LED FAQs and the Answers to Help Give You Perspective
Get Answers to top LED FAQs, before you buy LED Lights. Learn about American Made LED Tube Lights and Fixtures with 10 Year Warranties and External Drivers
These FAQs cover four different categories:
Manufacturing – Forged in AMERICA
The EAGLE LED TUBE
The MONEY & MARKET Trends
The EPAct Advantages
LED FAQs – Forged in AMERICA:
Is Independence LED an American Manufacturer that meets the Buy America Qualifications?
Yes and Yes. Our Headquarters and Manufacturing Facilities are in Southeastern Pennsylvania at the heart of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Corridor. Our EAGLE LED TUBE System meets the Buy America Qualifications for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
Does your LED product meet the LM79 requirements? If yes, can you provide the LM79 test report from an accredited NVLAP test lab?
Independence LED tests our products constantly, and we have tested to LM79 standards and provide the reports upon request.
What actions take place in the factory to ensure your product will work properly when installed by the customer?
All Independence LED products are manufactured with multiple production line quality checks to help ensure the final product is built to our exacting standards.
LED FAQs – The EAGLE LED TUBE:
What differentiates the EAGLE LED TUBE from all of the competing ‘drop in’ Linear Fluorescent replacements?
There are some companies that manufacture drop in ‘tube’ products. Chinese and Taiwanese companies are manufacturing and exporting LED tubes. Many companies private label Chinese made LED Tubes and put their ‘label’ on the tubes.
Please see the link ahead for a full overview of technology differentiation from these competitors:
Product Highlights and key differentiators:
- Independent External Driver (.996 Power Factor)
- Deep Fin Extruded Aluminum Heat Sink
- Surface Mounted Diodes
- Aluminum Printed Circuit Boards
- Modular PCB System for 1’ to 8’ Tube Production
- FlexDensity™ Diode System for Wattage Level Choices
- Black Body Curve Diodes for Color Consistency
- Industry Leading 10 Year Warranty
- Made in America
- Proven Reliability and Savings Results
(Meets BUY AMERICA Qualifications for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act)
What are the advantages of an External Driver over an Internal Driver?
There are THREE major advantages of an external power supply vs. an internal power supply. The power supply is often referred to as the Driver and it is typically installed in the area allocated for the former fluorescent tubes’ ballast. External Drivers typically connect to the fixture tombstones to power the LEDs. For the added advantages of an external ‘Independent’ power supply which includes a bypass to the tombstones see the response to the question: “What are the advantages of an External ‘Independent’ Driver over an External and an Internal Driver?
#1: Separation of Heat from the Light Emitting Diodes
Better Color Consistency
Longer Lasting Diodes
#2: Component Approach to Servicing the Lighting System
Better Post Warranty Protection
#3: Power Supply Size and Wattage Flexibility
Higher Efficacy via Higher Power Factor
More Output Options
What are the advantages of an External ‘Independent’ Driver over an External and an Internal Driver?
There are FIVE major advantages of an external ‘Independent’ power supply vs. an internal ‘Dependent’ power supply. The power supply is often referred to as the Driver and the External Driver is typically installed in the area allocated for the former fluorescent tubes’ ballast, and it connects to the tube via wire and clip system. One power supply typically goes with each new LED tube. The Five Star Advantages of an Independent Power Supply (External Driver LED Tube) system. Each advantage has at least two different benefits to the property owner or manager:
#1: Separation of Heat from the Light Emitting Diodes
Better Color Consistency
Longer Lasting Diodes
#2: Component Approach to Servicing the Lighting System
Better Post Warranty Protection
#3: Power Supply Size and Wattage Flexibility
Higher Efficacy via Higher Power Factor
More Output Options
#4: Installation Ease and Autonomy
Quick-Clip Connect System
Reduced Tombstone Dependence
#5: Asymmetrical Features
More Directionality Options
Increased Flexibility with Energy Control Systems
What is the EAGLE LED Advantage of Separation of Heat from the Light Emitting Diodes?
Heat is the enemy of the Light Emitting Diode (LED) and power supplies generate significant heat. The more effectively the lighting system can separate the heat from the LED the better. When it comes to better color consistency, a high performance LED system will protect the phosphor on the diodes. The layers of phosphor on an LED dictate the color temperature, and the phosphor is vulnerable to heat. Think of the layers of phosphor as cheese on a slice of toast in a toaster oven. As the oven heats up, the cheese melts, and it changes color. Simply, heat will burn the layers of phosphor and change the color of the diodes.
Better Color Consistency: If the LED utilizes a Dependent Power Supply (Internal Driver LED Tube) system, in that they are internal to the LED tube the heat from the power supply will adversely impact the LEDs. Performance testing on INTERNAL DRIVER LED system tubes that have run non-stop for 10,000 hours or more, resulted in diodes that were manufactured for warmer (amber) color temperatures, appearing more blue-white at the end of the test. The blue-white color temperature is the native state of the LED light, while layers of phosphor give the diodes a yellow color. In an INTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE system, the four to six inch area where the internal power supply is located will burn the phosphor layers, resulting in a disparity of color consistency.
Longer Lasting Diodes: A high performance LED system will also protect the diodes from overheating. As diodes overheat, they lose their longevity to perform at the specified output levels. INTERNAL DRIVER LED tubes that have run for 10,000 hours or more can have burn marks on the backside of the LED casing, in the exact area where the power supply is located. Additional proof can be gathered by running a foot candle meter along the face of the tube and witnessing the drop-off in light intensity over an area where a power supply is located. In controlled tests, the foot candles right at the surface of the tube run over 300 foot candles (FCs) but drop to 150 FCs at the edge of the ‘burn zone’ and drop to 110 FCs at the center of the degraded area. Since the burn zone is typically at least the length of the INTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE system, the degraded area is at least 4 to 5 inches or approximately 10% of an overall 48” tube. Given that these losses occur inside of a single year of non-stop operation, the lifetime is compromised to several years since the lighting standard for lifetime is generally regarded as a reduction of up to 30% of original output. The typical 1 to 3 year warranty range is logical for an INTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE system, given the shortcomings and the damage that is can make on the diodes. Most INTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBES last about 50,000 hours vs. 100,000 or more for the Independent Power Supply (External Driver LED) tubes. With 8,760 hours in a year, the life span ranges from 5.7 years up to 6.9 years at 24/7 operations. That difference can equate to massive savings in energy consumption.
What is the EAGLE LED Advantage of Component Approach to Servicing the Lighting System?
The engineering component design approach behind the Independent Power Supply (External Driver LED Tube) accepts that the capacitors and electronics in the power supply generate heat. Heat is not only the enemy of the phosphor, but also of the core semi-conductor chip inside the diode. Component separation allows the operator to locate the power supply away from direct contact with the LEDs. The key is to keep the power supply as far away from the diodes as reasonably possible. The standard fluorescent fixture is already equipped with a ballast area, and this is an ideal location for the EXTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE system. The cover plates already have the fastener systems and the ballast already needs to be disconnected and discarded in the retrofit, regardless of the new type of power supply technology. The labor is almost equivalent to bypassing the ballast vs. replacing it.
Longer Warranty: A high performance LED system with adequate thermal management enough to maintain color quality and longevity, will provide a warranty up to 5 years. Given the complexity of the electronics in a power supply, it is the Achilles Heel of any LED system, and it is most likely to fail before the diodes lose their illumination efficacy. When an LED tube with an INTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE system fails inside of a warranty, the provider and/or Manufacturer would have to send the entire tube to the recycling bin, and often waste more than 240 semi-conductors in the process. Aside from being a tenuous financial risk on the supply side, this is far from being a logical or sustainable model. Many LED manufacturers gamble that the INTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE systems will hold up just long enough to make it through the warranty. Given that EXTERNAL DRIVERs may costs less than the entire high performance and high output LED Tube, replacing a power supply is significantly more cost-effective for the supplier. This is especially the case when the EXTERNAL DRIVER powers, two, three, or even four LED tubes.
Better Post-Warranty Protection: A property owner or manager needs to consider the worst-case scenario. Imagine this situation: The day after the warranty expires on two tubes, both fail. One is an INTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE and the other, an EXTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE. The owner must replace the entire tube for the dependent system at the going rate of an entire new tube. The cost may be five times that of replacing just the power supply, as would most likely be the case in an EXTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE system failure. This component approach is proven in other industries, as well. If the starter fails on a car, the starter is replaced before the car is sent to the scrap yard. Unfortunately, in a world of increasing disposability, the logic of some manufacturing processes is often lost in the race for market share. Fortunately, buyers have choices. In many cases the more sustainable choices are comparable in price and provide dramatically more long-term advantages.
What is the EAGLE LED Advantage of Power Supply Size and Wattage Flexibility?
The size of the power supply is a key factor in the efficiency of the whole lighting system. Capacitor and transformer size and quality is often restricted inside very tight spaces, such as the channel behind a printed circuit board (PCB) of diodes. Some manufacturers have identified the problems with the heat proximity to the diodes, but most have only taken partial steps to solve it. Some stretch thin the power supply system along a larger portion of the tube, while others shift the power supply from the back of the LED PCB to the end of the tube. In these situations, however, the heat of the power supply is still adjacent to the PCB, so the heat is still transferred to the diodes. Perhaps the worst aspect of many INTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE ‘End-Location’ systems is that they create dark spots on output. In an effort to reduce the dark spot on the tube, engineers are forced to compress the capacitors and components of a linear power supply (typically +4”) into a double stack cylinder power supply, that is often only two inches long. This compressed power supply is typically about 1 1/8” inches in diameter (sized slightly larger than a T8 tube) and about two inches long. The whole volume is 3.52 cubic inches (3.14 (Π) x .56” (Radius) x 2” (Length)). By comparison an EXTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE does not have the size restrictions to fit inside the tube either along the back or in a cylinder at the end. This flexibility gives the engineers more room to incorporate larger capacitors and transformers, and the technology can run more efficiently with some ‘breathing room’. As an example, the EXTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE systems typically have a volume that is at least twice the size of the equivalent INTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE systems at 7 cubic inches or greater.
More Output Options: An EXTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE system gives the property owner or manager options to select different wattage LED tubes for different applications. As the wattage increases, the size of the power supply increases. INTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE systems are limited by the space of the tube length for their driver, and often the power supply is packed behind the diodes or the cylindrical end housing. An EXTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE system provides much more flexibility given that the location area that was formerly for the ballast provides ample room for the expanded power supply of the higher wattage LED options.
What is the EAGLE LED Advantage of Installation Ease and Autonomy?
Installing an EXTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE system for an LED tube is as simple as replacing the ballast in a fluorescent fixture. Given that the panels are designed to conceal the ballasts, the EXTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE system fits inside the channel. The installation time is approximately the same as installing a tube with INTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE system, because the installer still has to open up the fixture, bypass the ballast and then feed the circuit to the tombstones. Many facility managers have asked to install an EXTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE system for each tube so that if one tube in a fixture fails, the other can remain illuminated. This is a practical convenience in terms of reducing the urgency of replacing tubes in a whole fixture that may otherwise go dark if the circuit is broken or arching occurs.
Quick-Clip Connect System: EXTERNAL DRIVER LED tubes offer additional ease of installation and maintenance. The clip systems not only protect the circuit continuity, but also give the installer the ability to quickly link the tube to the power supply. Similarly, if a facility manager elects to change their LED tube color temperature, then they can quickly unclip the tubes and clip an alternate product into position. If any of the diodes fail in a tube, then the facility managers can also quickly clip a replacement into position.
Reduced Tombstone Dependence: Facility managers are well aware of the arcing issues with faulty tombstones and the issues that have plagued fluorescent tubes are also a liability with the INTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE system. In an EXTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE system, the tombstone is only used to support the LED tube vs. in an INTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE system, where the tombstone powers the lamp. This creates a significant maintenance advantage for EXTERNAL DRIVER LEDs because a failure due to the tombstones will not result in a maintenance visit, as it would with the INTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE system. Fixtures are also often outside of the warranty of the INTERNAL DRIVER LED tubes.
What is the EAGLE LED Advantage of Asymmetrical Features?
The Asymmetrical Advantage of an Independent Power Supply (External Driver LED Tube) system comes in several forms. Since each tube is powered by a different supply, the facility managers can choose to customize the output of one tube over another within the same fixture. The variables include color temperature, wattage, and the angle of light. Since the tombstone is free of the electrical charge, the facility manager can angle the LED tube to the desired position.
More Directionality Options: With an INTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE system, the only option an owner has is a straight down position, given that the tube can only be illuminated when it is rotated in the horizontal ‘pin locked’ position of the tombstone. The EXTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE system is the key to flexibility, on the other hand, allowing the owner to rotate the LED tube in any direction. Since electricity flows through the clip of the EXTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE system and not the tombstones, the tube can be adjusted to focus light in any direction the owner desires. This directionality feature is particularly relevant in work areas where a certain intensity of light is needed over ambient light. Example: In a four-tube EXTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE fixture, the two center tubes can be set straight down while the outside ones can be angled at 30% to wash more light to the sides of the fixture. In a two-tube EXTERNAL DRIVER LED TUBE fixture, one tube can be angled straight down while another can be angled at 45% to wash a wall with light. The variables are numerous and the facility managers can tailor the lighting to their needs accordingly.
What is the EAGLE LED Advantage of Deep Fin Thermal Management vs. Shallow or No Fins?
Look for advanced thermal management like a deep fin extruded aluminum heat sink to ensure maximum heat removal away from the diodes. The more surface area on a heat sink, the more effective it is at transferring heat to the ambient air. The multiple fins on the EAGLE LED heat sink drastically increase the surface area.
What is the EAGLE LED Advantage of the SMD vs. DIP?
Choose a tube with long lasting LED diodes. Surface Mounted Diodes (SMDs) last longer than their Dual In-Line Package (DIP) predecessors, which are not intended for general illumination applications.
What is the EAGLE LED Advantage of Modular Aluminum Circuit Boards vs. Fiberglass PCBs:
Keep your options open with Modular Design flexibility. Modular Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) allow for a wide range of sizes to be cost-effectively manufactured, and also provide the advantage of replacing just one of four components if there is failure in the tube. If one tire blows on your car, you don’t have to change the other three. Look for LED tubes that have an Aluminum PCB (excellent conductor of heat) over fiberglass, to help remove as much heat as possible from the diodes. The combination of an Independent Power Supply (External Driver LED Tube), Deep Fin Thermal Management, and Aluminum PCB help to protect the diodes, maintain color consistency and increase overall longevity of your LED system.
What is the EAGLE LED Advantage of Made in the USA vs. Overseas?
Pick an LED tube that is manufactured in America and meets the Buy America Qualifications for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). You can do this to help support the Green Economy and job creation here at home, and you can do this to ensure that your product has great quality control and oversight. USA made LEDs often also enjoy faster delivery times and more responsive warranty support. Additionally, cost to produce the domestic LEDs is comparable to overseas manufacturing because of reduced shipping costs given the weight of components like the aluminum deep fin heat sink, as well as automations with tighter tolerances than foreign hand-assembly.
LED FAQs – The Money & Market Trends:
Is the LED Linear ‘Tube’ Lighting Market large enough for me to make money as an Authorized Reseller?
YES. The drop in ‘Tube’ replacement market is large and growing for LEDs. Approximately 80% of commercial lighting is linear fluorescent tubes, making the universe of US sales over $100 Billion. This statistic comes from Department of Energy and Census information regarding the number of non-residential properties by sector across the US with square footage and average fixture per area calculations.
What can I tell my Clients to get them excited and move forward with LEDs?
Here is the BIG PICTURE on Energy Consumption and Savings. Almost 50% of the energy we use in America is for residential and commercial properties and of that almost half is commercial real estate. The annual total for energy used on real estate is about $400 Billion of which about $200 Billion is spent on commercial real estate. On average lighting uses about 30% of the commercial energy or $60 Billion. Of the commercial lighting, about 80% is linear or ‘tubes’. So, about $48 Billion is spent annually on linear lighting, and LEDs can cut the operating cost in half saving $24 Billion annually. LEDs typically reduce the required wattage on a four foot fluorescent from 35 Watts with the ballast factor down to 15 watts for the LED equivalent. Fluorescent tubes last between 15,000 and 40,000 hours while LED Tubes last between 50,000 and 100,000 hours. To put this in context, if you leave the fluorescent tubes on in a 24/7 area like office fire stair towers, hotel hallways, or parking garages, they will last between two and 4 years while the LEDs will last between 5 and 9 years. At the full nine years the $28 Billion in annual savings scales to $252 Billion or a Quarter Trillion in energy savings. With 13 lbs of CO2 reduced for each dollar saved in energy operating costs, the quarter trillion quickly turns into over 3.25 Trillion lbs of CO2. Given that the payback comes in a fraction of the time as renewable energy alternatives, LED Tubes are a powerful weapon in the Energy Revolution. So, we have plenty of room to save energy and operating costs, and linear ‘Tube’ LEDs offer one of the most cost-effective paths to energy independence.
How Does America shape up in the Global Energy Landscape?
According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), America uses 25% of the world’s energy with only 5% of the population. We can thrive as a superpower if we find efficiencies that reduce energy waste and develop the ‘clean-tech’ innovations that we can sell to the world. Of the over six billion people on earth, about one billion use the internet, another one billion carry water to their homes each day given the lack of residential plumbing systems, and a massive four billion people use electricity every day. Lighting is one of the key uses of electricity around the world. The breakdown on global population patterns puts in perspective the internet bubble at the end of the 20th Century relative to the growth potential of the pending energy bubble that could trump it by a factor of four…or an additional 3 billion customers. America has a high level of internal demand for efficiency given rising energy costs and our disproportional energy consumption per capita. If we build a better energy mouse trap, we can sell it right at home to reap the rewards and then go on to export the technologies overseas.
Why should my Clients REDUCE Energy with LEDs vs. Create More RENEWABLE Energy with Solar or other Technology?
The old 1960’s and 70’s ‘Green’ mantra of REDUCE, RE– USE, RECYCLE, starts with ‘reduce’ and this is a key factor to consider relative to creating renewable energy. Simply, it is much harder to make electricity than it is to save electricity. As an example, a $100,000 investment into Solar Panels without government and utility incentives may generate about $2,500 of annual electricity at average use kilowatt hour rates. The 40 year payback is a far cry from the efficiency of LED lighting. $10,000 of LED lights can generate the same $2,500 of electricity as the $100,000 investment in solar. The key difference is that the LEDs Reduce the electricity consumption while the solar panels make more power to often fuel existing inefficient lights. Naturally, the two work well together, if you first reduce the waste and then create renewable power to fuel the new lights that typically save between 50% and 85% over traditional lights.
LED FAQs – The ENERGY POLICY ACT (EPAct) Advantages:
Why does an Authorized LED Reseller like me need to know about EPAct?
Since LEDs are more expensive than other traditional forms of lighting, your Clients will want as much of a financial advantage as possible to increase their Return on Investment (ROI). The more you know about the Federal Tax advantages afforded through EPAct, the more effectively you may become at guiding your Clients toward a purchase. Plus, in certain cases they can assign the EPAct to you and you can take advantage of the Tax incentives. The framework of these EPAct section Questions and answers speaks to ‘You’ as the Client so that you can refer them to this information as necessary.
Who is eligible for the EPAct 179d Tax Deduction for LED Lights?
If you own a commercial building that was built (or substantially renovated) after January 1, 2006, you’ve got a property that may be a candidate. Also, if you are a commercial tenant who owns the asset (building, HVAC, lighting) being depreciated, you may be a candidate. Finally, if you are the architect, engineer or other designer responsible for the design of a building or renovation owned by a government entity, you may be entitled to a large tax deduction.
EPAct for LEDs – What is the Benefit?
Up to a $.60 per square foot tax deduction can be awarded for a building that is able to reduce their lighting power density by up to 50% below the 2001 baseline. So, a 100,000 sqft building can be eligible for a $60,000 tax deduction.
EPAct for LEDs – Can you get partial deductions?
Yes. If the building does not meet the 50% standard, each of the systems being reviewed can be qualified separately (HVAC, Envelope and Lighting) for up $.60 per square foot. Even more specifically, lighting as a separate qualification can qualify partially for between $.30 and $.60 per square foot.
EPAct for LEDs – Does a taxpayer need to file a report with their tax return?
No. But the engineering report that substantiates the tax deduction should be kept on file in case of an audit. If done properly, the report can be a hundred pages or more.
EPAct for LEDs – How do lighting providers and architects qualify?
The tax deductions under the Energy Policy Act are primarily intended to benefit the owner of a commercial property. However, the statute’s intent to incentivize “green” building by giving this tax deduction, was not able to be realized in cases where the owner of the property is a federal, state or local government. Those entities don’t pay federal taxes so the deduction is essentially worthless to them. Accordingly, the statute allows the deduction in those cases, to be allocated to the DESIGNER of the building instead. The “designer” can be the architect, an engineer or any other party responsible for the energy efficient design.
Architects need to obtain a third party study of the energy efficiency of the building in question as an owner would do, but they also need to obtain an allocation of the benefit from the owner as part of their audit trail. Naturally, the IRS needs to confirm, in the event of an audit, that this particular designer was in fact responsible for the energy efficient design. Placing the responsibility for verifying that in the hands of owner makes sense but the language of the statute with regard to the allocation of 179D benefits to the designer by the owner of the energy efficient building, has been less than perfect.
EPAct for LEDs – When do you claim it?
The tax deduction is taken in the year in which the property is “placed in service” or opens for business. This is typically the date of a temporary certificate of occupancy but it can vary. So, for example, a new school that opens up in 2009, no matter how long the design or construction process took, would give rise to a tax deduction against 2009 income. You can take it on your tax return when filing your 2009 tax return or you an amend you return for up to three tax periods. Tip: If you don’t know when your time to claim this benefit will run out on past tax years, find out now.
EPAct for LEDs – Is it a Credit or a Deduction?
It is a tax deduction, which means that the “cash value” of it is different than if it were a credit. Tax “credits” reduce each dollar of tax you pay, whereas tax “deductions” are worth the dollar amount of the deduction, multiplied times your marginal tax rate. So if you are entitled to a deduction of $100,000 in a year when you are paying taxes at a rate of 35%, the value of that tax deduction to you is $35,000.
EPAct for LEDs – Does it reduce Basis?
Yes. Owners who take the deduction also must reduce their basis in the building asset.
EPAct for LEDs – What is the cost of certification?
Generally, a study can be done at a cost that equates to less than 10% of the amount of your tax deduction or less. Beware of companies that get paid on a contingency. You may be overpaying and the IRS may question the independence of the study. After all, if the company gets paid more if they qualify more, their results may be open to conflict. Companies that charge a set fee by the square foot will not raise this red flag.
LED FAQs – LEDs for Parking Garages
Does Parking Garage lighting qualify for EPAct?
Yes. Parking Garage lighting for both structured parking and underground garages qualifies for the Energy Policy Act (EPAct). In fact, given that the EPAct incentives are based on reducing wattage per sq. ft. below ASREA Standards. Parking garages are not required to meet the “bi-level switching” requirements of other properties to earn the EPAct advantage.
EPAct Qualifying Process for Parking Garages
Can you assure me that our Parking Garage qualifies for the EPAct tax deduction? I read that to qualify requires an independent third-party certification by someone who has IRS/DOE prescribed Energy Modeling Software. Do you know of any of these companies and how much we may have to pay them to qualify us for this deduction? I also read that only areas that have “bi-level switching” qualify.
Businesses that pay Federal Taxes are eligible for EPAct. Non-Profit organizations or businesses such as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and condominium or Co-Op Associations are typically ineligible. Public properties such as schools or municipalities properties such as City Halls mat “assign” the EPAct to one of the service providers on the retrofit project. Independence LED has multiple strategic partners that provide the services on behalf of our Authorized Reseller Network members and their LED end users.
Parking Garage lighting for both structured parking and underground garages qualifies for the Energy Policy Act (EPAct). In fact, given that the EPAct incentives are based on reducing wattage per sq. ft. below ASREA Standards. Parking garages are not required to meet the “bi-level switching” requirements of other properties to earn the EPAct advantage.
For EPAct, what is bi-level switching and do we have it in our Parking Garages?
Answer: Bi-Level switching is the lighting term used to define an area where the occupant can control the lighting in a certain space in addition to a larger room. One of the most common examples is task lighting such as a desk light for an office cubicle in addition to the switch for the overhead ceiling lights that illuminate multiple cubicles. The reason that EPAct has this as a requirement is simply to reward the companies that not only reduce the wattage on each light bulb or tube, but also have the means to control the lighting use with “Smart Controls” such as daylight sensors or occupancy sensors in addition to manual switches. Parking garages are not required to meet the “bi-level switching” requirements of other properties to earn the EPAct advantage.
LED FAQs – Company Organization and Info
It appears to me that Independence LED Lighting is manufacturing the LED tubes and calls them the Eagle LED Tube. Is this correct?
YES. The EAGLE LED TUBE is the name of our linear lighting product series. Please see this file for a breakdown of the EAGLE LED TUBE “Technology Differentiation”
Is Independence LED a Public or Privately Owned Company?
Independence LED Lighting, LLC is currently a privately owned company. This question has come up and prospective members of our Authorized Reseller Network and LED End Users often follow up with questions confirming the stability of our Company. We offer the following points:
#1: The Quality of our Clients:
The quality of a company’s clients is often a reflection of the quality of the business. Please feel free to ask for references and review a sample roster of client engagements. In many cases we honor the requests of our clients, some of which are publically held fortune 500 companies, to maintain their confidentiality, until they have prepared the internal Press Releases and announcements relative to their energy and environmental policies. For a sample of engagements see: http://independenceled.com/featured-clients/
#2: The Modularity of our Technology:
We have built into our costs the means to cover our warranty. This may seem obvious, but very few LED companies can back up their Warranty! Simply, the vast majority of LED Tube manufacturers are from China, and the US “Dealer/Resellers” may not be around when the warranties are called in die to excessive failure of Internal Drivers. If there is failure, we can replace the Driver and not the whole tube, because of our External “Independent” Driver. We can also easily replace Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs), since we can literally re-use the other parts of the linear system like the Driver, other Diodes, Heat Sink, and Lens. This modular approach not only reduces the burden of heat on the LEDs but gives us the means to more easily honor our warranty.
#3: The Experience of our Management Team:
Great people make great businesses, and we welcome conference calls and meetings with upper management to help articulate our value proposition. See the Management Team bios here: http://independenceled.com/bios
#4: The Vision, Agility and Tenacity of our overall business.
Our Independence LED Team is committed to making an impact in the American Energy Revolution. Please take a moment to review our Mission, Vision, and Operating Principles: http://independenceled.com/about-us/
LED FAQs – The Industry and Engineering Landscape:
Does your EAGLE LED TUBE Series retrofit both T12 and T8 size Fluorescent Tubes.
YES. The “T” is used in the nomenclature of linear lighting. One “T” is equal to 1/8 of an inch for the diameter of the tubes. So, a fluorescent T-8 is a 1” diameter tube, while a T-12 is a 1.5” diameter tube. The mounting brackets in the fixtures typically hold either size and our LED Tubes are designed to fit into both size fluorescent tubes for retrofits.
How does heat impact LED Tubes?
LEDs perform well in cooler climates since sustained heat is the enemy of the Light Emitting Diodes and specifically the phosphor that dictates the color. White light can be made by using a blue-emitting diode that excites a yellow-emitting phosphor. The combination of blue and yellow makes a white-emitting LED. Internal Drivers generate heat, and heat burns the phosphor on diodes turning it into a brownish yellow, thus reducing the “white” light output. Our External Drivers do not burn the phosphor and the result is sustained color quality and longevity. The overall lifetime data is also based on a degradation of 30% of the output, so even when the LEDs are technically “Dead” they still have of 70% of their original light output.
Can you provide any response to the Department of Energy’s CALiPER tests that evaluated a wide range of lighting products?
The Department of Energy regularly tests the performance of LED products in the marketplace through their CALiPER program. In early rounds of this testing, the LED tubes selected by the DOE did not perform well in relation to their fluorescent counterparts. The DOE has more recently seen first-hand the dramatic increases in lumens per watt for LED tubes and other types of LED fixtures.
Why does the LED Tube you have specified does not produce as many lumens as my current fluorescent tubes.
LED lighting is a directional light source, as opposed to a standard light bulb (i.e. A-lamp) or (T8 fluorescent tube) that are omnidirectional. The directional nature of an LED improves the overall fixture efficiency, allowing us to use a lamp that produces less lumens and still meet footcandle requirements.
Are your LED products UL and CE Listed?
Yes, we use UL and CE rated components and also have a UL and CE Retrofit kit listing on our LED tubes.
Are your products Energy Star rated?
The whole category of LED Tubes are not eligible for an Energy Star rating, because the Design Lights Consortium (DLC) is the regulating body that helps guide the Utility Companies for their rebate incentive allocations. The Independence LED tubes and fixtures are DLC Qualified Products List, and this involves ongoing submissions as the standards change.
What is the impact on your LED Tubes relative to the efficiency “droop” as referenced by this article from New York Times:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/21/science/engineers-take-aim-at-efficiency-barrier-in-led-technology.html
“Droop” is simply a way of saying that as you drive LEDs harder with more current, the efficiency goes down. Think of the LED like your car engine, when you push the pedal to the floor your gas mileage drops significantly. We don’t see droop as something that is preventing market adoption of LED lighting for general ambient applications. LEDs are more than capable of putting out plenty of light for these applications with the technology we have today. As long as the LEDs are driven within their specified current range, droop is not an issue. Independence LED uses constant current power conversion systems that ensure the LEDs are driven below the recommended current. Lifetime, electrical, efficiency, and photometric tests are done at this current, so staying below the current ensures a strong, long-lasting design.
LED FAQs – Support for LED Distributors
Does Independence LED have a “LIVE” Customer Service Representatives to speak with about technical specs, to assist with questions such as “What tube or fixture will work best in this situation?”
Each of our Distributors has an Account Manager assigned to their company for support. In the event that the designated Account Manager is not available, we have a pool of cross-functional Account Managers that can answer questions. We also have our Engineering Department on ‘stand-by’ during East coast working hours 8 AM to 6 PM for technical support.
LED FAQs – Marketing Support for LED Distributors
What level of Marketing Material support do you provide Distributors?
We understand that many LED manufacturers have promised support. Independence LED is uniquely positioned to support its Distributors since we have sold multiple millions of dollars of LEDs direct to End Users, since 2009. Our inside sales force has sold to these End Users across a diverse range of industries and company sizes. We ran the direct sales by default since the LED industry was emerging and the major regional Lighting Distributors were reluctant to take the early lead. Over the past three years, we have developed a portfolio of numerous marketing materials for the different lines of products as well as for different property types. We share the source files with or Distributors so that they can add their branding and conference calls, literature, sales call support.
LED FAQs – Training and Overall Support for LED Distributors
What level of Training and Communications Support do you provide your LED Dealers / LED Distributors?
As of Q4 2011, we have trained over 200 individuals and companies through our Live LED Boot Camp, which typically includes a combination of class room and a factory tour. For a preview, see sample videos and files here: www.independenceled.com/BootCamp. For LED Distributors or Dealers that either have too many trainees or locations that are cost prohibitive for travel, we have made arrangements to take the LED Boot Camp on the road to the offices of the Dealer/Distributors.
On the communications front, each of our Distributors has an Account Manager assigned to their company for support. See the page on our website specifically dedicated to Supporting our Authorized Reseller Network. http://independenceled.com/reseller-support/. For convenience, the content is also included here:
INDEPENDENCE LED Lighting is dedicated to leading the Solid State Lighting market by manufacturing the most rigorously engineered and highest quality controlled LED Linear ‘Tubes’ and Multi-Tube Fixtures. In addition to producing category leading commercial grade LED products, we strive to support our Authorized Reseller Network with the most user-friendly Return on Investment Software, Reporting and Presentation Tools, Financing and Rebate Programs, and overall Training Curriculum.
We understand that in many cases our Authorized Resellers have Property Owners and Facility Mangers have not budgeted for LED lamps and fixtures. To that end, we support our Authorized Resellers with services to help facilitate the sale. We believe that Measurement is the Key to Management, so an effective LED retrofit often begins with an accurate Lighting Audit, that is followed by Product Matching, a Review of Financing Options, and then Installation coordination if needed.
The DEMO Pathway:
We have found that one of the key steps in a successful retrofit often involves a Luminaire Field Test. This is typically a set of DEMO Tubes or Tube Fixtures that follow the findings from the Lighting Audit and Product Matching process. A successful field test illustrates the subjective quality of the light as well as the objective foot candle meter readings, typically underneath the LED fixture, between, two and often at the center of four DEMO fixtures.
The Financing & Rebate Pathway:
The INDEPENDENCE LED team is pleased to work with our Authorized Resellers to help public and private sector companies and organizations reduce their operating expenses through the installation of high-performance LED lighting. Given the relationships that INDEPENDENCE LED has forged within different funding sources, INDEPENDENCE LED also offers a range of financing options to meet the current and ongoing cash flow needs of end users. INDEPENDENCE LED works to find the right mix within each region and funding sector. The mix may include a combination of different funding sources and incentive or rebate programs. The funding path options may include:
•PRIVATE SECTOR FUNDING – Equipment Leases and Saving Share Programs
•PUBLIC SECTOR FUNDING – Grants and Loans
•PUBLIC SECTOR TAX INCENTIVES – Energy Policy Act (EPAct) Tax Deductions
•UTILITY COMPANY INCENTIVES – Rebates
•ENERGY REDUCTION GRANTS – Performance Incentives
•SPECIALTY FUNDING – A Range of innovative options
•HYBRID SOLUTIONS – Combinations of any of the above with partial deposits vs 0% financing
Operating Principles specifically for Servicing our Authorized Resellers:
1. Workforce Assessment – We provide comprehensive analysis across the Lighting Marketplace to determine the areas of need and intern the opportunity to develop curriculum upgrades and support software for the energy ‘consulting’ sale.
2. Curriculum R & D – We author, upgrade and roll-out live and online classes. In many cases the curriculum includes proprietary software and resource ‘tools’ that enable our trainees to leverage their skills in the marketplace. We also develop key continuing education and certification content and programs to ensure the added value and quality control.
3. Reseller Alignment – We match our resellers needs to the right programs. From Electrical Contractors to Lighting Designers and from Energy Service Company (ESCOs) to Cleantech Renewable Power Companies, we work with a range of viable players in the new Energy Economy.
4. Measurement and Verification – We work diligently to ensure that our Company is well represented, and we pre-qualify Resellers so that our LED Products are sold by quality individuals and companies.
5. Re-Engagement – Upon request, we continue working with members of our Authorized Reseller Network via continuing education to refine and improve their knowledge.
Authorized Resellers – For Specific Support Requests, please Contact Us
Lighting Industry Information
What are IES files?
IES is the Illuminating Engineers Society. IES files contains photometric data used with standard lighting design software. IES files contain iso-illuminance data specific for a single light fixture type. IES files are used in technical lighting layouts.
How much does it cost to have Distribution Exclusivity in a metro market, region, or country outside of the U.S.
If you would like exclusivity for overseas sales, Independence LED has reasonable minimum monthly or quarterly order volumes that are scaled to the size of desired sales territory. Interested International Resellers often find that it makes the most sense to get started with sales outreach in a particular market, and then Independence LED informs them of interest from other Resellers in the future. This way you can decide to become exclusive based on market traction and potential competition from other Resellers. There are also two additional paths down the road:
A) You can become a Master Stocking Distributor. This entails building a network of Dealers or Sub-Distributors that buy from you, and Independence LED supports you at the top of the Distribution network.
B) You build a network as a Manufacturer’s Representative. This entails identifying any recruiting other types of Resellers. When they sign the Independence LED Authorized Reseller Agreement, Independence LED pays you for the introduction and ongoing support through a commission. For the commission, you still serve as the point of contact for them, but they can feel better about buying direct from the manufacturer, and the burden on you is reduced to manage inventory and billings.
Do you differentiate between ‘Reseller’ and ‘Distributor’?
We include ‘Distributor’ as a sub-set to what we classify as Resellers. Other types of Resellers include, Electrical Contractors that typically also handle the installations, Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) that typically handle the financing, or Value Added Resellers (VARs) that include the Energy Auditing and Energy Reduction Consulting as part of their services.
Your Stock/Pricing Program seems directed at the US domestic market only?
Independence LED has a wholesale “Flex Exchange” program that was initially designed to give U.S. Resellers the ability to stock the most common types of tubes but not have to pay a restocking charge if the ones that they stocked did not sell for some reason. Given the growing overseas demand, Independence LED is prepared to extend the same program to the overseas market. The logistics may include this path. If a Reseller has stock inventory that they would like to exchange, then Independence LED may request that the Reseller holds that initial inventory until directed to ship it to another Reseller that may be closer to them than to the U.S. based Independence LED. Basically, Independence LED wants to avoid burdening the sales network on unnecessary cost of shipping.
Do the prices stated include the external driver and if so is this on driver per fitting basis only?
The Independence LED prices include the cost of the external driver, which is based on one driver per tube. Independence LED offers MultiDriver Technology, with options such as a dual, triple, and quad system where the drivers power more than one tube. This has certain advantages such as installation efficiency. Independence LED also offers different types of Drivers that have different features such as Dimming and Smart Control Technology. Independence LED may offer certain LED Tubes at wholesale separately from the Drivers.
What would be the distributor & export pricing basis?
Independence LED bases the pricing for exports on its manufacturing hard cost and margins plus market factors such as competition, import taxes, cost of electricity in certain countries, and the Return on Investment (ROI) levels that an end user needs to realize to make a purchase.
What would be the shipping/freight and taxes for export?
Shipping costs are subject to the size of the order and the desired speed of the delivery. Independence LED’s Authorized Resellers choose the shipping path and carrier that works best for their needs on account by account basis, and the Resellers pay for the cost of shipping accordingly.
Technically is your LED Tube product and Driver sustainable for the International market (ie 230 V+10%−6% (253–216.2 V), and 50 Hz)?
We have a strong demand for LED tubes with rotating/lockable end caps, but we cannot see any reference to this in details provided?
Independence LED understands the fundamental need for beam angle adjustment. The engineering and patent filing of the company’s entire linear illumination system is based on an External Driver that is ‘Independent” of the pins and tombstones that hold the tubes. Internal and External Driver LED tubes rely on the electrical circuit through the end caps, in the same way that fluorescent tubes are powered through their pins. Independence LED powers the tubes directly from the External Driver to the Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs). This allows for total beam angle adjustment and control since the tombstone is just for structural support and not for running the electricity. See the ‘Technology Differentiation” file and the ‘Asymmetrical Features’ file located on this page: http://independenceled.com/BootCamp
Is your warranty applicable for exports to International Markts?
Our standard T8 Fluorescent Tube is rated at 36w plus the added consumption for Capacitor, Ballast & Starter which is around 10w higher than your literature shows – please explain?
The most common US market 4′ fluorescent T8s are rated at 32 watts, and the added Ballast factor typically lifts it up to 35 watts. The Ballast wattage penalty is typically less than 10 watts per tube, because a Ballast typically powers two to four fluorescent tubes, depending on the fixture configuration. Given that the global manufacturers of fluorescent tubes are holding on to the technology as long as possible, there are new “Eco Ballasts” that have efficiency factors such as .85. These Ballasts have the ability to reduce the wattage on the 4′ fluorescent tubes to marginally below 30 watts. Since the Independence LED 4′ tube has come down from the earlier generation of 15 watts, the best of fluorescent still has more than twice the operating wattage of the LED equivalent.
Do you have any T5 LED replacement products available or planned?
Yes. Since the Independence LED Tube system has the External Independent Driver, the LED Tubes can replace any fluorescent tube. Given that a 4′ T5 is shorter than a typical 4′ T8 or T12, Independence LED provides UL approved fastener “clips” to hold the new LED Tube in place next to the existing T5 tombstones. Independence LED also has strategic manufacturing partnerships to deliver LED tubes to fit into T5 length and tombstone fixture housings. Our industry relationships along with our engineering and manufacturing capabilities give us the ability to provide custom commercial LED lighting solutions with agility and at cost-effective rates.