LED Lighting Trends in Commercial Construction

LED Lighting Trends in Commercial Construction

Electricity is the #2 operating expense for most properties. Lowering cost can be a real game changer.

We’re about to commence our second LED exterior lighting package at the Redstone Arsenal and in the process should achieve about a 70% energy savings. Here is what we are seeing across the board: 

There is less new construction, but we see landlords taking more time to investigate energy efficient designs for new projects and existing holdings as well. Smart move. They are creating value on the front end and midway by making properties not only brighter, but lower cost long term.

Lighting technologies are advancing the cause of efficiency. This includes LEDs, induction, wireless controls and more. Coupled with contributions from local utilities, long term efficiency helps offset the upfront costs of retrofitting with these products. Creating and then sustaining energy efficiency is becoming the topic of action in addition to words.

Tenants are voicing their opinion. There is more pressure on property owners and managers to become more energy efficient. In return it brings along some postive press and good will.

Savings are being monitored in real time. New management systems like netLiNK wireless controls have the ability to control individual fixtures and verify the actual savings.

LED lighting is continuing to evolve. Manufacturing is getting more efficient and technology costs continue to burn off. There are still some challenges, especially for parking field lighting. There are now LED lighting applications which provide adequate light levels on taller poles including 35 & 40’ poles.

Induction is becoming a bigger player. Induction is another excellent light source rated for a burn life of about 100,000 hours. It is akin to fluorescent, but with no internal cathodes to fail. It seems that for canopies, garages, wall mounts and lower wattage “area” applications, induction is an excellent light source and typically costs less than LED. However, induction still a new frontier.

What experience have you had with LEDs, natural white and induction? Would you recommend one system over the other? 


  1. We have a project in our portfolio (opened Sept 2011) with 75% of the interior illumination provided by LED. From a photometric standpoint – LEDs don’t offer any advantage over fluorescents. On the other hand, flexible control and integration into other building systems is a clear benefit of LEDs. So, after considering all of the performance, efficiency and control requirements for this project, LED lighting became the obvious choice. http://www.tecinc1.com/lakeland-holden/

    Ten years ago we lit the exterior facade of the Cuyahoga County Courthouse with color-changing LED. The flexibility of programming and the low-maintenance made LED a great choice. http://www.tecinc1.com/ccc/

    LED technology is getting to the point where it can be used effectively for more than accent lighting. We are beginning to at least consider it more often on projects, however it is not right for every situation.

    • Spot on. LEDs are getting to the point of being seriously considered for more than accent applications. To me, as the technology continues to improve in key areas–lumens per watt, rated life, etc.–costs continue to come down. Making LED is becoming a more cost effective, energy efficient option because of lower mounting height applications, i.e. parking garages. And for color changing applications, LEDs are the obvious choice.

      For parking lot lighting, we still find that retailers need to accept lower light levels if using LEDs, like HEB accepting 1.0 minimum. You can then meet that criteria without a bunch of poles/expensive LED fixtures. To meet Publix Target and other 5.0 minimum light levels, LEDs aren’t there yet and we don’t think they will be for quite a while. This said, we just finished a parking field with a payback of 36 months using LEDs.

  2. This is a great article. Most companies are now switching on using energy-efficient lighting as part of their modern construction and design in order to save a lot of money especially on their overhead costs.


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