Illuminating large outdoor areas require high levels of light. HID (high-intensity discharge) lamps were the golden standard for illuminating wide areas. But it comes with certain flaws. Its significant UV radiation requires UV-blocking filters to overcome UV-induced degradation of its components. In worst-case scenarios, exposure to HID lamps with faulty or an absent UV-blocker caused sunburns and arc-eye. Its drawbacks were eventually addressed by newer technologies which overcame its shortfalls. The advancement in LED lighting technology has forced businesses to reevaluate their lighting choices, given the benefits of its energy-efficiency and reduced maintenance.
Pitfalls of HID Lamps
The HID lamps are composed of a variety of chemistry depending on the desired characteristics of light. A typical HID lamp contains metal halide, mercury vapor, and high-pressure sodium. Given the toxic nature of their components, a breakage can result in a huge risk. Maintenance is another area, besides its inefficiency, where it racks up significant costs for its users. With a low lifespan, it requires to be replaced frequently, which can often be an uphill task at rugged work sites. Additional costs of replacing its ballasts also add on to its overall maintenance costs.
A list of the major deficiencies in HID lighting are the following:
- High infrared energy emittance. A large portion of the energy emitted by HIDs is infrared, suggesting a loss of energy which could have been used for lighting.
- Lumen output deterioration. HIDs undergo a significant loss (70% less visible light) in lumen output after only 10,000 hours of operation.
- UV Radiation. HID lamps have a pretty bad reputation for emitting UV radiation. So much so that it requires UV filters to prevent its components from degrading and inflicting injury to humans and animals,
- Omnidirectional Light. HID lights are omnidirectional. Producing light in 360 degrees requires the need for reflection and redirection to illuminate the desired area, which suggests that the light output is much less efficient due to losses than what it would have been in the case of directional light.
The upside of LED Area lights
LEDs have the ability to withstand colder temperatures without a compromise in lighting performance is an advantage in winter weather conditions. In comparison to HIDs, LEDs do not require a long warm-up period. They can provide instant illumination without affecting light performance.
LEDs consume around 30 percent less energy than traditional lighting technologies. For high mast lighting applications, this is a key advantage – especially for remote assemblies that operate on generators or batteries.
The major points which make a solid case for businesses to shift to LEDs can be summed up as follows:
- Extremely long lifespan. LEDs last way longer than HIDs and other conventional lighting technologies. The latest LED lights have a lifespan of 50,000 hours or more.
- Highly energy-efficient. LEDs are the most efficient lights commercially available in the market today. Unlike HIDs, they do not waste energy in infrared emissions. Additionally, LEDs emit light directionally, resulting in lesser light losses.
- Good light quality. The color temperature of LEDs range between 2,700K and 7,000K and certain variants are also dimmable.
- Low maintenance. LEDs have a lower rate of replacement and are designed to be durable, resulting in reduced costs and hassle.
LEDs are the present and future of lighting technologies for area lighting applications. And given their importance, IKIO's LED Area Luminaire Series are designed to combine modern architectural form and versatility to make it an excellent choice for new construction or retrofit applications. Their high output LEDs and custom engineered optics provide excellent uniformity and efficiency.