Getting best value from your LED manufacturer

The lighting market is moving fast and pressure is increasing to ditch traditional fluorescents and make the switch to energy-efficient lighting such as LEDs. With building lighting representing 15 to 19 per cent of total global energy consumption, it clearly is big business. But to confidently specify LEDs, electrical contractors and specifiers need to be confident themselves about the product’s benefits and limitations as well as being sure they are getting a good deal from a manufacturer. Manufacturers therefore have a responsibility to provide credible information about their products and equally, electrical contractors need to ask the right questions to ensure their customers are fully informed about the spectrum of low energy lighting out there.

Choosing LED
LEDs are fast becoming the first choice due to their well-documented energy saving properties and affordability. LED manufacturer MHA Lighting, based in Atherton, Greater Manchester, has built up a portfolio of blue chip commercial clients and public sector organisations which have been delighted with energy savings of between 70 and 80 per cent and equivalent Co2 reductions. MHA Lighting is uniquely positioned to offer this through its robust British design and manufacture, patented waveguide technology and extensive independent test data.

Sourcing LED
But what should contractors look for when sourcing from an LED manufacturer?

Firstly, all of the benefits of LED technology are completely dependent upon longevity in the fitting. And longevity in a LED light engine is completely dependent upon three crucial factors:

  • The LED itself
  • Thermal management of the junction temperature
  • The driver

Contractors are fully entitled to ask the LED manufacturer to provide thorough documented evidence and certification for each of these three elements.

Test data
Responsible LED lighting suppliers will have independent test data from qualified third party European Test Houses for photometric data, CE marking and IP rating certification. Don’t be afraid to ask for this to verify the lighting quality. Also ask to see the equipment manufacturer’s ‘TM21’ test reports to project the lumen degradation of an LED package.

The right colour
Electrical contractors also need to ask for the photometric data as evidence of the light distribution of any fitting that they may be considering to install. Care should also be taken to ensure that for internal applications, LEDs with 80 to 85 CRI – or external applications 65 to 75 CRI – should be specified. Some LED manufacturers provide much cooler temperatures as these give the appearance of the light actually being brighter than it truly is. In our experience, cooler temperatures of around 4500 kelvin are best suited to most internal applications which may involve precision working, and external temperatures between 5500 and 5575 kelvin with a 75 CRI.

These temperatures should deliver optimum light colour for a variety of installations indoors and out, but may vary depending on the exact environment. Rather than simply replacing one lighting product with another, MHA Lighting provides a complete end-to-end lighting solution to ensure the very best light quality for any environment. It all starts with a free site visit and a full evaluation of an organisations’ existing lighting scheme. A dedicated technical engineer will then review the organisations’ needs and provide a solution that exceeds their current lighting specifications and offers significant reductions in energy.

Final checks
Finally the manufacturers should be questioned as to how the internal LEDs are protected so that incidents such as surges in power supply will not result in catastrophic failure of the light engine. If your supplier cannot provide examples of, or answers to the above – then proceed with caution. If you bear these points in mind, you should be on the road to sourcing a high quality reliable product to benefit both your customers and your reputation as a contractor.

Focus on: Isle of Man
With the help of award-winning lighting manufacturer, MHA Lighting, three companies with offices in Douglas on the Isle of Man, are significantly reducing their lighting energy consumption – savings are estimated to exceed £300,000 and 850 Tonnes of Co2.

With its low energy luminaires and proven ability to design bespoke, precision lighting solutions – MHA Lighting was chosen to replace all the existing fluorescent fittings in the St. Mary’s Court offices and lobby areas of Charlemagne Capital (IOM) Ltd, Nedbank Private Wealth Ltd and Tristao Services Ltd.

After meticulously investigating and researching various fittings from different suppliers to find the optimal light solution, MHA Lighting’s TiLites were chosen that supplied 80 CRI and 4000 kelvin colour temperature.

This particular combination can significantly enhance the working environment, which is also known to aid concentration – contributing to a greater feeling of wellbeing amongst the staff.

A Catalina Property Services spokesperson said:

“By replacing the lighting in the offices of our residents with MHA Lighting’s low-energy LED fittings, not only are they seeing real cost savings on their energy bills – over £300,000 is expected, but the light colour, output and uniformity is superb and the initial feedback is that staff are benefiting from the improved lighting levels.”

Tel: 44 (0)1942 887 400
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