LEDs feature in a lot of lighting solutions. With commercial interior lighting, spaces such as offices and retail shops greatly benefit from the bright, even light produced by LED lamps as they have a positive effect on productivity while keeping energy use low. And large-scale exterior lighting solutions in parking lots and even stadiums benefit from the energy-saving, low maintenance requirements of LEDs, making them perfect for light poles and high-mast fixtures that require crane truck services and specialty equipment to maintain.
One area in which LEDs are continuing to grow in popularity is the use in roadways and street lights. Among just some of the benefits of LEDs, their bright, wide light pattern creates safer conditions for drivers and pedestrians, and there is even some evidence to suggest they help reduce light pollution.
Find out more about some of the unique benefits of LED street lighting and discover why so many municipalities are switching their roadway lighting systems to a more sustainable solution.
LEDs Reach Full Brightness Instantly
It’s a well known fact that LEDs are bright—it’s one of the reasons they’re such an effective lighting solution for warehouses and office buildings to help maintain productivity and keep workers safe. But this brightness, or more specifically their immediate brightness, is one of the biggest benefits of LED street lighting.
Since LED light is effectively generated by an electric current rather than heating a filament with an incandescent or HID lamp, the light comes to full brightness instantly. This is beneficial for street light fixtures as there is no warm-up time where they might not be generating enough light to safely cover an area, and it also allows the fixtures to be controlled by occupancy sensors where the lights can come on completely as soon as a person enters the area.
LED Street Lights Reduce Light Pollution
According to the BBC, 99% of people living in the United States and Europe live in a light-polluted area. While light pollution refers to the light produced by skyscrapers and large buildings, the lights on streets, roads, and sidewalks also contribute significantly to light pollution in urban areas.
When LEDs were first used in street lamps the cold, bright blue light initially caused more light pollution. This is because the fixtures that first housed the LEDs caused the light to spill out instead of direct and focus the light down which can significantly reduce lighting up the night sky.
Luckily, experts addressed the issue. Thanks to an innovation to redesign the fixture and focus the light pattern to the ground, one of the future-centric benefits of LED street lights is significantly reducing light pollution while still producing that bright, consistent light LEDs are known for.
LEDs Are More Environmentally Friendly
In addition to cutting down on light pollution, LEDs are also widely known for their energy efficiency. In large-scale lighting systems for facilities like warehouses and some commercial buildings, LEDs help significantly to cut down on energy consumption, and this savings increases when applied to the energy consumption of entire communities.
LEDs are also safer for the environment because they don’t contain toxic chemicals like mercury, which are often found in traditional exterior HID lighting such as high-pressure sodium or mercury-vapor lamps.
LED Street Lights Cause Less Glare
When discussing some of the benefits of LEDs, lighting experts will often point to their even, consistent light pattern to efficiently light large rooms and facilities with very high ceilings. But this consistent light pattern is another LED street light benefit as it reduces the amount of glare experienced by motorists.
Because they produce “directional” light — light emitted in one direction, rather than a diffused glow — they can be used to direct light on specific areas. Also, unlike some other exterior light sources, LEDs can easily be dimmed, allowing for more flexibility in controlling light levels or adding additional energy-saving controls onto fixtures.
LED Street Lights Require Less Maintenance
While ambiance and atmosphere are very important things to consider for solutions in restaurant and retail store lighting, it’s equally important to consider accessibility when selecting the right lighting for larger facilities, building exteriors, and street lighting.
Facilities that use incandescents and halogens can all but guarantee higher maintenance costs if their lighting system is difficult to access. And combined with the inherently higher cost of energy usage and operational cost of accessing lighting fixtures with specialty equipment, routine maintenance could end up costing large facilities and communities a lot more than one would expect.
One of the benefits of LED street lights is they require less maintenance than their HID and incandescent counterparts. Because of their long lives (they can last up to 100,000 hours), LEDs often require less maintenance than an HID or incandescent fixture which require a lamp and/or ballast replacement on a fairly consistent basis. This is especially beneficial for street lighting where access to the fixture may be difficult and costly..
The Future of Roads & Streets
LEDs are responsible for breakthrough energy efficiency in many sectors. Whether that’s reducing energy costs in a commercial building or simply helping residents reduce the amount of money normally spent purchasing replacement lamps and utility fees, big or small, LEDs make an impact.
As more and more municipalities adopt them as a lighting solution for public areas, many cities and towns across the country can hope to see a reduction in harmful light pollution and fewer costs maintaining and repairing street lamps, ultimately leading to greater public safety and environmentally friendly practices. With all of the benefits of LED street lights, the future looks bright for this high-efficiency lighting option.
To find out more about LED upgrades or to get in contact with trusted lighting experts in the Chicago Metropolitan Area, contact Imperial Lighting today!