John Casadonte 2017-01-12 17:00:56
High operational costs continue to plague healthcare organizations. In fact, hospitals consume nearly 2.5 times the energy of similarly sized buildings, with lighting representing more than 10% of energy consumption. This challenge led Reston Hospital Center, a leading acute-care and surgical facility in Reston, VA, to install energy-efficient LED lighting as a remedy to the center’s “astronomical electricity bill.” The parking garage system previously included 300 metal halide fixtures burning 24 hours a day, seven days a week. According to Chip Cooper, Reston Hospital Center project manager and master electrician, “The material and labor costs of replacing five to 10 globes, and 30 or more light bulbs each month were significant, so we were looking for an opportunity to address the issue while enhancing the visibility, safety, and comfort for our patients, visitors, and staff.” After an extensive search, Reston Hospital Center installed 325 Cree LED lighting fixtures throughout the center’s parking garage, roofing deck, and stairwells, resulting in an anticipated 81% reduction in energy consumption, for $60,455 in annual energy savings, plus the savings on maintenance. While the financial benefit was reason enough, the facility was particularly impressed by the new lighting’s impact on patients, staff, and visitors. By choosing LED technology, the Center created an inviting parking garage that not only conserves operational expenses, but also offers visitors a sense of comfort, safety, and security—setting the tone for their entire hospital experience. New Technology Delivers Breakthrough Performance LED lighting offers immediate, noticeable results along with long-term gains. It is now the number one choice for new construction and retrofits. While energy and maintenance opportunities for LED lighting are known, some have yet to realize the technology’s ability to enable vibrant, clear, and even illumination—a feature particularly important for around-the-clock facilities, where outdoor lighting can consume maximum energy and is a critical need for visitor and staff safety. Immediately after transitioning to quality LED lighting, facilities can expect more uniform light levels, eliminating dark spots between luminaires to create a safer environment for vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Parking garages have a unique set of challenges, and Reston Hospital Center was among the first to install Cree’s innovative new parking garage luminaire throughout the parking garage, providing “extremely nice light” according to Cooper. These luminaires feature Cree WaveMax Technology, an optical breakthrough that utilizes a waveguide platform to provide a combination of control, uniformity, and efficiency, while decreasing LED source luminance. With this technology, the IG Series allows low-glare illumination, exceptional energy efficiency, and fast payback, while casting rich illumination that maximizes detail and defeats shadows. Reston Hospital Center also installed LED lighting for the roof parking deck and in the stairwells. For Reston Hospital Center, the experiential benefits proved to be as important as the economic ones. Patients, visitors, and staff now experience better light without the glare. “The new lights are among the most impressive I have ever seen,” says Cooper. “We previously had 1000 watt lights on the upper level, and we had dark corners and shadows. Now, it could be two in the morning, and you can see anything, in any area up here. The dissipation of the light is excellent. The color is great. And, you can look toward the light and it’s not going to blind you or obscure your vision.” Why Better Light Matters Lighting can be a critical element in shaping visitors’ perceptions of safety. If given a choice, patients may choose a more welcoming hospital environment where they feel safe, which starts with the first impression. For a hospital whose mission is to become nationally recognized for patient care, such as with Reston Hospital Center, the volume of savings from switching to LED lighting could be used to meet more direct, patient-centered needs. Parking garages, for example, often look daunting and dark. Reston Hospital Center, with a 24-hour emergency and urgent care center, now offers drivers and pedestrians with clear way-finding due to LED lighting. The Cree IG Series can also help improve the performance of other safety systems, such as video cameras, by enabling clearer images. For example, under metal halide fixtures, a blue car may resemble gray. But under LED lighting, the true color of the car will be shown, offering precise details for any security needs. “Their input has been positive,” says Cooper of the security team. “They like it. They claim that no matter where they are, once they get within 30 feet of a light, it comes up to full brightness at night, in all areas.” Smarter Management for Promising Economics In the US, there are more than 40,000 garages and surface parking lots, costing building owners more than $6 billion. Much of this expense could be saved if parking lots and garages were upgraded to the most efficient lighting solutions and controls. Facility managers can avoid disruptions to parking areas, entrances, and walkways by switching to LED lighting, saving even more on bottom-line financial costs. LED lighting often requires virtually no maintenance, operates more efficiently than fluorescent lights, and is dimmable. This can significantly reduce disruptions to operations, driving down not only your healthcare facility’s maintenance costs, but your energy usage as well. LED lighting is also programmable from full brightness down to 10%. Lights can be motion controlled, with many shutting off during daylight hours unless needed, saving considerably on electricity. Reston Hospital Center noticed the energy benefits of motion sensors, which increase light levels from 15 to 25% when needed. Since LED lights can last up to 10 years without maintenance, healthcare business managers and facility managers can apply savings toward other critical applications requiring more immediate attention. It can seem difficult to know where to start when deciding to move towards new lighting technology, but LED lighting is an investment for the lifetime of the facility that delivers benefits for all occupants. LED lighting solutions blend both efficiency and visual appeal, creating inviting spaces that offer staff, visitors, and families friendlier access to the building—all while using up to 60% less energy than traditional lighting. Making the switch to LED lighting can help facility managers invest in the future of the facility and provide the best experience for all. DE John Casadonte is the vertical marketing manager, lighting, at Cree, Inc.
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