Like Schools, Hospitals are stressed for funds. Hospital wards, operation theaters, hallways, parking lots need round the clock, good quality illumination. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are needed to fund the lighting electricity bills alone.
LED lights – A leap ahead
There are a multitude of reasons why hospitals worldwide are investing in energy efficient lighting. Energy efficient lighting devices provide hospitals with innovative technological solutions to
- Increase efficiency
- Improve safety
- Improve lighting levels
- Increase the comfort of patients and employees alike
- Reduce the use of mercury in the healthcare facility
- Reduce air conditioning costs
- ‘Green’ their operations
- Cut down on maintenance costs and costly facility downtime
- Get the benefit of tax deductions by taking advantage of The Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction (CBTD) created under the Energy Policy Act of 2005
- Improve cash flows
Light for MRI facilities
Lighting is extremely important for an MRI facility. Besides providing basic illumination levels for operating the instruments, innovative lighting solutions and backlit displays can help reduce patient stress.
Uptime is extremely important for costly MRI facilities. The replacement and maintenance time of the facility must be reduced as much as possible so that expensive capital instruments have less idle time. With an aging population and the increasing desire of doctors to nail the causative reason through non invasive MRI techniques the pressure on MRI facilities are increasing. Less downtime directly translates to higher productivity coupled with higher physician and patient satisfaction.
MRI facilities require nonferrous lights. Though the tungsten filament of incandescent bulbs is non-ferrous in nature even minute impurities are affected by the high intensity magnetic field of an MRI facility. This results in frequent bulb replacements. The life of a standard incandescent bulb may be reduced to as low as 700 hours in an MRI suite. Fluorescent light are not the solution either as these lights may generate noise artifacts in scans.
Hospital administrations do not like frequent maintenance closures not only because it reduces the availability of the system for much needed patient scans but also because there may be safety issues associated with the presence of iron containing maintenance equipment in a high magnetic field environment.
Light Emitting Diode based lighting devices are a bonus for MRI facilities. These lights are virtually unaffected by magnetic fields, produce excellent quality light and significantly reduce downtime. As far as cost aspects are concerned – these lights are expensive but pay for themselves within a year and a half on the back of energy savings lower maintenance costs alone. The lower facility downtime, savings on maintenance and increased productivity are an added bonus.
Ultrasound and CT scan rooms
Besides the characteristics mentioned above LED tubes and bulbs are dimmable making them ideal for CT scan and ultrasound rooms where dimming may be needed for better observation and patient comfort. Since these lights power on and achieve full brightness instantly a hospital may even choose non dimmable lights. To lower light levels, some of the lights can be switched off instead of using a dimmer circuit.
Energy savings in hospitals with LED luminaries
A 9 watt LED light can replace a 65 watt incandescent bulb. These lights also last much longer. The operating costs of an LED light bulb are thus only about 10% of an incandescent bulb.
Hallways and General Lighting
These lights are switched on 24 X 7 and deliver the best returns on investment. The payback period for these lights can be less than a year.
Parking lots and outdoor areas
The Sarasota Memorial hospital in Florida replaced 250-watt metal halide lights in its parking lot with 75-watt LED lights. Energy savings per fixture work out to 175 watts per hour. Each light in the parking area will thus save close to $65 per year in energy costs alone. With an expected life of 10 years the hospital expects considerable savings in maintenance and replacement costs too!
LED street lights tolerate extremes of temperatures better than fluorescent lights. They switch on instantly and light output remains unaffected by low temperatures. LED lamps are an excellent choice for accent lighting and signage applications too.
Night light fixtures/ Step lighting in patient rooms
Each patient room has night light fixtures. A 15 watt incandescent light is needed for these fixtures. The same job can be accomplished by a 2 watt LED light! Small night lights are also needed to guide the patients to rest rooms. For a three hundred patient room hospital this equates with a $ 150 saving from night light fixtures alone.
Fluorescent lights are too big to be used in these fixtures and incandescent bulbs are too unreliable. Given the short lifespan of incandescent bulbs it is estimated that on average 2 bulbs may need replacement every day – an unwanted headache for any hospital manager.
Down lights and Sconces
The focused light produced by LED luminaries make them perfect for illuminating corners and niches.
Operating Room/ Examination room Lights
LED bulbs and tubes deliver high quality light but do not generate high temperatures. Body tissue can be seen in its natural colors, and there is no risk of drying of tissue. The lights therefore make the surgeons work easier and are safer for the patient.
Another advantage is that instead of a single point light source light is produced by multiple points. This results in fewer shadows and allows the physician to comfortably examine the patient. LED surgical lights can deliver light intensity of 150,000 lux. The noon day sun by contrast is only 100,000 lux bright. These lights therefore produce 50% more light than noon day sun without the heat.
Removal of heat from surgical lights increases both patient and doctor comfort and reduces air conditioning requirements. It is also not necessary for support staff to wear heavy garments to fight back the chill induced by the air conditioner.
Hospital administrations and surgeons are particularly impressed by the almost fail safe characteristics of these lights. Two LED cluster based lights can replace three halogen lights and given the long life, there is almost no risk of losing a light in the middle of a critical procedure.
Christ hospital, Cincinnati has replaced 40 watt incandescent lights in Exit signs with LED bulbs that use barely 2 watts! An added attraction is that these long life bulbs have almost a decade of productive life and the hospital reduces the headache of replacement and the chances of a fire safety citation due to a burned out bulb.
Besides the applications mentioned above eco-friendly LED lamps have been used by enterprising lighting designers for Task lighting, wall wash application and even in lobbies.
Eliminating Mercury from hospitals
AIA Guidelines for the Design and Construction of Hospital and Health Care Facilities recommend the elimination of mercury from light fixtures. Lights based on LED technology are thus an economically viable and socially responsible alternate to incandescent bulbs, HID lights and fluorescent bulbs and tubes for healthcare facilities.
Mercury in dental fillings has been replaced by better and safer ceramic fillings and mercury containing sphygmomanometers by aneroid devices. There is little wisdom in risking patient exposure to mercury by using fluorescent lights.
A Store Manager’s Delight
LED devices are small in size. Moreover given their extremely long lifespan far fewer lights need to be stored. A store manager would also love the idea of a light that will not shatter like other glass lights do. Less storage costs, less breakage, more space for other supplies and with our free delivery option even the transportation costs can become a thing of the past.
Taking advantage of “The Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction (CBTD)”
This is a provision in tax laws that are aimed to help reduce the onetime cost of investing in energy efficient lighting technologies besides other energy saving measures. The cost of improving energy efficiency of a building can be offset under this scheme. Investment in upgrading the lighting infrastructure can be offset under the CBTD subject to a cap of $ 0.6/ square feet.
For a 100,000 square feet facility it works out to $60,000 in tax write-offs. Any expenditure above this can be capitalized and deducted like other expenses. The EISA (Energy Independence Act) of 2007 extended the expiration date of CBTD to projects completed before January 1, 2014.
Future perfect lights
Hospitals that invest in energy saving Light Emitting Diode based lights are poised to benefit from new research in communication technology. Research is afoot to achieve wireless networking with the help of these lights. This is of great importance in a hospital environment where the use of radio frequencies in limited.
Given the benefits of the LED lighting technology it is no surprise that a variety of LED lighting technology devices are being adopted by progressive hospitals at a rapid pace. In select applications like surgical lights LED based lights are already market leaders in Europe with a 60% market share. Millennium Research Group estimates that as early as 2014 LED based surgical lights will have 100% of the surgical light market.
Smart hospital managements have seized this opportunity to upgrade the hospital’s infrastructure. Given their many benefits, Moorfield Eye hospital and Velan Hospital in India are investing in this futuristic lighting technology. In United States Florida Hospital, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Muskogee Community Hospital (MCH), Oklahoma and LBJ hospital are some of the trendsetters. Besides eliminating mercury from lighting devices and reducing maintenance and energy costs, these innovative hospitals have ensured patient safety and safeguarded their lighting systems from power fluctuations in emergency situations.