LEDs play a huge role in most forms of commercial lighting. Traditional lighting solutions have accounted for up to 40% of electricity overhead costs for commercial premises. Businesses are starting to realize the energy and cost savings that can be gained by switching to LED lights. Choosing the right supplier will maximize cost savings for the business over the long-term. More often than not, choosing the cheapest in the short-term will cost more over the long-term. The team from LEDified has provided a simple guide for business managers to help them choose the right LED lighting supplier.
Check that the electrical product is marked correctly.
It is illegal for suppliers to place an electrical product in the Australian market with no marking. The products must meet the minimum standard of electrical safety, which is set by the Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council.
Furthermore, all LED lights need to be checked for EMC (Electromagnetic compatibility) to minimize disturbances associated with:
- Conducted (continuous and intermittent) radio frequency
- Radiated radio frequency disturbance.
Check the product’s marking for the correct voltage, RCM and branding.
Understand how LED lights consume energy.
The light circuit power (LCP) refers to the total input power of a luminaire consumed by the LED. The total light output of a luminaire is measured in lumens. Business managers need to understand the luminous efficacy, which is a measure of how efficiently a luminaire uses power to produce usable visible light and is expressed using the ratio lumens/Watt (lm/W). The higher the lm/W, the more efficient the luminaire will be.
Light distribution from the luminaire should also meet the requirements for the desired space. In addition to selecting the right LED light products, it is also important to work with a lighting designer that can advise you on the best lighting solutions for your commercial space.
Does the lighting product carry the SSL quality scheme label?
Validate the performance claims of suppliers by checking labels (referred to as the Solid State Lighting Scheme) issued by Lighting Council Australia. The key performance indicators that commercial managers should assess include:
- The energy efficiency of the LED.
- The light output of the LED.
- The colour temperature of the LED.
- The colour rendering index.
- The dimmability of the LED.
You can see full details of the label here.
Has the luminaire been registered with an approved state or national government rebate scheme?
As a part of Australia’s efforts to cut carbon emissions by 2020, state governments are helping commercial premises to switch to energy efficient lighting solutions through special offers and discounts. Examples of the scheme include VEET from the Victorian government and ESS from the New South Wales government.
Estimate how long the lights will last.
LED lights last about 20 times longer than halogen downlights. However the durability of the light will depend on lumen maintenance, which measures its decay to the point of 70% of its initial light output. Although some products may express shelf-life as a large number (E.g. 50,000 hours), the lumen maintenance is ultimately calculated from the LM-80 results and a TM-21 report.
Choose the right light colour.
Different LED lighting products can emit different colours. Business managers are urged to request a copy of the LM-79 test report or SSL label to determine the emitted colour from the light. A colour-rendering index (CRI) of 80 or higher is used for more indoor setups.
Understand the component compatibility.
Not all LEDs are compatible with all lighting components. LEDs that aren’t suited for dimming or switches could cause failures and even fires. It is important to verify the product’s features, operations and compatibility.
Choosing the right LED solution can save commercial premises hundreds or thousands of dollars from their utility overheads. However, a wrongly installed solution could set the business back thousands of dollars in additional costs. Consult with experts that can advise the best solution for the commercial premise.
By Tom Rutherford, Marketing Manager, LEDified Lighting Corporation
Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?
Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?
Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.
Is Biofuel Green?
One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.
Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?
Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.
Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.
Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.
Benefits Of Biomass
The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.
Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.
7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees
As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.
After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:
One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.
While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.
Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies
Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.
The Ability To Work Remotely
It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.
Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.
Unlimited Time Off
This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.
A Full Pantry
Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.
Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!