Retrofit Wall Packs: Why Upgrading to LED is Beneficial|
Article - March 23, 2016 By LarsonElectronics.com
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Wall pack lighting systems that use traditional light sources often fail to meet the expectations of large businesses. The type of fixtures that are typically deployed for such locations are high intensity discharge (HID) lamps, which are known to support outdated technology for light production.
In order to address issues commonly associated with HIDs, some companies are turning to light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Retrofitting wall packs with LEDs may help reduce maintenance and replacement costs, as well as improve energy efficiency throughout the facility.
Challenges and Obstacles of Traditional Wall Packs
Wall packs are some of the most used lighting systems in a commercial building. When focused solely on the source of the lights (production and output), HID fixtures are moderately efficient. However, the fixtures fail severely when it comes to the number of lumens reaching the target area. This is because the lamps are designed to push out light in all directions, and the units rely on reflectors inside the fixture to guide stray light to a specified location. In most cases, roughly 40 percent of the light produced by HIDs are wasted and do not reach the actual target.
It is important to consider that HID lights cannot be toggled instantly. A start-up period of 5-10 minutes is needed before reaching full light output. In application, this may cause problems for businesses when the light shuts off, and needs to be turned on in a timely manner. Intruders may also exploit this feature when breaking into the premises. When it comes to light tones, HIDs are limited to Kelvin color temperature ratings between 3000K-5000K, making the units undesirable for businesses that are looking for warm, yellowish lighting features. With an average lifespan of 25,000 hours, the fixtures boast low upfront costs; but from a long-term perspective, they require meticulous maintenance with focus on ballast and lamp replacements.
Benefits of Retrofitting Wall Packs with LEDs
LEDs are the next wave of cutting-edge technology that can be a used for wall pack lighting. The directional light sources utilize small diodes that are connected to a circuit. Because the fixtures support a solid state design and do not rely on filaments to produce light, they are less prone to premature failure, shock and breakage. This is a huge advantage in wall pack lighting due to the unpredictable, rough conditions that the units are exposed to on a regular basis. The units offer a superior lifespan of roughly 50,000 hours, and feature instant toggling. Most LEDs are dimmable down to 10 percent, which is ideal for facilities with broad lighting requirements.
“Because wall packs operate during off-peak hours, they often waste energy lighting unoccupied spaces at full illuminance levels for hours at a time every night. Replacing inefficient sources with LED or induction technologies and adding photocells, occupancy sensors and controls to wall packs dramatically reduces this energy waste,” explained the University of California, in an exterior lighting case study.
Lastly, with a recyclability rate of 96 percent and no toxic chemicals inside the unit, LEDs are seamlessly disposable. This green feature could be beneficial for businesses with environmentally-friendly practices.