The Case for LED Lighting: Does It Make a Difference?

LEDs, the acronym for “Light Emitting Diode,” are semiconductor devices that produce light when a current passes through it. Because it is a solid-state lighting device, it utilizes semiconductor materials instead of filaments or neon gas. LED light exists as a tiny chip encapsulated in an epoxy resin enclosure, making them far more durable than traditional incandescent light bulbs or fluorescent tubes. Light is created once particles that carry the current mix together within the semiconductor material. These were first used as indicator lights, but are now used extensively for indoor, outdoor, and ornamental lighting.

How are LEDs Used in Lighting?

LEDs are incorporated into bulbs and fixtures for general lighting applications. Because of their smaller size, they provide unique design opportunities. Many LED solutions look physically similar to the appearance of the traditional light bulb and some light fixtures have LEDs built in as a permanent light source. There are also hybrid approaches where a non-traditional “bulb” or replaceable light source format is used and specially designed for a unique fixture. They offer a tremendous opportunity for innovation in lighting form factors and fit a wider breadth of applications than traditional lighting technologies.

Why Should I Use LEDs?

LEDThe most significant advantage of LED’s when compared to traditional lighting would be lifespan. The average LED lasts between 50,000 to 100,000 hours, 2-4 times longer than the average fluorescent and 40 times longer than an incandescent bulb. This in return reduces maintenance costs.

Unlike fluorescent or incandescent bulbs that burn out, LED’s do not. An LED does not have filaments, metal fatigue, or evaporation of electrical components like the traditional light bulb. Instead of burning out, the brightness of the lamp slowly fades.

LEDs are designed with one purpose: to produce light. Due to their focused designed, engineers have figured out how to squeeze the maximum lumens out of the tiniest amount of power. Every watt you save will save you money on electric bills.

Since LEDs are circuit boards designed to produce light, the result is a light source with almost no heat. In fact, 90% the energy used in a traditional fluorescent light is converted to heat and only 10% is converted to light. With LEDs, the percentages are the exact opposite. Imagine how many little heaters can be eliminated in your building if you get rid of those ballasts and retrofit to LEDs. Your HVAC system will increase its efficiency by as much as 20% as a result of the reduced heat load.

Versatility vs. Durability

We all know that LED’s come in a wide range of colors: red, blue, green, white, etc.  However, it is the color temperature of light – especially white light – that has the most effect on our lives in our businesses and homes. LED light sources are based on the Kelvin (K) system of measurement which ranges from 1,000K (red light waves) to 10,000K (blue light waves).  The standard color temperature for household lighting uses LEDs in the 2,700-3,000K range, offices use 3,500-4,100K and many exterior and warehouse applications can be as high as 5,000K.  The higher the color temperature, the more efficiently LEDs operate but higher color temperatures can sometimes appear too bright or harsh for regular eye comfort.

You have probably heard that sunlight gives you energy, but did you know that light bulbs can work in the same way? Bulbs that emit blue light waves produce serotonin, which makes us focused, awake, and alert. Bulbs that don’t emit blue light waves allow for our brain to produce melatonin, which makes us relaxed, drowsy, and ready for a good night’s sleep.

LEDs are far more durable than traditional incandescent light bulbs or fluorescent tubes, able to withstand shocks, vibrations, and extreme temperatures because they don’t use the same fragile components that other lights use, such as glass and filaments, while generating practically zero heat. This means they are cool to the touch. They can be left on for hours on end without incident or consequences if touched.
Simply put, LEDs greatly reduce safety risks such as burns and fires.

Are LEDs Worth It?

In conclusion, you can save a lot of time and money (a specialty of ecs) in recurring maintenance expenses by investing in LED lighting that will last 2-10 times as long as any other light. Although LED costs tend to be a bit higher on the front end, the long lifespan makes up for this several times over. Purchasing LED lighting is very much an investment, along with the longer lifespan typically comes a longer product guarantee (warranty) and significantly reduced maintenance expenses and hassle.

Managing Your Distribution Center’s Electrical Asset Lifecycle

Electrical Asset Management is the process of managing the performance and longevity of your electrical distribution system in order to maximize safety, uptime, and equipment life in your distribution center.  The goal is to keep your people safe and production lines operational.  By monitoring your electrical system’s health, you can replace components before they fail so you can stay powered, productive, and profitable.

Distribution Centers face tremendous challenges with tracking and maintaining the various assets associated with your complex facility infrastructure.  These massive buildings include numerous types of systems with unique maintenance schedules and protocols.  Modern facilities have robust conveyance and automation systems that need constant attention while older facilities have aging systems that are always breaking down.  Some have both!  It is almost impossible for facility managers and maintenance engineers to keep the complicated production systems working and provide regular maintenance for the building’s electrical system.  However, there is NO production if your electrical system fails.

electrical asset lifecycle

Electrical Asset Lifecycle: Equipment is replaced or repaired prior to End of Life

Electrical Asset Management programs will help you stay operational by keeping your systems operating effectively and safely.  Proven electrical asset management programs will include:

  • Experienced Distribution Center and Warehouse Service Providers who know how to navigate your large facility, production schedules, and limited maintenance windows.
  • Consistent, ongoing, network wide electrical maintenance services including:
  • Arc Flash Analysis for safety
  • Selective Coordination/Breaker Settings for uptime
  • Infrared Scans for proper connections and thermal anomalies
  • Cleaning and Inspecting gear and electrical equipment
  • Exercising and Testing Breakers and Switches
  • Generator and UPS maintenance and testing
  • Medium Voltage maintenance and testing
  • Detailed report for each maintenance program including scope, findings and photos
  • All issues found during the scheduled maintenance programs shall be documented and promptly corrected
  • Guaranteed 24x7x365 Emergency response from qualified electricians
  • Electrical Safety Training including PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and LOTO (Lock-out Tag-out)
  • Leverage technology to monitor electrical system health using predictive analytics to detect and correct issues before failures occur
  • Recommendations for system improvements and replacements to maximize safety and uptime based on system performance and service records
  • Instant, accessible reports and data on your systems with easy to understand at-a-glance metrics keeping you in compliance with ongoing requirements

electrical maintenance

Electrical Power Systems in your warehouse are designed to provide safe, reliable power when properly maintained.  However, years of around the clock use, environmental factors, and lack of maintenance will have an impact on the electrical equipment’s performance.  Improper electrical maintenance can lead to costly, unexpected outages and risk of safety incidents.

Protect What Matters Most – People, Production, and Profit.  Implementing an Electrical Asset Management program will increase your electrical system’s reliability and enhance personnel safety which both contribute to your company’s bottom line.  Let ecs help you develop your customized program that will add value to your organization.  We take the time to understand every inch of your facility to proactively recommend an approach that mitigates equipment failure and unplanned downtime.

For over 90 years ecs, a division of Parsons Electric, has been designing, building, and servicing distribution centers and warehouses, providing electrical, fire, and arc flash services to protect what matters most to you. We service over 150 million square feet of distribution center space across the nation each year providing preventative maintenance, compliance and peace of mind that your people, property, processes, production and profit are in good hands. Our job is your business.


Five Goals To Consider When Upgrading Your Fire Alarm

Imagine this fairly common scenario: Your facility’s fire alarm system has reached the end of its operational life. Constant troubles and service calls for the system are becoming a regular part of your life. Frustration and stress is heightened and the building’s maintenance budget is lowering. If this is the case, it’s probably time to upgrade the system. The first question you need to ask is whether you actually know what those organizational fire protections goals are. If you do not know, now is the time to investigate. If you find that maybe your organization doesn’t have any, then now is definitely the time to create some. The analysis of your organizational fire protection goals will center on the following 5 categories: life safety, property protection, mission continuity, heritage preservation and environmental protection.

  • Life Safety: The main focus surrounding your fire alarm system is providing life safety to the occupants of your building. Early detection is the absolute key to being successful in meeting this goal. Sometimes electronically supervising your fire sprinkler system is enough, while some situations may call for smoke detection, and others may need heat detection.  It is important to discuss your buildings needs with a firefire safety protection engineer to help determine the best methods for detection. Remember, the intent of this life safety goal is to provide early detection and early notification for the occupants of the facility and the responding public fire department. The more capable your system is in accomplishing this, the better. The protection of lives has to be the number one priority for any system upgrade.
  • Property Protection: With a property protection goal, building owners and representatives are seeking to limit the damage to the facility and meet all the insurance company’s requirements. Meeting this goal, property protectionrepresentatives of the building may choose to detect fires of a certain size or rely on the capabilities of an automatic sprinkler system. If the idea is to detect the fire before sprinkler system actuation, then the design of the fire alarm system will require more detection than building code’s minimum requirements for detection. Again, depending on the type of detection and the limits of the size of fire detected, limiting the extent of damage may provide equal benefits for the environment as the life safety design.
  • Mission Continuity: The goal of mission continuity is to retain your organization’s ability to keep business activities intact after a fire. The average building code fire alarm system design will not always meet this goal. The detail of the detection type needed to meet this goal, in a lot of cases, greatly mission continuityexceeds the design used for detection to meet a life safety goal. Fires cause intense and often irreparable amounts of damage. Having the proper types of fire detection gives your building the chance to have a fire stopped in the time necessary to prevent such damage. Not committing to strong mission continuity goal can lead to major costs and significant down time.
  • Heritage Preservation: In some instances an owner/representative could be dealing with a historic building. In these cases, the fire protection required for heritage preservation involves a detailed analysis of what elements inside a facility that need to remain intact following a fire. This will also impact how the installation is completed making sure the new fire alarm system is installed in a way that does not damage the building. Even if your facility does not have any historical significance, your building may have records or documents you will want to protect, often buildings with data centers may use fire suppression systems in order to protect the buildings important data saved on its servers.
  • Environmental Protection: When the goal of environmental protection is primary, the impact a fire could environmental protectionhave on the environment in certain types of facilities trumps other goals. A fire in a paint warehouse could cause an environmental disaster if the water runoff used during firefighting efforts contaminates the water supply. Some buildings were built in an era where the building materials used were found to be poisonous when exposed to fire. Smoke control is a major item to look into and will require meeting with an air handling contractor/engineer to better understand what types of damper, shut downs, and fans are needed to control smoke. A lot of research is required with older buildings when trying to discover what sort of environmental impact could be in play. With such cases, every part of the fire protection design needs to be considered to ensure the fire is contained to the smallest possible area within the facility, and promptly automatically extinguishes the fire.

As it goes with any system in your building, it is always best to avoid the “crisis” type of installs. Without a good plan or the right goals in mind, a last minute install could prove to be quite costly. If someone tells you or you feel it is time to upgrade your system, it is imperative to counsel with a fire protection professional you trust. Navigating through the required codes and meeting the five fire protection goals for your organization (life safety, property protection, mission continuity, heritage preservation and environmental protection) will come easier, and at a better price point with professional help.

If you have more questions about fire alarm or fire protection installations, or want to know more on how to maintain these systems, contact us. We would be happy to discuss your project with you to see how we can help.

Preventative Safety Measures for Arc Flash Hazards

arc flash, electrical services, arc flash dangers An arc flash is a dangerous safety hazard associated with the release of energy caused by an electric arc. An arc flash is an explosion that can cause severe burns, injuries or death depending on the severity. These incidents typically occur in applications above 120 volts and can take place at any time especially when electrical equipment is being inspected or serviced.

Arc flash safety concerns exist when a person is working on or near exposed electric conductors or circuit parts that have not been de-energized and placed in a safe work condition such as lockout tagout.

Safety & Risk Mitigation For Arc Flash Hazards:

  1. An arc flash hazard study should be performed to evaluate accurate labeling of electrical equipment.
  2. To be in compliance with OSHA & NFPA 70E Standard, arc flash labels should be created and placed on all pieces of equipment analyzed as part of an Electrical Safety Program.
  3. Contact ecs to request an Arc Flash quote. We will determine the arc flash boundary detailing the safe distance from equipment and provide arc flash labels as well as a short circuit equipment evaluation to help you evaluate your electrical system. We will also perform an arc flash risk assessment which includes the following elements:
    • Provide an up-front explanation of the requirements of NFPA 70E 2018
    • Survey existing or new electrical systems to collect data necessary to perform a short-circuit analysis, protective device coordination study, and arc flash analysis
    • Develop a plan to correct any repairs, system updates or deficiencies necessary to meet NEC and NFPA guidelines
    • Update building electrical one-line diagrams to depict current system
    • Deliver the completed arc flash risk assessment and install NFPA compliant labels identifying protection levels
    • Optional – Comprehensive three (3) hour training covering OSHA Regulations and NFPA 70E – perfect for anyone working on or near energized electrical equipment

Benefits of an ecs Arc Flash Assessment include:

  • Improved safety for people maintaining your electrical system so they will know the level of risk involved with each piece of equipment
  • Electricians will know what PPE (personal protective equipment) is required to safely work on your system
  • You will have current documentation of your facilities electrical system for future moves, adds and changes


Additional Resources

Download our Arc Flash White Paper

Request an Arc Flash Quote

NFPA 70E Training

Download NFPA 70E Training White Paper

Request an NFPA 70E Training Quote



Advantages of a Preventative Maintenance Program

We understand how important it is to keep your building running safely and efficiently 24/7. An ongoing maintenance program that goes beyond the day-to-day tasks by focusing on predictive and preventive maintenance services make ecs the most efficient service in the industry.

ecs has maintenance programs that focus on electrical systemsfire protection services, and arc flash. We can also develop a custom maintenance program designed for your specific facilities management needs.

ecs recognizes how important it is to keep your facility up and running. Because of this, ecs offers nationwide preventive maintenance services that increase safety, protecting your facility against incidents, lost production time and profits. Some of the services we provide are:

  • Manage, maintain, inspect and service buildings (over 100 million square feet annually)
  • Electrical systems testing and maintenance
  • Fire protection and alarm systems
  • Arc Flash risk assessment

Preventive Maintenance is an important part of a Facility Manager’s responsibilities resulting in:

  • Reduced costs of repairs related to breakdowns and unexpected emergency maintenance
  • Minimize equipment downtime so that your systems keep your building up and running.
  • Help reduce insurance premiums through fewer personnel injuries and property loss claims
  • ecs provides peace of mind by providing 24/7 emergency service for your facility to minimize downtime in the event of an incident

Instituting a preventive maintenance program will have a direct, measurable economic benefit for your business, such as the reduced cost of repairs to equipment and less downtime, especially when your company needs it most.

Let ecs help you develop a preventative maintenance program to fit your needs. 

Contact us to learn more

Download our White Papers



Tom Wellen Appointed to Project Manager at ecs

Earlier this week, ecs welcomed Tom Wellen as a Project Manager. He will be working with our Fire Team and helping with various projects.

Tom currently resides in Double Oak, Texas and will work directly with facilities in that region and will work with our team remotely. He has 25 years of experience in fire protection and was also a volunteer firefighter and EMT basic.

In his free time, he works on home improvement projects and yard work, as well as attend the gun range when he is able.

Welcome to the team, Tom!

Arc Flash Training – Seth & Kevin

The engineering team is continuously improving processes by cross training all members of the team in various aspects of project work. Throughout this summer, there have been many scheduled training sessions for this group from Arc Flash data collection to applying Arc Flash labels on the equipment.

Kevin Shriver, an ecs field technician, was able to walk through the data collection process with Seth, an engineer, to collect data from equipment on site to calculate an Arc Flash Hazard Analysis.

Parsons’ 17th Annual Charity Golf Tournament

Earlier this month, ecs employees participated in Parsons’ 17th Annual Charity Golf Tournament at Oak Marsh Golf Course. The funds raised at this event go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

On site Annual Fire Systems Test Training

In July, Lisa Bohmert joined Andy during parts of the Annual Fire Systems Test. Lisa was able to observe how the testing of smoke and water flow risers show up on the fire panel. She was also able to watch the annual pump house flow test and learn how all the systems tie together. Andy was able to explain how everything works in test mode versus a real life situation.

Additionally he covered information about the differences of wet and dry systems, PIVs, Road Boxes, and how the technicians enter the report information onto an iPad.

Lisa shed some light on her experience, “It was an excellent way to see how the work I do in the office will affect the technicians and end users. I love learning so this made for a great first week!”

Lisa Bohmert appointed Project Coordinator at ecs

Lisa joined us in July as a Project Coordinator for the fire team working on preventative maintenance. She will be coordinating the annual, semi annual and internal pipe inspections while assisting in other tasks as needed.

Lisa has previously worked for an engineering firm for 16 years and also has a few years of Project Coordination under her belt. Lisa offers ecs her skills in communication, organization, and dedication and is committed to supporting our team to the best of her ability.

In her spare time, she enjoys biking, hiking, fishing, and camping.

Welcome to the team, Lisa!