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.

NFPA 70E White Paper

What’s your electrical safety IQ?

Learn why the OSHA-required NFPA 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace is an important part of preventing injury, the potential for death, facility equipment damage, loss of productivity and downtime.

Download our newest white paper here.

For more information on the NFPA and NFPA 70E safety codes and standards, please visit their website,

Lean Design and Construction at the University of Nebraska

ecs Division Manager Tearinie Arhip and Parsons Lean Executive Director Perry Thompson, in partnership with Project Director Dean Woodley of CBRE, visited the University of Nebraska Lincoln at Omaha to discuss Lean culture in the construction industry. The class was comprised of students in their last year within the university’s Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction program.

Focusing on the spirit of Lean culture, Tearinie and Perry explored Lean tools with the class that foster and practice that culture, for example the Parsons Planning System, 8 Wastes, 5 ‘S’ and the Plan-Do-Check-Act mindset. Sprinkling in real-life stories and examples, their goal was to demonstrate Lean tools and Lean culture at work.

“We shared stories of how General Contractors and other trades are asking about our planning system which was developed from the Last Planner System (LPS),” Perry explained.

Tearinie added, “Lean design and construction is developing a continuous improvement culture to maximize value and minimize waste on our projects. It’s important to learn this [culture] now because projects’ scope, budgets, and schedules are continually challenged and lean culture helps address those constraints. If we weren’t utilizing these principles, we’d fall behind.”

“The excitement of these future leaders showed how Lean practices can change how construction is done,” Perry continued. Thank you to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and Dr. Stuart Berstein’s class for welcoming Parsons and for sharing their passion for construction. Thank you to Dean Woodley for partnering with us on this endeavor to share Lean culture and principles.

University of Nebraska Lincoln at Omaha





Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction programLean Design and Construction at the University of Nebraska