On a recent visit to GE Lighting’s Nela Park research center in Cleveland, Government Product News chatted with several LED lighting experts about technology trends in the government market. One of the experts, Charles Knittel (photo below, at right), outlined how new technology is meeting the needs of cities’ street and facility lighting. Knittel is General Manager-LED Technology Americas. Here are Knittel’s views.

GPN: What are some benefits of LED lighting in government facilities?

Charles Knittel: LED replacement bulbs offer a good cost of light story. Customers may pay a little bit more up front for an LED product that will last for 10 or 15 years, which is a long time before a replacement is needed. In an office setting, you can get a similar return on investment. So instead of having linear fluorescent tube lights for downlight and ambient lighting, an LED system can replace those old units with the same or better look and feel. You’ll have a smoother light distribution with LEDs. Typically, governments can be successful with LEDs in office lighting and other interior lighting. LEDs offer a value proposition where governments can save on energy costs as well as replacement costs.

GPN: Do you have any advice for government administrators on what they need to consider as they plan a lighting retrofit for street/facility lighting? What should they do? When is it time to do a lighting upgrade?

CK: Anyone with that responsibility should determine what fixtures they have now, how much energy they are using, what their electric service and lighting maintenance costs them and what they are paying for lighting upgrades and service now. We have a lot of information on our site, including case studies, tips on where to get started and calculators. The place to start is to do an assessment of what is the organization’s lighting system today and how much energy is the organization using today. You can compare systems with the various tools we offer to determine what an LED solution would save in costs and energy. My advice: Look at the total cost of ownership. An LED solution will possibly cost you a little more upfront than a traditional lighting product will, but it will last significantly longer, and you will use less energy over the life of the fixture.

GPN: Are LED lighting systems becoming more efficient?

CK: One example to consider would be a ceiling fixture where you want the same light output all the time. Traditional technology would be a 65-watt halogen downlight. In an LED setup, you probably have a 12-watt LED downlight, delivering the same amount of light output and using one-sixth the power.

LED technology continues to improve. In 6 months or a year, we will be able to deliver a 9- or 10-watt LED downlight putting out the same amount of illumination on the workspace. LED device manufacturers foresee over the next 5 to 7 years, that there will be a continuing trend of lumens per watt increasing every year. LED systems already have the highest lumens per watt compared to traditional technologies. They are not always the lowest cost, but they offer the highest efficiencies today. Everyday, we are integrating the most efficient LED chips into our systems to deliver energy savings to the customer.

Thank you, Charles Knittel, for the information.

The video discusses GE Lighting’s line of LED replacement lamps and provides information on the firm’s online replacement tool that simplifies lamp selection.


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