LED Lighting Solutions in Commercial Construction|
LED lighting has made great strides in technological advancements in the last ten years. After decades of being relegated to use in narrowly defined applications, LEDs are now taking a much larger role in applications that were once the sole domain of high powered and inefficient incandescent lamps. With their smaller size, excellent efficiency, and extremely long life, LEDs represent the future in commercial lighting applications. As their popularity grows and the technology driving their development continues to advance, it is only a matter of time before LEDs become the standard in modern commercial industries.
In recent years, the trend in some commercial construction industries, especially roadwork, has been to reorganize work shifts towards late evening and nighttime hours. This has become an attractive practice in the construction industry, because working in the evening reduces the amount of interaction between the public and the work that is being performed, reducing the impact of the work on the public and theoretically improving the safety of the workers. Studies performed by several notable institutions such as Purdue University found that although the shift to working at night reduced the levels of traffic congestion, worker safety remained a very high concern.
They also found that accident statistics were similar for daytime construction hours as compared to nighttime construction hours, and that the small increase in costs that the necessary lighting equipment represented was easily offset by the savings created by a reduction in traffic congestion. The report reveals that although lighting equipment represents an added cost, it still results in a net benefit because it reduces the need for added speed control measures and specialized, high-visibility safety equipment.
As well as a deliberate shifting of work hours towards the evening, many commercial industries are engaged in activities that require around-the-clock performance. Emergency utility services and first response emergency workers are often called upon to work late night hours, and having a readily available source of dependable illumination is of critical importance to the effective performance of their duties.
The focus in nighttime construction then naturally spreads between cost and safety. Of paramount concern is the safety of the nighttime construction worker, and one of the most effective means for improving safety is found in improving the visibility of the workers and adequately illuminating the jobsite. Improved visibility, as represented by effective illumination, was found to reduce the number of accidents while improving the ability to perform work. As well as improving worker safety, one of the biggest factors in the quality, cost, and productivity of nighttime work was found by Perdue to be illuminating the jobsite. Poor lighting resulted in tasks taking longer, and the total duration of projects increasing. Improved lighting also had the benefit of improving worker alertness by enhancing the ability to overcome the normal effects of disruption in the natural sleep cycle that occurs when working unnatural nighttime hours.
To determine the best lighting requirements for nighttime construction work in the absence of OSHA requirements, studies were performed, which resulted in minimum standards that can help contractors to determine the lighting requirements of a specific job site. With these standards in hand, it then becomes a matter of selecting the correct equipment for the job, and ensuring that workers utilize the equipment properly and effectively. In determining the proper equipment, contractors take into consideration the guidelines created by state and federal institutions, along with the particular conditions of the job site where work is to be performed. Traffic rate, proximity to traffic, power source availability, and the visual difficulty of the particular types of work to be performed are all taken into consideration, and the lighting equipment that best suits the minimum requirements presented by these factors can then be chosen. Because of the widely varied nature of construction job sites and emergency job site locations, the selection of lighting equipment often necessitates choosing equipment that can perform in a wide variety of applications.
In the case of emergency first responders and utility workers, situations often arise necessitating the need for an effective light source that is quickly and easily deployed, has sufficient power for close work, and can be operated independently of an outside power source. For this type of work, the Larson Electronics WAL-16LED-BP is an excellent example of an efficient and effective answer to the requirements posed by the emergency job site. Although small in size, the entire case is the size of a carry-on suitcase; this portable light tower produces 2880 lumens of illumination, and the tower can be opened and extended from three to eight feet. The unit uses two light heads that contain eight 3-watt LEDs each, and uses 24 watts to produce 1440 lumens. Combined, the two units produce a total of 2880 lumens, while drawing only 4 amps.
The Larson Electronics WAL-16LED-BP relies on an internal rechargeable battery that can power both lights for five hours or an individual light for ten hours. The lead-acid deep-cycle battery has a 600 charge lifecycle and can be recharged from low power sources such as a vehicle. As well as being portable, the light can also be powered by an external source, and has options for ac powered operation or low voltage connection to external power sources. This is a plus for situations that require extended operational hours and limited opportunities for recharging.
The light can be put into operation in less than a minute, and there is no assembly of any components required, since all the components are hard wired and self contained within the case. The user simply opens the case and deploys the light by extending the stabilizing legs and telescoping the light pole to the desired height. The supporting legs can be extended to three feet in length, giving this light tower enough stability to withstand winds of up to 65 miles per hour. The LED light bar heads are waterproof and dustproof, protecting the interior electronics from environmental conditions. The light bars can be swiveled and angled to almost any direction, and will retain that position without any need for tightening or loosening of locking mechanisms. The operator positions the lights, and they remain positioned until the operator changes their settings.The WAL-16LED-BP case includes rollers, making deployment even easier, and requires no connections for operations. This unit is an excellent choice for those who operate as emergency responders and require an immediate and effective source of trouble-free illumination for the job site. This light is portable enough to be stored in a regular truck until needed, requiring no special storage considerations, and can be rapidly deployed without consideration for power requirements. The WAL-16LED-BP light tower represents an effective and efficient way for the safety and production-conscious contractor to ensure that his workers have the best options available to them regardless of the conditions the job may present.