The use of LED Lighting in health care setting is attractive proposition for accomplishing improved light quality while providing substantial energy savings for any health care setting.
Better Hospital Lighting
Since LED Lights are semi-conductors they are a boundless controllable source and can be programmed to produce light at precise wave lengths and at specific colors which can benefit health care’s strict lighting requirements. The majority of LED lights manufactured today are blue LED’s covered in a yellow phosphor to create a white light. Several studies have shown patients in nursing homes that were exposed to light from an LED experienced much improved sleep patterns.
LED luminaries deliver a spectrum of light that closely resembles the sun. While fluorescent bulbs produce very little. This has several advantages, light sources with spectra more like daylight but at the same light level make the pupil smaller which improves visual acuity and affects circadian rhythm. So you actually see and feel better with an LED light while using less energy which is a big benefit for health care establishments.
There a wide variety of LED options for use in a health care facilities such as surgical troffers, patient lighting, bathroom lighting, exam lights, specialty procedure lighting, hall and office lighting.
LED Surgical Troffers are designed to distribute light downward and toward the surgical team reducing eye strain, shadows and improving their vision.
Patient LED lights can be designed with bi-level switching allowing patients to adjust light to a level that makes them comfortable.
LED bathroom lights are designed to provide indirect, direct or both and can also be used and adjusted for night lighting for safety.
Specialty procedures LED lighting has two advantages over halogen, LED specialty procedure lights produce no heat which can make the doctors and patients uncomfortable and are designed for specific optical patterns so light can be directed more easily to the intended location.
LED lights are the perfect application for hall and office lighting since they are usually on 24 hours. A typical LED recessed 2×4 troffer uses only about 40 watts where a 4 lamp T12 would use roughly 175 watts and a 4 lamp T8 would use over 100 watts. A troffer upgrade can usually pay for itself in 1.5 to 3.5 years making it an attractive investment while maintaining or improving light quality.
Outdoor Uses for LEDs in Hospital Lighting
LED lighting can provide some substantial benefits in parking garages and parking lots. Parking Lots and Garages have one important thing in common, security! Unfortunately they have been a magnet for criminals because the value of the automobiles and their contents as well as the occupants themselves. So it is important to have a well-lit parking lot and garage but it does not have to cost a fortune to do it.
Old Hospital Lighting Technology
Hospital lighting of outdoor areas such as streets, roadways, parking lots and garages and pedestrian areas have been dominated by metal halide (MH) and high-pressure sodium (HPS) sources. Because this type of lighting is not suitable to dimming and frequent switching, operation is typically done the entire evening, even when the parking lot or garage is completely empty. In many areas law requires lights to be on 24 hours in a parking garage.
Current Lighting Technology for Parking Lots and Garages for Hospitals
Today LED lighting technology has brought significant advancements while using approximately 50% less wattage than its Metal Halide or HPS counterparts. Another advantage of LED Lighting Technology is that they work extremely well with lighting controls. LED lights are themselves a semiconductor device with a computer chip that emits light when energy is applied to it and an electronic driver is used to control voltage and color. Although there are several types of lighting controls the one most suited for parking garages and lots would be bi-level occupancy sensors. Using bi-level technology means that when there is no-one present in an area, the luminaire can go down to about 20% of full power while still maintaining an acceptable standard of light. The motion sensor is in place to detect pedestrians or automobiles coming and would seamlessly boost the fixture to full power. The combination of both technologies can yield approximately 80% less power wattage than the typical MH or HPS bulbs.
Hospitals Pay High Maintenance Costs for Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium
Along with the high cost of power usage, Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium bulbs require a lot of maintenance. Industry research shows that about 2/3 of the costs associated with lighting come from energy usage and bulbs, while a third of the costs are associated with maintenance. For parking lot lights, the maintenance factor is greater because of the access factor.
Many hospitals use a private lighting contractor for maintenance of their parking lot lights. For MH fixtures, these costs can vary, but a conservative estimate of $200.00 per fixture is common. These costs include materials, maintenance, 3-year scheduled re-lamping and periodic spot re-lamping, all provided by the contractor. This however is also a conservative measure, as most MH lamps degrade quicker than 3 years, with their lumen output greatly diminishing long before that and outputting only a fraction of the light. A more typical lifetime for the MH is somewhere between 12-18 months before they start to decay significantly.
Superior Energy Savings Provides Quick Payback in Hospital Lighting
A typical 150 watt high pressure sodium bulb in a parking garage uses 191 watts and if on for 24 hours a day it would use a total of 1,674 kWh per year. If you compare that to a low bay parking garage LED at 50 watts the annual kWh savings would be 1236 kWh or $135.96 per fixture based on .11 per kWh not including maintenance or bulb replacement costs. If the average maintenance costs are typically a third of the energy usage it safe to say the maintenance cost of the high pressure sodium would be $45 annually. The total annual cost for the high pressure sodium would be $181 and it would have a 3.3 year pay back based on a low bay garage LED costing $600.
The use of LED lighting in a health care facility makes a lot of sense. The major reduction in energy usage and the superior light quality aspects will benefit any health care facilities long term building and sustainability programs.