As far as city lighting for urban areas, highways, and suburban neighborhoods goes, LED lighting is certainly one of the best options currently available. Luckily, more and more state governments are beginning to see the overwhelming benefits that switching to LED lighting can bring to citizens and the state as a whole. When considering the change, here are a few things to know about LEDs and how they can bring better illumination to cities, freeways, and even rural locations.
What is LED Lighting?
There are lots of different lighting options currently available on the market. Incandescent bulbs, CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps), halogen, and more are among the more standard options that have been around for a while. LED lighting is a newer option that has cropped up all over.
The first visible-spectrum LED was invented in 1962 by a General Electric employee named Nick Holonyak, Jr. It was red, compared to the previous LED lights that had been invented before that, most of which were emitting light that was not visible to the human eye. Holonyak’s colleague later invented the first yellow LED light and helped to improve the brightness of the red LED. Later that decade, other inventors and companies went to work to create the first usable LED lights.
While LEDs appear to be bulbs, they are actually not. Rather, the Light Emitting Diode (LED) is a semiconductor that is encased in plastic, making it appear like a tiny lightbulb. The plastic protects the diode and helps to focus the light so that energy is conserved. The semiconductors are usually made from gallium, arsenic, and phosphorous, which are stimulated by moving electrons. This stimulation results in the creation of photons, or light particles, that we can see in the form of light emission.
How to Get a State Contract
Because LEDs are proving themselves to be incredibly useful, many local governments are looking to switch streetlights and other city lighting to LEDs. Large urban areas like Detroit have even worked with contractors to replace streetlights with LEDs, leading to brighter-lit streets and more safety.
To get a contract for a city or other area into the LED lighting game, lighting manufacturers work closely with either a state or federal government representative or committee to draw up an attractive proposal and contract. An installation contract will also be consulted and worked with for proper placement and installation of the LEDs. Generally, only LED manufacturers and installers that have American ownership are considered for these contracts, to conform with the US Buy American Act.
Upon agreement of a contract, the government will need to discuss the following services with the manufacturers: preparation for installation, contract claims, presentations, program development, bids, bid protests, resolutions, and proposal developments among others.
Benefits of LED Lighting for Your City
While the process for getting a state contract to switch over to LED lighting on a large scale can be a little complicated, the results are well worth it. LED lighting has so many applications in almost every area of life that it’s impossible to ignore the future they certainly have in our cities and towns. Here are some of the best benefits that introducing LED lights can have for cities.
1. They’re Energy Efficient
This is perhaps the biggest draw to switch to LEDs. With the growing concerns about sustainable resources and overuse of energy, LEDs are an ideal solution that will help cities (and individuals) lower their energy bills immediately. The reason for this is down to the semiconductors used to create the diodes. They can emit light without needing as many electrons compared to incandescent bulbs that rely on the production of heat to create light. All of that heat uses up the bulk of the energy required. LEDs, on the other hand, only lose around 10-20% of energy to heat.
2. They’re Inexpensive
The initial investment to replace all outdoor lights with LED is admittedly quite large. Considering the materials and labor needed, the cost can be well into the millions. However, that return on investment will be seen in just a couple of years as the city (and taxpayers) experience much lower energy bills for keeping those lights on. The savings rack up quite quickly!
3. They’re Long-Lasting
The energy efficiency of LEDs lends itself well to creating a long lifespan for each light. After all, the diodes have to work only a fraction as hard to create much more light than other lighting systems, and their parts don’t degrade as quickly. The lack of heat helps with this. As such, the LEDs will not need to be replaced as often, further lowering costs!
4. They’re Durable
Unlike typical glass-enclosed bulbs, the LEDs are incredibly resilient. They can withstand extremely high or low temperatures, impact, rain, snow, and pretty much anything you can throw at them. This helps with their long lifespan as well, especially when used in areas where they may be exposed to the elements.
5. They’re Attractive
Bringing in LEDs is a surefire way to up the attractiveness of any area. The lights are crisp and clear, either in white or amber, depending on your outdoor needs. They illuminate well without looking dingy, dim, or dull, from Main Street downtown to the cul-de-sac in a suburban neighborhood.