In the lighting industry, LED is the buzzword you can’t get away from. Everyone’s talking about switching to LED lights, and for a lot of good reasons:
- According to the Department of Energy (DOE), LED lights can use between 25% and 80% less energy than traditional lighting, which means they can last 3-25 times longer.
- As a result of this increased efficiency, the DOE estimates that by 2027, widespread use of LEDs could save more than $30 billion at today’s electricity prices.
- Not only are LED lights more cost-effective and eco-friendly, but they also have a cleaner, simpler aesthetic than traditional lighting that make them more appealing to businesses.
At Exo, we always recommend conducting a thorough structural inspection of these assets before you make the final upgrade to LED. Here’s why:
1. You miss a lot with a visual pole inspection
So often when a company upgrades to LED lighting, an electrical contractor will perform a visual inspection to ensure the lights operate properly and there is no apparent physical damage to the fixtures. While this is a necessary step, it does not take into account the structural health of the lighting poles. Poles are typically the most overlooked part of any facility, but the consequences are dire if one falls.
There’s a lot you could miss by only inspecting your LED light functionality. For example, your poles’ engineering design may not be able to accommodate the heavier weight or the new effective projected area (EPA) of your LED lights, which could result in a pole falling or lights being damaged due to strong winds or a storm.
Whether you are installing new LED light poles or you’re upgrading your existing poles with LED lights, you’ll want to conduct a structural inspection. You never know what could have been missed in the design process or what issues may have occurred over the course of your poles’ lives. There may be base plate cracks that are only getting worse, corrosion causing structural weakness, or many other defects. Catch these problems now, and you won’t have to deal with major headaches down the road.
2. You could be putting people in harm’s way
If your lighting poles are not equipped to handle the weight and EPA of LED lights, they are at high risk for falling, which of course, can cause property damage, human injuries and fatalities.
Unfortunately, pole failures are not as rare as you might think. In August 2017, a light pole fell at Helling Stadium in Ellwood City, PA during a heavy wind storm and injured two people. With wind being such a common culprit of pole failures, it is critical that you inspect your structures to ensure they are meeting the design code, which should include the wind requirements for the area in which they are installed. You can’t assume that just because your lighting pole is standing today that it will continue standing tomorrow, especially if you’ve never had it inspected. Take the time now to make sure the structures are sound before you begin your LED install — you’ll save yourself liability costs, and more importantly, you’ll keep people safe.
3. You’ll save even more money in the long run
One of the primary reasons retailers, utility companies, and school athletic programs are making the switch to LED lighting is the lower cost of running these lights. But, you may never get to realize these cost savings if your lighting pole falls and you have to pay for an expensive replacement. Not to mention what you’ll pay in liability and damages for any injuries or destroyed property.
Through our inspection experience, we’ve found that it typically costs $4,000-$5,000 to replace a lighting pole, while lighting pole repairs tend to cost less than $1,000 for poles with only moderate issues. That’s a pretty big difference when you’re looking at replacing up to half of the poles across your facility—an all-too-common occurrence for companies that prolong lighting pole inspections. Investing in an initial structural inspection is a small price to pay for peace of mind that not only you will get long-term use out of your LED lights, but that their poles are equally set up for a long life.
Make Exo Part of Your LED Lighting Upgrade
Exo provides inspection services for retailers, utility companies, and athletic fields looking to install LED lighting. Our team inspects existing assets several months before the lights are fitted and gives a structural health rating to help you determine when and how to move forward with the new lights. And, if you’re installing brand new poles for your LED lights, we can assess their design, so you can feel confident with their structural integrity.
We’d love to tell you more. Contact us today, and one of our team members will be in touch about how we can support your LED lighting project.