonstration of new LED lighting technology at the Headquarters building of the Panama Canal Authority in Panama City
The Engineering Division we found to be cooperative and open to our suggestions. It was stated that the coordinated efforts of renovation at several police locations was to occur in the next year and if enhanced lighting solutions drawing less energy are available and could be presented to the department, the department would be open to consider reviewing all available options. We decided to donate the lighting to the station to demonstrate the brilliance of LED lighting. One of the police officers on duty said the lighting was much brighter and easier to see in each vehicle. These LED last about 30,000 hours more, use less than half the energy and are totally green…..so what is a Light Emitting Diode?
What is a LED? To fully understand LEDs and the change over in technology and how it affects residential and commercial lighting I would like to take a moment to review lighting itself, what are LEDs and the impact LEDs will have on you and your organization.
In the late 1800’s the first light bulb was invented by Thomas Edison. The original lamp was constructed with a filament which was heated to incandescence by an electric current. When inert gases such as nitrogen are added to the bulbs, longer filament life is achieved. Further development of this “old” technology over the years has led us to newer and brighter fixtures, compact fluorescent (CFL’s- squirrely looking) bulbs and new energy efficient technology. Unfortunately, these steps achieved better efficiency, but did not lead us down a path of “Green.” Extreme heat and energy loss and the use of gases and mercury are still present in the new technology.
You’ve known about LEDs for years as they are the foundation of just about all modern electronic devises – televisions, answering machines and the vivid display on your cell phone, but what is a LED? A LED is a semiconductor light source. The tiny devices convert electrical energy into visible and near-UV wavelengths when connected to an electrical circuit. These computer chips, when programmed, can produce multiple verities of “white” light. Also, with added software design, the RGB-LEDs can produce thousands of vibrant colors! In many high usage requirements LEDs have replaced both incandescent and the fluorescent lamps in almost all applications of traffic signals and crossing sign usage, automobiles and avionics and “green” construction in commercial buildings.
The lights were donated (remaining front upon approval) as a gesture of good faith reminding the group of how much we truly appreciate all they do to look after our business’ and families. Too often we overlook the people who are always there to protect us. These products are some of the newest and most efficient of lighting technologies.
Quantity and Quality: Until fairly recently the lighting was simple and straightforward. Electric light was produced by incandescent lamps with very little concern for the quality or visual appearance of that light. Instead, light was considered primarily in terms of its quantity. The goal was to deliver adequate, properly directed light to perform the tasks associated with an environment. Today, however, it is understood that the quality of that light can both enhance people’s ability to perform tasks and influence their emotional state. LEDs can produce brilliant colors and they can make you feel much safer in a parking garage or when you are pumping gasoline.
Ongoing Technological Innovation: The ability to precisely control the quality as well as the quantity of light has led to the availability of light sources that can exert subtle but pervasive effects on the appearance of an environment. Advances in our understanding of the psychological impact that light and color have on a wide range of human emotions and activities have made the intelligent use of these options increasingly important to the success of any installation.
Light Affects Everyone: Of all the technological advances over the past century, nothing has completely altered our lives as much as electric. Day and night, indoors and out, at home, in the work place, in stadiums, parks, hospitals and schools, on highways and at airports, is fundamental to our modern lifestyle.
The population is making the shift to LEDs three main reasons. First, LEDs are rapidly developing in light output, color rendering, efficiency, and reliability. The white lights are brighter and have a brilliant appearance versus the look of standard lighting. Secondly, the lights are extremely durable, carry up to 5 times the warranty, 20 times the life and use approximately 70- 90% less energy. This makes LEDs an increasingly attractive choice. Lastly, with the above fully considered, you really can’t afford not to make the shift once a true financial review of the savings is analyzed.
High Intensity/Low Power Consumption LED Color Programmable Technology Demonstration at a Cathedral
The cost of LED lighting is still typically higher compared to incandescent lamps used for the same purpose, but, with the increase in efficiency and lifespan they are the more attractive alternative This is especially true since the decade-payback period of the past has changed to only a few years now, or in some cases, even months! If financing is elected for capital outflow projects can achieve monthly savings day one due to the savings of energy reduction. This is typically scheduled for a 5 or 6 year project payback. In the 6th year when the loan is finalized, a 70% plus energy savings is then realized monthly for the life of the project!
Supro is the exclusive distributor of GreenLight Technology LED products. Supro provides a comprehensive structure of management, sales support, market research and distribution of lighting solutions to the consumer. Their unique business model provides you a turn-key commerce package including all forms of logistics, financing and corporation assurance to serve your business needs. Should you have questions or need further information on these or any of their lighting products, please contact Daniel Diaz, P Productos Superiores, S.A., Panama, R.P., Phone: (507)300-3800
More Information on the Evolution of LED: It is clear the financial savings, efficiency and the life of LEDs are ridiculous when it comes to comparing LED lighting to the old pressurized and gaseous technology. How did this come about? Well, in the example below, technology was the impetus for the change. The LED light is 100% dissimilar to the old style of fixture created by Thomas Edison, other than being an “apparatus that produces light.” The radical shift is due to new and improved technology. A perfect example our generation can relate to is the evolution of the modern day computer.
In 1952, Univac engineers developed a magnetic amplifier which they later trademarked under the name of Ferractor. Each of these tiny components was the first stages of a modern day computer memory board and could do the work of a vacuum tube. The operating life, the speed of calculating and efficiency of computing was greatly enhanced. The obvious next step in this process was to construct a unit that utilizes Ferractor magnetic amplifiers (a technology shift) instead or using vacuum tubes.
In 1956 such a computer, the first of its kind, was delivered to the Air Research Center at Cambridge, Massachusetts. So, a 7meter x 15meter room of vacuum tubes could immediately be replaced with transistors, resistors, cards, tapes…….1/5 of the size. In the early 1970’s, integrated circuits, resistors and processing units with memory boards were developed. The shift in technology led us to workstations and laptops of today, a unit that basically sits in the palm of your hand and runs 30,000 times faster than the original super computer.
The technology shift took a good 40 years and most of us have seen a good portion of the evolution of the modern day computer. Now, regarding LED lighting – the shift has occurred in roughly the same time period. We have gone through the switch of running an electric current through a carbon filament to make light to the electric current being run through a semiconductor material and powering a tiny diode to produce light. This swing from old technology to a shift to memory boards and chips powering light is very similar to the evolution of the modern day computer. LEDs are nothing more than a “computerized light bulb.” The change from glass tubes, filaments, gas, friction, extreme loss of energy to heat – to a highly efficient chip, driver, modular bar and circuit board.
So, are LED’s the answer to all our questions about lighting? No, not yet. But, for most of the applications where energy use or demand is very high, LEDs almost always provide for very dramatic cost saving, brighter lighting and a solution that meets all needs of the consumer. For minimal use lighting, LED’s will outperform the older style of lighting, but, small energy demand, the payback for the replacement will typically not prove to be the best financial solution.
In the last five years the Solid State Lighting industry (LEDs) has been focused on developing LED lamps and luminaires for general lighting for consumers and high demand fixtures used in commercial applications. Unfortunately, in a lot of these studies, the equivalent wattage draw or LUX, lumens per square meter, could not be achieved, meaning, substituting to LEDs, equal to or greater light was achieved. Well, in the last few years the basic switch over could be achieved, but, still was cost prohibitive. Not anymore. With Supro’s existing and new line of LEDs, they guarantee to have a solution for just about every lighting demand! The new line of LED is Green, the energy draw is LEAN and the dramatic effect of lighting is unlike anything you have ever SEEN!
In the recent years past LED technology has progressed so rapidly that it has been complicated to keep up with and achieve the best lighting solution. Electrical/civil engineers, architects, lighting designers are tested daily by the consumer to keep up with all the latest developments. Consulting engineers and electrical contractors do truly understand the mechanics of electrical system design, but, sometimes are unaware of the psychological importance of LED. The color and brilliance of LED can have a tremendous impact on lighting design. Architects and interior designers are just being introduced to the newest solutions and the latest technology of LEDs, so it is often up to the consumer you to find a solution that works.
The challenge has been to educate the above groups with “LED Solutions” that deliver high-efficacy, high-quality (warm) white light, with high-powered equivalents, at a cost-effective price point. The creation of the energy (power driver), effectively controlling the energy use (chip, heatsink, refractor, housing and board) and now providing brilliant lighting solutions through the LED (diode) – is now a magnificent alternative to just about all residential and commercial markets.
LED’s have been mass produced for the last 30 years and are used in just about every lighting application in the world! You wouldn’t think about it, but in cars, boats, airplanes, motorcycles, trucks, toys, phones, TVs, light bulbs, phones, calculators, VCR’s, watches, appliances, alarm clocks – just to name a few. When you have a moment to stop and look around you anywhere lights are present………..in an office or home, you probably will notice that every electrical display, lighted background or bulb you see is probably an LED.
Metal Halide vs. LED: On the left - Metal Halide bulbs pulling a combined 400 watts of electricity. On the right, LED bulbs pulling a combined 86 watts of electricity.
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