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Looking to LED

Operators interested in less upkeep and lower energy costs should pay attention to the latest lighting technology.

September 28, 2012
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It is no coincidence that the first step of creation was “Let there be light.” No matter how amazing the creation, it will never impress or inspire if it is cloaked in impenetrable darkness. When it comes to carwashing, the prettiest and most up-to-date tunnels and bays will still sit empty if they lack proper lighting.

Thankfully, the advent of LED lighting has made it easy for operators to brighten up their businesses. These new fixtures efficiently bring light to tunnels, parking lots and vending areas. John Page, senior vice president of sales with LSI Industries Inc., recently answered all of PC&D’s questions about LED technology and its uses.

Phillip Lawless: How common has LED lighting become in retail and industrial settings today?

John Page: Early adapters have jumped on LED because of its many benefits and the fact that it is an exciting new lighting innovation. As the cost of LEDs has come down, and will surely continue to come down, more and more people are anxious to make it their light source of choice.

Phillip Lawless: In your experience, are many businesses interested in updating to LED, or is it a tough sale?

John Page: There is a lot of interest, but there are some who still have an aversion to the price. That said, as people become more educated on LEDs and see LED lighting at work, it’s not a hard sale. In addition, there are some great rebates available to further incentivize people to adopt LED now.

Phillip Lawless: What are some reasons that businesses are choosing to change out older light fixtures for LED fixtures?

John Page: There are many reasons to move to LED light fixtures.

  • Longer life – The life span of an LED fixture is considerably longer than a traditional light source — up to 100,000 hours or five to 10 times longer. 
  • Energy efficiency – LED is extremely energy efficient, with energy savings of up to 80 percent depending upon the application. 
  • Performance and color – LED delivers a crisp, white light which makes overall colors appear much brighter, truer and cleaner. 
  • Enhanced security – LEDs interact very well with security cameras which is a plus in security and safety.
  • Environmentally friendly – LEDs contain no mercury or lead, thus they have no negative impact on the environment, which is very important to the carwash market.
  • Reduced maintenance costs – Given their long life, maintenance costs are dramatically reduced because you aren’t changing lamps or ballasts on a regular basis.

Phillip Lawless: How can LED lighting be customized for the different areas inside and outside of a carwash?

John Page: When looking at LED lighting, it’s important to understand that “one size does not fit all.” It’s critical to understand the application and task being done so you can take care to match the LED lighting fixture accordingly. At the carwash you want to make sure you make cars look their cleanest, especially at the end of the wash. From a marketing perspective, LED lighting makes the triple foam in the carwash really pop.

Phillip Lawless: Are there any areas of the typical carwash, c-store and gas station that can’t be lit using LED fixtures? If so, what are they?

John Page: Not really … again you want to be careful to match the LED product with the environment and application in which it will be used.

Phillip Lawless: What types of upkeep tasks are required with LED lighting?

John Page: As with any equipment used in the carwash, including the light fixtures, extra care should be exercised to ensure that caustic chemicals do not cause damage to them. Regular wash down is really important.

Phillip Lawless: What is the typical lifespan of LED fixtures? Is it comparable to older fixtures?

John Page: Compared to traditional, older fixtures, LED fixtures can last up to 100,000 hrs. — or when burning 12 hours a day, 365 days a year, that translates to about 23 years.

Phillip Lawless: Is there anything else owners interested in LED lighting should know?

John Page: Because of the dynamics of the technology, you want to be sure you are working with a solid lighting partner. There are lots of companies selling LED fixtures — not many who are actually designing, developing and manufacturing LED fixtures. At LSI, we have 20-plus years’ experience in LED technology and 35-plus years’ experience as a lighting fixture manufacturer. 

We are a vertically integrated manufacturer, which means you can be confident that the fixture we design can be manufactured and will function as intended. We run all of our LED fixtures through rigorous testing — in our certified chambers as well as with outside agencies to ensure they perform. We do not believe that “one size fits all.” Each market has a unique set of needs to best light their sites. We offer a wide range of LED solutions so a customer can build an integrated system that best fits his or her needs. We are proud to be a U.S. manufacturer with manufacturing facilities strategically located throughout North America.