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LED Luminaires Help Cool Costs
Innovative Cold Storage Enterprises consumes 76 percent less energy

By Kevin Orth | April, 2010 | Sustainable Facility Magazine

Aside from labor, the most significant cost of operating a cold storage facility is the expense associated with creating a cool environment. A refrigerated or frozen warehouse's energy bill can vary by thousands or tens of thousands of dollars each month, making the need to control energy costs and increase efficiencies critical.

Cold storage facilities require substantial amounts of electricity to maintain the proper temperatures necessary for preserving foods and beverages. In fact, electricity costs can comprise more than 25 percent of a cold storage building's ongoing operating costs.

Conventional lighting and refrigeration systems typically work against each other: lighting systems generate heat, which the refrigeration system needs to remove. In addition, lower temperatures reduce the efficacy of some lighting systems. Therefore, more power is required to generate the desired illumination, which in turn increases the load on the refrigeration system.

LIGHTING TECHNOLOGY COMPARISON LED luminaires can provide significant advantages over fluorescent and high intensity discharge (HID) solutions in cold storage environments.

Using LED lighting in a cold storage environment helps to ensure that the lighting doesn't work against the nature of the facility.  Photo courtesy of BetaLED. Each conventional lighting technology creates performance compromises when performing in a refrigerated environment. Fluorescent lighting systems create heat and typically lose a substantial amount of light output in cold temperature environments. The heat created by the lighting system needs to be removed and requires additional refrigeration capacity and power consumption.

HID technology such as metal halide creates a more substantial amount of heat, requiring even more refrigeration capacity and power consumption.

LED luminaires, however, provide benefits when used in cold storage environments; they create minimal heat, which translates to very low refrigeration loads, greatly reduced lumen depreciation and increased light output.

In contrast to HID lighting options, LED lighting actually LED technology combined with cold storage applications offer numerous and significant advantages, including: Thermal load reduction;  Instant-on capabilities; Energy efficiency and low-maintenance benefits LEDS AT WORK: INNOVATIVE COLD STORAGE ENTERPRISES. When it was time for a San Diego, Calif.-based cold-storage company to expand, the owners decided to seek LEED Gold certification.

Among the ways they decided to save energy inside this new refrigerated storage warehouse was to install LED lighting.

Though LED lighting can come with higher upfront costs, the ROI is often very quick in cold storage environments. Photo courtesy of BetaLED. Officials with Innovative Cold Storage Enterprises, Inc. (ICE) were initially going to use 321 traditional HID lights that consumed approximately 465 system Watts each. Instead, they opted for LED luminaires, which include 230 LED lights at 86 system Watts each and another 49 LED lights at 321 system Watts each.

The warehouse lighting consumed 76 percent less energy using LED luminaires instead of the originally planned HID lights. Additionally, the LED lights provide an estimated 150,000 maintenance-free hours of operation in the minus 20 degree Celsius refrigerated warehouse, with lumen maintenance of greater than 70 percent. The longer service life is particularly useful in this application, where replacing lights would otherwise be laborious and expensive because of the 60-foot ceilings.

As the number of lighting options grows, it becomes even more important to make the best pairing of lighting and facility type. Photo courtesy of BetaLED. “Utilizing the (BetaLED) LED lights was a final touch to an already phenomenal project concerning energy savings. We sought to pursue energy efficiency in every facet, as well as cutting edge technology, which is clearly demonstrated in the application of these industrial LEDs,” said Phoebe Hamann, green building specialist, LEED AP, for Hamman Construction, which handled the warehouse project.

In all, the various energy-saving steps taken during construction mean the 132,000-square-foot warehouse costs half as much to operate as the old ICE facility, yet it can hold four times more product.

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