Category Archives: LEDs in the news

Mickey D’s with LEDs

McDonald’s may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of sustainability, but the fast food giant is making headlines with their new energy-saving initiatives. In 2008 the corporation opened their first green restaurant with LED light fixtures, higher efficiency cooking and plumbing equipment, and a “passive” rainwater irrigation system; all of which helped the building earn LEED certification the following year. This set green building standards for new McDonald’s constructions, as well as existing structures like the company’s 20-year old Global Headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois.

One of the newest green McDonald’s broke ground last week in Cedartown, GA. The building plan boasts LED light fixtures along with other green appliances such as low-flow toilets and energy-efficient fryers. There will be no play area, but an upscale dining room to appeal to a more “grown-up” clientele. The sleek new LED-lit store is scheduled to open in August.

Mickey D’s has taken their sustainability efforts to a global scale, with green buildings in France, Germany, Brazil and Canada. But perhaps the most high-impact changes are taking place in Japan, which has been facing a large-scale energy crisis since the natural disasters in March. To save electricity, 30% of the country’s McDonald’s locations are installing LED light fittings. Participating restaurants report an average of 44% in energy savings after switching to LED lights for their dining areas.

McDonald’s Japan is also stepping up their energy savings efforts in their corporate offices. Approximately 60% of their desk employees are being asked to work from home one day a week, allowing them to save on lighting, air conditioning, and other building services. We like that Mickey D’s is using LED lights to cut energy consumption, but we LOVE this particular scheme. And as the weather starts turning summery and beautiful here in the US, let’s hope our bosses follow suit. For the environment.

LED Light Contest FTWinfield

Lightfair is busily underway, and if you’re in Philly, we’d love to chat you up! Find LED Waves at booth #236. Meanwhile, outside the fast-paced world of the lighting business…

The Winfield Daily Courier brings news of a very enlightening contest underfoot in this friendly Kansas city. The local utility has switched 11 street lights over to LED light bulbs, and to get residents to notice, they’re sponsoring a sort of scavenger hunt! The first 5 participants to correctly identify all 11 new LED lights will receive a FREE energy audit of their homes, courtesy of Efficiency Kansas. This is an especially great prize, as winners of the audit will surely find ways to save more money powering their homes, even beyond switching to LED lighting!

Winfield’s LED Lighting Makeover “Before” picture

We’re glad to see that Alan Dykes, energy manager for the City of Winfield, shares our enthusiasm for LED lighting technology. “LED lighting represents a significant energy-savings over our current outdoor lighting ranging from 65 percent to as much as 92 percent in some of the trial cases,” he reported. “Add to that the fact that LEDs have such a great longevity factor, require very little maintenance labor, are environmentally friendly (they contain no mercury) and you can see why we’re excited about them!”

The LED light identification contest is open to all Winfield Municipal electric utility customers. You can pick up complete rules and entry forms at the utility’s Operations Center front desk (2701 E. Ninth Ave.) or at the Utility Billing desk (200 E. Ninth Ave.), during normal business hours Monday through Friday. The contest ends June 1, but Dykes adds “Even if you choose not to participate in the contest, as you are out and about in the evenings, please take the time to check out the new lighting and let us know what you think!”

Antimicrobial UV LED Lights on the Horizon

Last month the top scientists and business leaders in the field of food safety gathered in Seattle for the Foodborne Pathogen Intervention Symposium, hosted by the Seafood Product Association. The meeting focused on preventing as many harmful foodborne pathogens as possible from reaching our tables (and more importantly, our mouths). One method that stood out in the fight against contamination was Ultraviolet (UV) light.
 
This process works by shooting photon lasers of antimicrobial UV light onto food surfaces. You may have seen this technology at work in medical settings, sterilizing instruments, but the systems are mainly used these days for water sanitation. Several challenges presented in more widespread adoption of UV light decontamination systems include directing the photons into hard-to-reach places, as well as harmful emissions. Spectrums of UV light produces ozone and mercury, both of which can be toxic.
 
Enter LED lighting to save the day! At the Symposium, Dr Keith Werriner of the University of Guelph spoke out in favor of applying LED lights within the UV spectrum to rocket this technology into more widespread use. Mercury-free, ozone-free, and lighter and more compact than current UV decontamination models, UV LED  lights are set to take the stage in foodborne pathogen intervention. LED Waves is an Original Equipment Manufacturer for new LED light applications, so we’d welcome the opportunity to hop into this field. We’ve always adored the clean quality of light from LEDs; hopefully soon we’ll see LED lights that clean.

Eternal Light in Downtown Synagogue

Being based in New York City, we at LED Waves are used to seeing new constructions with eye-catching (sometimes questionably so) architecture. And with more building managers and engineers interested in LEED certification or simply energy savings and environmental peace of mind, there has been a growing presense of LED lighting systems, rooftop/vertical gardens, passive heating and cooling, and other green innovations built into these structures. It’s a slow-moving, yet exciting, sustainable city phenomenon.

This is why, in the midst of the run-of-the-mill glass-facade office buildings that are popping up all over Manhattan and into the outer boroughs, we like reading about new developments that integrate sound, environmental design, high functionality, and an intelligent response to our urban surroundings in this modern age. (Sound like LED lighting much?)

Wall Street Journal recently reported on the construction of a synagogue soon to open in SoHo. Famed furniture designer Dror Benshetrit was enlisted to create a modern, unconventional space that feels welcoming to new worshipers. The building is currently under construction at the site of a former SoHo Gucci store. It will feature nods to the neighborhood’s past (concrete floor and exposed brick) as well as modern flourishes such as LED lights, simple geometric shapes evoking traditional Jewish imagery, and some of Benshetrit’s signature pieces. Workers have torn out the floor of the first level, creating a split-level sanctuary with soaring 20 foot ceilings.

Near the synagogue’s ark will be a light installation. A fabric cable will descend from the ceiling, from which will hang a naked Edison bulb. A metal rod wrapped sinuously around the cable will lead to a saucer projecting LED light upward toward the incandescent. This creates an interplay of the modern and traditional, and a new take on the theme of ner tamid, or eternal light.

The use of LED lights in this building is clever in a self-referential way, which we can’t help but admire at LED Waves. We wish Benshetrit and rabbi Dovi Scheiner the best during the construction of this ambitious space. Their goal is to dispel the stuffy, austere image of the Jewish religion held by the younger, “downtown” demographic. Clearly, this ain’t your Bubbe’s synagogue.

Starbucks Saves Bucks with LED Lighting

Starbucks, the largest coffeehouse corporation in the world, was disappointed to have missed their 2008 goal to reduce their energy usage 25% by 2010. The company hasn’t lost sight of their mission, announcing recently that they’ve given themselves until 2015 to hit their environmental mark.

With LEED-certification standards on every company-owned store opened since December of last year, it looks like Starbucks is well on their way. Each new location has a custom LED lighting system, guaranteed to cut lighting costs by at least half. All stores are replacing old lamps with longer-lasting LED lights as they burn out.

Starbucks’ green initatives don’t stop there. The coffee giant has reduced water consumption in its company-owned stores by 22% from 2008, nearing their 25% by 2015 goal. And according to the EPA, Starbucks was the fourth largest purchaser of Renewable Energy Certificates last year, having surpassed their goal to buy renewable energy equivalent to half the electricity needs of its North American company-owned stores.

The company is still struggling to curb waste by offering front-of-store recycling at more locations, and with an ambitious goal of serving 25% of their beverages in reusable cups by 2015. As Earth Day looms near, they’re also stepping up with a special promotion: Free coffee for bringing in a reusable tumbler on 4/22! We hope you get a chance this Friday to pop in, sit back with a free cup of joe, and enjoy the LED lights up ahead.

Smarter Buildings with LED Lights

Early this year we reported on a new function that LED lights will be fulfilling, thanks to technologies pioneered by LVX. Their system involves special sensors located in the workplace, which receive signals from the LED lights above. The LEDs transmit information by pulsing in a sort of light version of binary code – faster than the human eye can detect. The business benefits not only by replacing their existing fixtures with LED lights, but also by freeing up bandwidth on their servers used for short-range communications.

Now, thanks to Redwood Systems, LED lights will continue to play an increasingly larger a role in the workplace. The company announced that it’s developing intelligent lighting systems for business aiming to achieve significant energy savings, enable increased building automation and improve work environments.

With Redwood’s system, each LED light fixture has a sensor that provides data on room occupancy, adjusts lighting according to ambient darkness, and disables extraneous lighting. This helps out building management by limiting electrical light only to areas where/when it’s needed, and it helps security by providing real-time insight into unauthorized occupancy in restricted areas.

In effect, the LED light is getting a promotion from lowly light bulb to an important node in a building’s energy management. We’ve known all along that the decision to convert to LED lighting is intelligent; it’s exciting to see these lamps in themselves have become “intelligent lighting.”

April Foolish References to LED Lights

In researching LED lights and products (Thank you, Google Alerts!), we at LED Waves come across a ton of kooky stuff online. Here are some recent items that make us laugh, sigh, or just scratch our heads, all involving LED lights in some way.

 
Mild-Emitting Diodes: Many trade articles spell out the acronym LED as Light Emitting Diodes. Those articles often get translated from English to other languages through some automatic translating tool. Sometimes those tools translate “light” not as luminescence, but as soft (e.g. a “light” touch, or “mild”). Auto-translate that text back into English and what do you get? A whole lotta well-meaning articles stating “LED stands for Mild Emitting Diodes.”
 
A Human-Shaped Phone That Feels Like Human Skin AKA The Creepiest Phone Ever: Developed by Japanese (of course) scientists who felt that modern telecommunications lacked a certain human “touch,” this phone looks more like something a prosecutor would bring out to a plaintiff in a sex offense trial. It has no screen, but an LED alert light incorporated into the phone somewhere – possibly the part you hold to your face? Not sure how this will sell.
 
Designers Offer Islanders Home Decorating Tips at Home Show: Consider this an April Fools joke on me: From the title of this article, I was hoping to read colorful descriptions of the Islanders team, in full hockey gear, handling carpet swatches and learning about proper placement of Fabergé eggs. Turns out, the article covered an event where Long Island residents got a crash course from local professionals on home decoration, including effective uses of LED lights in the home. Informative, but not as humorous as one might hope.
 
Tennessee Man Arrested for Impersonating a Public Officer Via LED Lights: It started out like your typical impromptu “stop light” race, but when his red Mustang was left in the dust, local man Plemons turned on his fog lights and flashed a police-style blue LED light bar. His spooked competitor reported the incident. We don’t condone impersonating an officer of the law like this, but you gotta admit that his red Mustang must’ve looked sweet.