Solar LED lighting systems are extremely low maintenance, which makes it a popular lighting choice for businesses looking to save money on energy and installation fees. You may be wondering:
Why don’t solar lighting systems require the same kind of maintenance that on-grid electric lights do?
This may seem obvious, but there is more to location than meets the eye. Going solar means that you are optimizing your energy efficiency, but reducing Knowing where you plan to place your solar fixture is integral to the installation and system process. When you begin to plan your solar lighting project, the exact address and township located where you are placing the system will inform what kind of power system is required for your location. And yes - solar lighting will work even in the rainiest and snowiest of cities like Seattle and Wisconsin.
Timing is everything - especially when it comes to solar lighting. Before one begins budgeting money for a solar system, know how long the lights should be running for. The duration of time a lighting fixture is set to turn is a factor taken into consideration when experts choose how powerful a system will be. Here's a quick tip: for pedestrian lighting appliations, consider using motion sensors. At Ember LED, we embed motion sensors into our eSHINE Street and eSHINE Area fixtures to optimize lighting efficiency and provide the most powerful light for as long as necessary, whenever it is necessary.
Without experiencing Solar LED, it may be surprising how a low wattage light can be as bright and powerful as they are. For example: at 50 watts, Ember LED's eSHINE area fixture will emit over 5000 Lumens. In order to assess how much light and power an application requires, it is good to consult a Solar LED lighting expert. Check out Ember's North American Agents map in the upper right hand corner of the page to find a sales representative by state, or call us directly at 201 228 0880 so we can find out more about a project's details. See our blog post on over-lighting to learn about the dangers of using overly bright fixtures.
There are a few things to consider when it comes to determining how high the fixtures should be when one is not retrofitting existing poles. When a bright Solar LED fixture is placed close to the ground, strong light will be focused in a central location. However, when placed at 20-30 feet above the ground, that same fixture will distribute light evenly over a large distance. Be sure to choose a lower wattage fixture when placing a light at a lower height to reduce the amount of concentrated light in one area and ensure environmental uniformity. Check out Ember's Blog post on environmental lighting to learn about why uniformity is integral to maintain circadian rhythms!
What is the purpose of the Solar LED fixture? Is the project for a pathway, park or playground? It's important to choose a fixture specific to the project's needs. Ember LED's Pathway fixture is the perfect option for a park or sidewalk, whereas the eSHINE Area or eSHINE Street fixture is more appropriate for roads and parking lots.
When you are looking to install solar LED lighting systems in your parking lot, park or roadway, it's important to ensure that they are not only weather resistant, but vandal resistant. Here are the three ways Ember LED's solar lighting systems will protect and provide security for your solar LED lighting investment:
1. START HIGH
It is easier to vandalize products and materials when they are placed at eye-level, so it's a good idea to place your solar panels and battery boxes at 10 feet or higher to discourage vandals and delinquents from causing fixture damage. This will make your fixtures difficult, if not impossible, to reach by hand or object.
2. RESISTANT MATERIALS
Use products that are built with vandal proof materials. A good example of such a system is Ember LED's eSHINE shelter light that comes equipped with OGE (Optical Grade Epoxy) for optimal vandal resistance. Additionally, Ember LED's systems are made with commercial and architectural quality die-cast aluminum with a stainless steel finish, allowing our systems to withstand severe weather and attempts of defacement.
3. MOTION SECURITY
Installing motion sensors to your lights will deter vandals from abusing your fixtures or any other buildings and objects in the surrounding area. Creating uniform, well-lit sites where persons can easily see and be seen will reduce the risk of your panels, poles or battery boxes becoming damaged. Ember LED's fixtures come with a motion sensor option for applications that do not require light all night, every night.
WATCH THIS EPIC VIDEO to see just how vandal resistant Ember LED's solar systems are:
GREEN BUILDING means structuring commercial buildings with resources that are environmentally sustainable and energy efficient. Nowadays, there are certain requirements for new buildings. LEED certification is offered as an inventive to those wishing to pursue a more sustainable path to new buildings, but what exactly is a Green Building and what are some of the changes you'll have to make if you decide to "Go Green?"
To answer these questions and more, Ember LED has shared some of the most valuable resources from throughout the web. The videos, articles and infographics you see below are some of the best overviews we've found to give you a more thorough understanding of what it means to be a responsible architect, designer and specifier.
GREEN BUILDINGS GET THE GREEN LIGHT: INFOGRAPHIC
For more helpful articles and tips, read our blog posts about the efficiencies of solar lighting, HERE.
FOR THOSE WITH SMALLER, NARROWER LOTS...
a solar LED Street or Flood light may be the perfect solution for your space. Street lights and Flood lights such as Ember LED's eShine Street and eShine Flood fixtures provide even distribution for roadways and parking lots. You can choose from our standard or our wide distribution depending on the type of space you may be looking to light. The eShine Street and Flood fixtures meet almost all lighting standards for parking lot applications and is the ideal option when integrated with our aesthetically sleek solar ePoles.
FOR THOSE WITH A LARGE LOTS AND BIG CARS...
perhaps an Area fixture is what you are seeking. With a Type 4 distribution, this fixture provides semicircular, evenly distributed light meant for parking lots and sides of businesses. Check out our case studies from Colby College to gain insight into how these fixtures have served our previous clients.
FOR THOSE IN THE SUN WHO PREFER THE SHADE...
... you may want to look at Ember LED's eShine Canopy fixture. If your parking lot is in a location with high temperatures, you may want to light your new parking lot with Canopy system. These lights are perfect for places that have existing canopies to shade cars during the daytime. By providing uniform, consistent and long-lasting light throughout the night, cars beneath canopies and canopy solar lights will remain cool and well-lit all year round.
More people are choosing to light their sites, streets and sidewalks with solar LED technology. Why? Because it saves time, money and energy! Here are the 5 main ways you cam save when you choose to light your site with solar technology:
1. ZERO INFRASTRUCTURE.
When you choose to light your new sign, roadway or street with solar LED technology, you are eliminating the costs that come with expensive wiring, digging, trenching and other infrastructure requirements. Not only does this eliminate the money spent on permits and labor, it eliminates installation time, too! Ember LED's solar bollard fixtures can be installed in as little as three hours.
2. LOW MAINTENANCE.
Solar LED lights are guaranteed to last. Unlike HID lights that require frequent replacements and yearly maintenance fees, Ember LEDs solar panels don't need your constant attention and concern. You can rely on Ember LED's solar system stability to function in rain, snow and wind without worrying about when you'll need to replace a fixture or panel. At Ember Led, we offer a 20 year warrantee on our solar panels, and our LED lights last over 150,000 hours. So you can forget about the added fees of maintenance and repair. We've got you covered.
3. NO ELECTRICITY COSTS.
Electricity costs vary from location to location. In 2011, NPR wrote that the average price persons pay in the U.S. for electricity comes to about 12 cents per kilowatt-hour, and households average about 908 kilowatts-hour each month. For commercial property owners, this might indicate thousands of dollars alone each month to light a property or site. However, when you choose solar LED lighting technology, there is NO monthly fee! Once installed, Ember LED's panels will work off-grid wherever necessary, as long as necessary, 365 days each year. There are no electricity fees because solar systems are powered entirely by the sun!
No wires? No grid? No problem! Solar technology is the perfect solution for contractors, engineers, architects and designers looking to light outdoor sites, signs, roadways, parking lots and pathways. Because solar technology works by harnessing power solely from the sun, there is NO NEED for electrical wiring! So you can say "goodbye" to costs associated with electric lighting like trenching, digging and conduit, and "hello" to savings on time, energy and money.
HOW IT WORKS
As the sun shines on solar panels throughout the daytime, sunshine rays are stored in battery boxes housed by eSHINE solar poles. Once the batteries are charged, the power runs directly off of the batteries through a converter. (And yes, the batteries charge on cloudy days, too!) Each system made by Ember LED is made in-house from project to project. This means our solar systems are custom made only with the highest quality industrial and architectural grade elements and materials. Ember LED has separated locations with different peak-sun-hours into 12 separate zones to ensure that our lights, poles and panels work as long and as powerful as necessary, 365 days each year.
WHERE IT IS POSSIBLE
Realistically, solar technology can work anywhere! Although solar panels themselves cannot be placed in the shade, wires can run from poles and battery boxes powering the solar panels to fixtures. Ember LED’s eSHINE ePOLE’s work well for this application, and have been used to light parks, signs, shelters and other areas that are blocked by tree canopies, awnings or buildings.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Each time a contractor, specifier, project manager or engineer decides to design lighting for an outdoor location, they should be asking the question: Is there wiring on site? When this vital question is forgotten, people can end up wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on the costs of trenching, digging, permitting, conduit, transformers, switches, approvals... and not to mention the ongoing costs of maintenance and energy costs, all because they did not know that solar LED technology can fit their application and lighting needs.
So remember, when choosing to light your next off-grid project, go solar!
How does light pollution impact human health and safety? Ember LED talks health and your environment.
Studies have shown that lighting levels have a major impact on the levels of human health, happiness and safety. Light pollution can be defined as more than necessary, misdirected and intrusive artificial light. Some of these artificial light sources emit blue light or ultraviolet radiation which is particularly bad for human health. Experiencing this kind of light exposure has a horde of negative effects on one’s health. Our bodies require a certain amount of natural light each day to sustain necessary circadian rhythms, vitamins and hormone levels. And yet many of us are outside less than 30 minutes each day. We are exposed to light pollution at times of the day when we should be sleeping, resting or experiencing dimmer light. Without appropriate light levels, humans may experience a horde of negative effects on one’s health.
The timing, duration, color, intensity and wavelength of light has serious impacts on human circadian rhythms, which are the physical and psychological changes humans experience each day. Circadian rhythms are important to human health because they influence sleep cycles, hormone release, body temperature and emotional temperament. This means that when one is exposed to light at times when one should be resting, sleeping or relaxing, it may cause a decline in productivity, general malaise and depression. Furthermore, experiments have shown that when mice are exposed to artificial light at different points throughout the day, it substantially decreases their metabolism. Scientists observed that mice kept in 20-hour light/dark cycles for 10 weeks gained more weight than mice that experienced normal 24-hour daytime and nighttime light levels.
It is well known that at nighttime, light levels on roads and streets have the greatest impact on a driver's ability to see where they are going. Without appropriate levels and lighting fixtures, there are more accidents and tragedies on highways and backroads. In fact, the NZTA Economic Evaluation Manual shows a 35% decrease in crashes when communities upgrade or improve their road and street lights.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body’s pineal gland. It is secreted at nighttime to regulate a person's biological clock. When this gland thrown off, studies show an increase in different types of cancers. Breast cancer specifically is shown to be more prevalent in those who have sleep cycles impacted by artificial light levels.
In a study done by the Cancer Research center in 2005, female volunteers were broken up into groups and exposed to three different types of lighting conditions. Those who were exposed to artificial light during the night for 90 minutes revealed showed melatonin-deficient blood cells. When these cells were injected into tumors, the cells with melatonin-deficient blood grew rapidly compared to those tumors that had sufficient melatonin.
To avoid the negative impacts associated with light pollution, be sure to choose appropriate light levels and fixtures for each application, whether that be a sign, site or street. Solar and LED technology work to reduce light pollution by directing light towards a specific area rather than shedding lights in regions that do not need to be lit. Furthermore, LED fixtures do not contain damaging blue or ultraviolet light. Check out Ember LED’s blog post, “How Much Light Do You Really Need?,” to learn more about the appropriate light required for specific applications.
One of the most common mistakes people make when choosing what fixtures to use for their outdoor application is overestimating the amount of light necessary for a particular space. It is often assumed that more light means better visibility, however the human eye functions to adapt to its natural surroundings. This means that at nighttime, light levels should respect and reflect the natural environment. Good outdoor lighting should work with the physiology of the eye. However, the exact level of light you are looking for will vary depending on the application you are hoping to use your light fixtures for.
If you are looking to light a parking lot or a roadway, a maintained average of .7 to 3.2 foot-candles is the appropriate amount of light that should be generated by the type of fixture you are using. This is important to note because if parking lot or roadway lights are too bright, drivers will be unable to discern objects beyond the light levels on the street. Overlit roads are potentially dangerous when there are pedestrians, bikers or animals near the road or trying to cross the street. Similarly, light levels that are too low will not provide the sufficient necessary needed for high-traffic, pedestrian-heavy areas. Therefore lights located in remote locations are on the lower side of the foot-candle spectrum, whereas urban areas filled with pedestrians often have a higher foot-candle average.
Non-profit organizations like the International Dark Sky Association are leading efforts to reduce light pollution. They have approved certain fixtures that fit their guidelines as lights that qualify as “dark sky friendly.” (Ember LED’s products are identified as IDA approved fixtures.) Check out their guidelines for good exterior lighting plans to learn about the importance of designing specific placement, time, intensity and color of outdoor lights.
When lighting a site designated as construction work zones or recreational sites, 5 foot-candles is generally the minimum. This measurement is the minimum amount to provide the appropriate amount of light to ensure safe and effective construction work, reinforce traffic control plans and protect the safety of the public. Nighttime construction work can oftentimes be dangerous and and require large machinery. Because of this, bigger jobs such as pavement patching, installations or structural fills may require up to 20 foot-candles. Similarly, while your local soccer field may use 20 foot-candles for nighttime play, professional stadiums are lit up to 75 or more footcandles! This type of lighting provides enough light generated during the daytime and are used specifically for large crowds and televised events. Take a look at the nighttime lighting guidelines for work zones provided by WorkZoneSafety.org for construction zone information and lighting standards for the US soccer foundation for details on soccer stadium lighting.
Ultimately, each space requires different lighting levels. But regardless of whatever location you are looking to light, it is vital for every application to maintain uniformity, control glare and reflections, provide contrast for shadows and allow lighting to reveal sufficient detail.
You may know that solar energy is good for the environment, but how exactly does it work? Ember LED is here to explain the science and engineering behind solar technology and how our architectural and commercial grade systems are able to withstand intense weather conditions while maintaining high performance quality for as long as necessary, 365 days each year.
IT STARTS WITH ‘P’
Solar panels function to harness the sun’s power and generate continuous energy through photovoltaic cells. Photovoltaic cells, or PV cells, are devices that convert light energy into electric energy, and contain materials called “semiconductors” that absorbs the sun’s heat. Through this process, electric fields that force electrons to move are freed by light, thus creating the power solar cells produce.
STORING THE POWER
Power generated by the solar cells are housed within batteries that are stored within a unit connected to the solar panel. Our gel batteries perform well in high and low temperatures and enhance the durability of specified solar systems. Batteries can be placed within battery boxes attached to a small poles, or integrated into our eShine Solar Pole. These systems integrate our eShine solar panel, battery box and vShine lighting fixture into one minimalist inclusive piece. Its clean aesthetic provides incorporates beauty and function to power landscapes, signs, paths, parks and lots. Finally, our ePole’s adaptability allows for easy installation and specific solar placement dependent on site location.
A key benefit to the functionality and of solar systems is that they are wireless. Solar panel are not hooked up to any other power source because they harness 100% of their power from the sun. This ability to “go wireless” means that light can be harnessed in remote locations to generate power and is generally much less expensive to install when compared to wired electric lights. Digging, trenching and other disruptive infrastructure endeavors bear heavy weight of the cost when it comes to new lighting installations. By utilizing solar, it eliminates the requirement of wiring.
Did you know that solar power can be generated on cloudy days? It is a common misconception that solar energy cannot be generated outdoors on cloudy days. Although the sun's power is less strong on days with a foggy overcast, the sun's rays are great enough to reach architectural grade solar panels even when the sun is not visible through the clouds. This is how it is possible to generate solar energy even in the most cloudy locations like Seattle, Portland and Washington D.C. Check it out here.