Commercial building exteriors typically rely on a variation of wall light or wall pack fixtures for illumination. These wall mounted fixtures are primarily tasked with providing a safe, secure exterior environment. Before LED lighting was available for general usage, commercial wall light fixtures relied on light source technology such as high pressure sodium (HPS), metal halide (MH), incandescent and fluorescent. Today most types of wall lights are available in LED which has resolved the common wall light issues of the past.
Typical issues with pre-LED wall light technology included:
- HPS, MH and some fluorescent fixtures typically are not instant on, so in the event of a power outage, the facility may be in the dark for several minutes until the lights come on again.
- HPS lamps produce a yellow/orange light which is not suitable for accurately identifying colours, making them unsuitable for accurate colour rendering by security cameras.
- MH lamps produce more of a white light than HPS, however they more costly and have a lower operating life, an expense which makes them impractical.
- Depending on the operation times, HPS and MH lamps typically need to be replaced every 1 to 3 years, which is an expensive undertaking, especially if they are in hard to reach locations that require a lift or special equipment to access.
- MH and HPS lamps use significantly more energy than fluorescent or LED light sources, so while the initial cost might be cheaper, the long term cost is higher.
- MH and HPS lamps are quite sensitive to vibration and other environmental factors. The use of heavy equipment nearby or heavy temperature fluctuations on a consistent basis will negatively impact their lifespan.
- Fluorescent lamps provided a better option in that they are more energy efficient and last longer, but are limited in their light colour and output. They also contain hazardous materials which makes disposal an environmental problem.
Given the above issues, high pressure sodium lamps remained the most practical answer for exterior wall lights, until LED wall packs became widely available. As the LED technology improved, they solved a lot of the common wall pack problems, making LEDs hard to argue with.
10 Key LED Wall Light Advantages
- Long lasting – can last for than 100,000 hours or 10 years
- Energy savings – reduce energy usage by as much as 90%
- Colour rendition – produce a near white light allowing accurate colour display
- Low maintenance – no bulbs to replace and long life make for low maintenance
- Reliable – limited impact from harsh environment and vibration
- More directional – LED light can be directed to where light is needed
- Instant on capability – no need for warm up time, makes them great for motion sensors
- Cold Resistant – LEDs can operate in any environment and are moisture resistant
- Environmentally friendly – LEDs have no toxic chemicals and are easy to dispose of
- Rebate ready – many rebates are available to offset the capital cost of LED replacements
Today as many commercial buildings evaluate re-lamping, retrofitting or replacing their existing wall light fixtures, they are increasingly choosing to replace their old fixtures with LEDs. In the beginning of the LED era, being an early adopter meant having to pay high prices and wait a long time for the ROI to make sense. Today, as the technology improves, LED wall packs are available in a wide range of sizes and options, the costs are coming down and the business case is undeniable.
Are you in the process of evaluating a wall pack re-lamp, retrofit or replacement? No matter where you are in the process, RAB Design can help. If you have not received it already, download our eBook covering the various types of wall lights and how to select the right one for your project. Click on the button below to get the eBook.