Correctional facilities place a high priority on safety, security, and operational efficiency. LED lighting systems can help meet or exceed performance standards in all three of these areas. Due to the instant-on and dimming capabilities of LED systems, new control methods are now practical and promise to allow even greater performance.
LED lighting can improve safety in all areas of correctional facility management by increasing uniformity which eliminates dark or poorly lit areas in corridors and common areas. Correctional facility employees are able to monitor both interior and exterior areas when they are fully and uniformly illuminated. Since LED lighting has a higher color rendering index (CRI), LED systems better replicate natural lighting and make it easier for observers to see contrasts among colors and surfaces.
Conventional lighting requires frequent maintenance which is inconvenient and possibly dangerous to personnel. Often detainees need to be moved and relocated for extended periods of time while maintenance is performed. This can cause overcrowding and other issues. Due to the long mean-time-between-failure (MTBF) that properly designed LED fixtures provide, this hazard can be virtually eliminated.
As a solid-state technology, LED lighting is inherently vibration resistant and can withstand impacts that would knock out incandescent or fluorescent fixtures. Additionally, conventional lighting fails without warning and can leave a large area dark – requiring immediate service. LED correctional facility lighting systems incorporate multiple LED light engines and driver electronics so that only a portion of the light is affected in the event of a failure. Fixture placement and optics selection can also provide a layering effect so that multiple fixtures contribute to an area’s lighting.
LED operational efficiency is unparalleled in the illumination industry. LED lighting systems can generate the same or better illumination vs. traditional lighting systems while running from 50% less energy. The initial cost of retrofitting or installing LED systems can be recovered in as little as twelve to eighteen months. Since LED fixtures provide 50,000 to 100,000 hours of operation life, a correctional facility’s maintenance and repair costs will also be reduced through the use of LED lighting.
Correctional facilities that are prone to power outages will appreciate the nearly instant full output of LED lighting. High pressure sodium or metal halide fixtures can require over fifteen minutes to come to full illumination. With their lower energy needs, LEDs can be run from stored battery power as an additional back-up between generator startup during a power failure. LEDs can also be dimmed for further energy savings when not needed but then brought to full power as manual or automatic controls dictate.