LEDs have dramatically changed the aesthetics in commercial spaces. With the arrival of newer technologies, it has become easier to integrate lighting appliances with controls. The sheer adaptability of new technologies is ensuring that LEDs continue to be widely used in commercial spaces.
By Baishakhi Dutta
Although most businesses, especially commercial spaces, operate mainly during the day, there is often a need for interior lighting, even if the office floor receives abundant natural light. Appropriate commercial lighting is needed to illuminate work spaces, meeting rooms and other specific areas, as well as to create a mood that enhances employee productivity, even while cutting down on the monthly electricity bill.
The many benefits of using LEDs
LED lighting is easily the best option when it comes to energy efficiency. Although replacing outdated commercial lighting with LED alternatives will cost you some money upfront (LEDs can cost four times or more than incandescent bulbs), the energy savings will more than cover the initial costs, in time, thanks to lower energy bills.
Vimal Soni, director, Corvi LED, points out that commercial spaces consume more electricity due to longer operational hours and larger illuminated spaces. Installing LED lights can save up to 90 per cent of the energy used, compared to the conventional sources of lighting.
Rajesh Uttamchandani, director, Syska Group, also shares similar statistics regarding energy savings. He states that in comparison to conventional lights, LEDs have a very long life, thereby reducing the need for frequent lamp changes. Also, these lights consume 70-80 per cent less power than CFLs. “LEDs provide excellent intensity, uniform light distribution, high efficiency and a good ROI. They are designed to last long, have a quick payback period and a negligible impact on the environment,” says Uttamchandani.
Tushar Gupta, executive director, NTL Lemnis, says that the most important reason for the advent of LEDs in commercial spaces is their energy efficiency and low maintenance costs. “The requirement for lighting in commercial spaces is a lot so it can typically become the highest energy guzzler within an organisation. One of the main reasons for the success or failure of any commercial space is how well expenses are minimised. Once the conversion from incandescent lighting to LED is done, the ROI is high. Conversion to LEDs provides huge energy savings and thereby lowers energy bills substantially,” he says.
What’s trending in the market?
It’s no wonder then that commercial facility managers are opting to invest in the latest LED technology. The good news is that now there are more technologically advanced, creative and downright cool things that can be done with LED lighting. “Intelligent, human-centric lighting is the emerging trend in global markets,” Soni says.
According to Soni, for commercial spaces, the current trend is to ensure that natural light is used to the maximum extent possible. This is ensured while designing the workplaces, using features such as glass extensively.
Gupta adds, “I believe that Li-Fi will become more accepted but it will still take some time to become all pervasive, both across the world and in India. In addition, the connected office will become a reality.” He adds that a large number of companies are already experimenting with IoT lighting and this could become a game changer in the future. “Within LED controls too, the focus is now on smart offices, with sensors taking over. Some examples include auto dimming, motion and occupancy sensors. Hence choosing the right LED products in terms of CCT (correlated colour temperature), CRI (colour rendering index), SDCM (standard deviation colour matching), etc, becomes very important,” he says.
Suggestions to large institutional buyers
For a large office or commercial space spanning multiple buildings, it can be quite difficult to select the right product. To help you in taking the right call, some lighting industry experts have suggested the important factors that need to be kept in mind in order to bag a beneficial deal.
Soni suggests that institutional buyers should avoid the pitfall of purchasing energy-efficient LED lighting based on the parameters that were developed for conventional lighting. “LED lighting should be purchased based on the lumen requirement and not the wattage or size of the fixture. Companies should also secure their customers’ investments by ensuring that the brand offers a longer warranty,” adds Soni.
“For large institutional buyers of commercial space lighting, ROI and energy savings have become the most important aspects while making a purchase decision. LEDs have the fastest ROI and help reduce energy consumption and light wastage. However, it isn’t just the price that is important. The applications for which the lighting is used should also be considered,” says Gupta. “The cheapest isn’t always the best. Focus should be on futuristic technologies like smart features, intelligent controls, etc,” he adds.
Things you should know about the payback period
In order to make the lighting purchase a rewarding long term investment, as well as a seamless and hassle-free process, industry stalwarts have suggested five factors that should be looked into. These are—lumen per watt, correlated colour temperature (CCT), colour rendering index (CRI), warranty, and unified glare ratings (UGR).
Uttamchandani suggests that before purchasing LED lights, it is important to understand their application. He says that if colour rendering is important, then one should go for luminaires/lamps with a CRI of > 80. “LEDs come with photo sensors, PIR motion sensors and with other various types of controls, so buyers must specify their requirements. Keep in mind the life of the lamp in the burning hours. One must specify the work to be done in the area to be illuminated. As per the importance of the area and the application, the lighting design needs to meet all required standards,” Uttamchandani explains.
Gupta says that it is important to understand the requirements of the area to be illuminated, before selecting a lighting product. “Depending on whether the product is being used for general lighting, ambient lighting or for task lighting, there are products that offer different photometrical properties in terms of light patterns. Hence, one has to select LEDs carefully,” says Gupta.
The future looks promising
Globally, the LED market grew from US$ 29.6 billion in 2016 to around US$ 33.1billion in 2017. This industry is expected to reach US$ 37 billion by the end of this year. The market penetration of LED lighting products has also reached an impressive 52 per cent, which shows the popularity of LEDs all over world. This is because of increasingly affordable pricing. LED lighting is also now available with innovative designs for the commercial space.
Soni believes that the commercial sector will see incremental growth in LED usage. He states that this will be driven by innovations leading to higher efficiencies and better value for money. Gupta agrees and predicts that the future will continue to be rosy for LED lighting in the commercial space. In this segment, the major products are ceiling lights, downlights, battens and panels, for which LED replacements are widely available.
According to Uttamchandani, some of India’s leading lighting players, including Syska, are focused on providing customised LED products for the commercial sector. “Due to the strong government support and aggressive promotion by manufacturers, the smart LED systems segment is growing at both the local and international levels,” he adds.