The benefits of switching to LEDs have been well documented in recent years. Facilities managers, tasked with reducing energy costs as well as carbon emissions, have opted to use LED luminaires – often retrospectively – and as a result have been able to enjoy significant savings. Applelec managing director Ian Drinkwater discusses how the latest generation of LEDs is driving innovation forward.
It is well documented that LED lighting systems offer significant benefits compared with traditional schemes, generating less heat and providing up to 50,000 hours of illumination per luminaire, leading to a longer lifespan as well as lower maintenance costs and reduced CO2 emissions. On average, LED luminaires use around 75% less energy than traditional sources, while reducing carbon emissions by around a third.
Many of the early snags of the first generation of LED systems – a ‘cold’, dimmer light, the higher cost of replacement luminaires and so on – have now been overcome. Technological advances are rapidly driving development forward, with the latest LED modules boasting reduced power consumption and carbon emissions while emitting the highest quality light.
What’s more, these advances are changing the way we use lighting throughout buildings as a whole. Inspired by research and development, lighting is no longer confined to use in ceiling pendants and wall lights. Increasingly, designers are incorporating illumination into fixtures and fittings to draw attention to important areas such as reception desks and information areas, while attractive, decorative wall panels add considerable interest.
Large-format lightboxes are used to display information or advertising messages, or alternatively to create a centrepiece attraction which is both stunning to look at and economical to run.
Technology in practice
The first direct arena in Leeds is one example of how new-generation LED technology has been utilised to produce a stunning showpiece which was both easy to install and is cost-effective to power.
Applelec supported corporate branding specialists Nebula Creative in the design and installation of two rock ‘n’ roll lightboxes for the arena’s VIP bar, renamed the Black and White Lounge, pairing SloanLED PosterBOX 3 LED modules with a textile framing system.
The display features around 240 classic album covers from artists who have played the venue, such as Robbie Williams, Lionel Richie and JLS, since it opened in September 2013. The covers have been incorporated into two large-format lightboxes – one almost 10 metres long and the second just under five metres long – both with a textile frame.
Using LED tape or ribbon for such a scheme would be time-consuming to fit. However, using the PosterBOX 3 modules, the feature was assembled quickly and easily.
High brightness illumination is achieved across a width of up to three metres using the SloanLED PosterBOX 3 system, with just two rows of facing modules are required to provide light. In addition, the product significantly reduces the installation time required to populate a lightbox in comparison to the use of LED tape or ribbon.
The result is an eye-catching, bright and evenly lit feature which has transformed one of the arena’s most vital areas, yet was easy to fit with modules along just the top and bottom edges of the frame. The installation is so bright it is even noticeable outside the venue, through the windows of the VIP bar.
Benefits are about more than just looks. Using 56 PosterBOX 3 modules, the entire system is extremely cost-effective, drawing just 756.8W. This compares favourably with alternative equivalent systems, with a similar LED tape installation using 14.4W tape using approximately 2344W – and a fluorescent scheme using an estimated 86% more energy than the PosterBOX 3 modules.
As products develop, the potential for use increases. The PosterBOX3, for example, is impressively bright yet slim, with the ability to fit into depths as shallow as 50mm for a single-sided application. Ease of installation is another bonus – the modules are available with a ‘peel and stick’ option as well as regular mechanical fastenings, eliminating the possibility of tape becoming unstuck.
The modules are compact enough to fit into spaces where previously only LED ribbon systems could go, yet provide better performance in terms of luminance, energy efficiency and longevity. A module spacer is incorporated into the design, eliminating the need for measuring and consequently reducing the installation time.
What’s more, LED ribbon carries both a higher failure rate potential and a greater heat output than the PosterBOX 3 modules, as well as requiring a larger number of drivers for powering purposes.
With technology moving on apace, many manufacturers of LED luminaires still do not offer warranties beyond one or two years. While many system manufacturers are still not committing to longer than a couple of years, some such as SloanLED are underlining their confidence in the reliability and longevity of their products by offering a five-year warranty.
Applelec is a trade supplier and manufacturer of signs, displays and lighting, based in Bradford, West Yorkshire. In January, it became an official UK distributor for SloanLED systems, including PosterBOX 3 modules. Applelec has used SloanLED systems within fabricated signage and lettering for many years and as a result, has a comprehensive understanding of the products and how to get the best from them. For more, please go to www.applelec.co.uk.