Spotlighting Savings with Lighting

on Monday, March 16, 2015 8:25:00 AM

It was spring. It was Sunday. I was seven years old and it was the first time my dad had ever asked me to help him fix his car. I stood there motionless in the dark garage awaiting my orders. This was an honor – my dad needed my help and I was there to assist. When he said, “Come over here” it jolted me and even though I fumbled at first through the darkened garage, I couldn’t have ran to my father’s side any quicker. But in the end, I was very disappointed. Essentially, my hotly anticipated contribution to helping my dad turned out to be me holding a flashlight for an hour. I recall my bubbling frustration whenever my dad barked at me to move the expletive flashlight. Thank goodness head lamps are now readily available to save a poor seven year old from the same boredom and disappointment of being a flashlight beam coordinator. However, in the grand scheme of things, it did teach me a valuable lesson about the importance of a well-lit work area.

Allow me to dive in and shed some light on what I mean.

Nowadays, it’s not a problem to get ample light in a work area; the problem is the cost of providing it. For instance, let’s look at the cost of lighting a data center or server room. Obviously, going green will save you money with properly applied technologies. An example would be the use of intelligent lighting. This is a motion sensor system which triggers when someone is present in the room. However, there are some draw backs. Imagine the difficulty of rearranging components within a rack, compounded with the fact that you are suddenly in the dark because your movements weren’t exaggerated enough for the sensors to pick up. Or maybe you are fully aware that there is a window of time that is available before the lights turn off. This would now require you to stop what you’re doing and make sure you are in sight of the sensor. It is only then that you begin frantically waving your hands (like a lone survivor on an island trying to attract a passing ship off in the distance) in the attempt to activate the sensor. You decide if motion sensors are right for you!

Another example on how to save money in lighting is low power consumption bulbs, which have a longer life span. You can choose either Light Emitting Diode (LED) or Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) and you really can’t go wrong with these options. These bulbs have a remarkable lifespan, lasting 10-15 times longer, and the energy required to power these items are miniscule compared to the average incandescent light bulbs. Moving to any of the energy efficient bulb options is what begins the domino effect of saving. These bulbs will decrease inventory and replacement costs, which in turn reduces the cost of labor needed to replace them. And it will also save on what is most important, your valuable time and energy.

I could rattle off a wide variety of options for you to choose from to efficiently light the room. In my opinion, how the light is utilized is what truly matters. The black cabinets that Kendall Howard and many other companies manufacture are beautiful. I love the textured black powder coat finish, which crafts a durable surface and an easy to clean surface. The drawback, a standard black cabinet reflects about 8% of light in the area. That being said, the electricity required to properly illuminate almost every nook and cranny goes up exponentially. Now let’s replace the standard black with a light gray or a cream colored cabinet. The light reflecting value (LRV) increases about 70% which decreases the energy required to properly illuminate the area.

Technology is advancing faster and faster each day, requiring companies like us to rapidly change. We could definitely jump on board with the gray/cream colored cabinets. Sure, that would be easy, but if there is one thing I know, it’s that Kendall Howard is a team of innovators. We aren’t the type to sit back and be along for any ride; we would rather lead the way and leave an unmistakable path for everyone else. This of course begs the question, “What’s next”?” What exactly is our next innovative move? Will our cabinets have strategically placed interior LED lights? Should I dismiss the idea of reflective paint on the inside? Is some form of rope light out of the question? Whatever it is, I am excited to see what we’ll come up with to shift that paradigm. What would you like to see? Enlighten us!


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