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04 Dec 2018
holiday lighting

Office Lighting Safety Guide During the Holiday Season

From a variety of styles, sizes, and colors, holiday lights are one of the most common office holiday decorations. For safety, it is important to realize which lighting options are best for your office. Plus, holiday lights will also require a source of power with the proper use of power strips or extension cords. Prevent potential office hazards by discovering our office lighting safety guide during the holiday season.

Best Holiday Lighting Option

LED lights are the best choice for holiday lights. In comparison to incandescent light bulbs, LED lights are energy efficient. For one, they use up 75 percent less electricity and last essentially 25 times longer. Most importantly, they are safe to use. Plus, utilizing LED lights reduces the risk of potential fires as they emit minimal heat. Spending a fortune already on holiday gifts? LED lights cost more up front, but last longer than other bulbs. The average rated life is up to 50,000 hours!

Lighting Tips

  • Avoid nailing or stapling light strings (to walls, roofs, etc.) to prevent impaired wire insulation.
  • Place lights over or above nails for outdoor lighting. Utilize hanging clips for indoor lighting.
  • Use a timer for holiday lighting can help prevent fire hazards and reduce energy consumption.
  • Use indoor lighting indoors, outdoor lighting outdoors (check packaging for usage instructions).

Power Strip vs Extension Cord

Holiday lights are often placed in unconventional places, such as ceilings or walls. Thus, several power sources to power office lighting may be required. Thankfully, that is where power strips and extension cords come in hand. For optimal safety, understand their differences. One, a power strip is an individual segment of a cable with one plug on the end with a row of sockets featured on a plastic box. Two, an extension cord is much longer and contains two or three plugs. Additionally, it is imperative to understand that power strips can be utilized for a period of a few days. Extension cords should only be used for hours on end.

Power Strip Holiday Tips

  • Avoid overloading power strips with major home appliances (space heater, oven). They are intended for small loads of power.
  • Do not exceed the maximum voltage on a power strip to avoid catastrophic electrical fires and malfunctioning appliances.
  • Abstain from overuse to avoid defecting devices. Power strips are not an efficient replacement for electrical outlets.
  • Always check for a surge protection device. This helps preserve equipment if a short/surge occurs.
  • Lastly, avoid plugging power strips and extension cords into each other to prevent weakening equipment, device impairment, and worst case scenario—an office home.

Note: All it takes is staying proactive about lighting hazards. Also, pay attention to voltage ratings to remain safe during the holidays. Remember to not overuse and to time or turn off holiday lights when necessary. Happy Holidays!

Kirby Electric is a Premier Electrical Contractor Serving the Greater Seattle Area

As Seattle’s premier electric company, Kirby Electric specializes in commercial and industrial lighting. We provide top electrical services that best fit your building’s needs and present energy management solutions. Such solutions provide economically and environmentally beneficial services. Contact us today and request a quote at (253) 859-2000 or online here to learn more about our services.

18 Sep 2017
LED Lighting Myths

5 LED Lighting Myths Debunked by Kirby Electric

Lighting is essential with most everything we do—how we create it varies. Follow along to discover some of the most common and not so common LED lighting myths. Some of them may even surprise you!

LED Lighting Myths #1 – LED Bulbs Are Expensive

This is most definitely an LED lighting myth! Initial costs of LED lighting are usually higher; however, they require less energy to operate. This can result in significantly lower electric bills over time when compared to conventional systems. LED fixtures have a longer life, are more durable, and reliable, meaning they require less maintenance.  Annual lighting costs of LED lighting systems can reduce lighting bills up to 80%!

LED Lighting Myths #2 – LED’s Last Forever

Do LED bulbs really last forever? This is a myth. Like any light source, LED’s will fade over time. Although, well -designed LED lighting packages are said to retain 70% of their initial light output for six years or 50,000 hours. Furthermore, if you run your LED lighting system 24/7, you can expect your lights to last twice as long as fluorescents and many, many times longer than incandescent bulbs.

LED Lighting Myths #3 – LED’s Offer Poor Dimming Capabilities

This is most definitely an LED lighting myth! Kirby Electric’s LED lighting retrofits offer convenient, targeted dimming options based on your facility needs. Our advanced systems provide gradual dimming across a wide range of increments to create the perfect lighting conditions needed to carry out a productive workday.

LED Lighting Myths #4 – LED Bulbs Contain Mercury

LED bulbs absolutely do not contain mercury. Unlike their counterparts such as fluorescent and compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, which contain hazardous mercury. Inevitable heat released from lighting is also lower with LED lighting. This can be beneficial when building managers are looking to achieve optimal working conditions for employees.

LED Lighting Myths #5 – LED Lighting is Too Blue

This is a common misconception. When LED lighting was initially introduced, the bulbs were heavily scrutinized for producing a harsh, cool light. Thankfully LED lights have evolved and are offered in a wider range of softer, warmer hues. Now there is a bulb for each and every room, depending on the desired ambiance and effect you seek to create.

Kirby Electric is a Premier Electrical Contractor Serving the Greater Seattle Area

As Seattle’s premier electric company, Kirby Electric specializes in commercial and industrial lighting. We provide top electrical services that best fit your building’s needs and present energy management solutions. Such solutions provide economically and environmentally beneficial services. Contact us today and request a quote at (253) 859-2000 or online here to learn more about our services.

05 Mar 2015

4 Tips for Business Energy Efficiency

Business energy efficiency tips
The Give Grid
is an Australian project and website offering ways to save energy. The project provides benefits like free workshops, webinars, and plenty of information available on energy-saving. Because business energy efficiency can directly affect a company’s bottom line, finding ways to implement office retrofits and updates can be crucial.

On its site The Give Grid provides energy audits of various buildings around Australia. By showing efficiency opportunities for existing buildings, The Give Grid seeks to create models other businesses can follow to cut back on energy. Here are some tips culled from energy audits and The Give Grid to help increase your office’s efficiency.

Tip 1: Upgrade to LED

An energy audit of a 4,300-square-foot, single-story brick building revealed that 17% of annual energy costs went towards lighting. Part of the solution? Trading fluorescent tube lights for LEDs. Don’t overlook any lighting—you can even replace fluorescent exit signs with LED fixtures.

Tip 2: Unplug Equipment

A top-floor office space around 17,000-square-feet that houses 45 employees revealed a huge opportunity for energy savings. The office’s audit showed that computers, printers, and similar electronics pulled a significant amount of power—approximately half of the location’s energy. Part of the fix? Turning off equipment whenever possible.

Even when off or in standby or “sleep” mode, equipment can still eat energy. In this case of this office, 8% of the yearly electrical bill was for standby power. Solve this problem by unplugging equipment when possible so that it doesn’t have the opportunity to continue using power. Talk with your office’s IT department about whether you can unplug electronics like computers overnight to stop this energy loss.

Tip 3: Make Windows Energy-Efficient

For buildings with many windows or glass walls, like this Tasmania structure that was audited, energy film, lined curtains, and other window treatments designed to control temperature are recommended. Better controlled temperature means employees are less likely to be reaching for the thermostat and increasing energy costs.

Tip 4: Retrofit Watercoolers and Vending Machines

A common tip from the office audits was to add timers to vending machines and water coolers to save energy usage outside of business hours. The lighting and cooling capacities of vending machines utilize energy that isn’t needed when employees are out of the building for extended periods.

Update your office for energy savings that can balance your bottom line. Kirby Electric is experienced in updating existing or outdated systems and installing commercial lighting and electrical systems. See some of the businesses we’ve helped power around Washington.

About Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric is a premier Seattle electrical contractor specializing in commercial and industrial electrical contracting. As your local commercial electrician, we can help with any electrical needs when it comes to upgrading older buildings, including equipment hook ups, rewiring or relocating panels, and lighting upgrades. We also work with electrical companies like Puget Sound Energy, Tacoma Public Utilities, Lakeview Power and others that will provide a rebate for upgrading to a more efficient lighting upon approval of the project. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to get a quote.

(Image Courtesy of khunaspix via FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

23 Sep 2014

LEDs Expected to Change the Night Skies of Major U.S. Cities

LEDs

Major U.S. cities like New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle are slowly replacing their existing city street lights with more energy-efficient LED lights, a move that is already changing the way these cities look at night, according to a recent article in Forbes. Now, instead of the heavy orange glow people were accustomed to seeing at night when flying in to a city like L.A., a cool silver glow illuminates the city below, leading to blacker skies and brighter streets.

Can LEDs Cut Back on Light Pollution?

LEDs

Aside from enjoying the long-term energy savings of LEDs, many large cities are also hoping to reduce light pollution, a growing concern as our industrial civilization introduces more and more artificial light sources into our once-starry skies, the article indicated. While LEDs by themselves may not reduce light pollution, proponents believe that the true benefit of LEDs is calibrating them to use less light over all. For example, LEDs can also be connected to motion sensors, which can conceivably be used to scale back on lighting when there is no activity on the ground below.

Benefits of LEDs

It’s not surprising that major cities are willing to take on the heavy upfront costs of LED lights once the benefits are considered, which include the following:

  • While LEDs cost significantly more up front than traditional city streetlights, they last significantly longer and emit two to three times more light per watt.
  • Emitting more light per watt means LEDs can provide between 30% and 70% savings on electricity costs in a single year.
  • The digital chips that make up LEDs are only expected to get cheaper over the years.
  • LEDs can also be programmed for other purposes, allowing cities to monitor crime, track the location of power outages and even coordinate disaster relief efforts. Experts are already predicting a boom in lighting controls once LEDs flood the market.

Kirby Electric Provides Lighting Retrofits

While it’s encouraging to see municipalities investing in a cleaner environment for future generations, Kirby Electric has also noticed the move toward energy efficiency on a smaller scale — with our commercial and industrial customers. We are proud to help provide lighting retrofits for our customers that reduce energy costs while boosting the quality of the light in their facilities. We excel at designing state-of-the-art lighting packages that are low-maintenance and are “greener” overall.

About Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric is a premier electrical contractor in Seattle specializing in commercial and industrial electrical contracting. As your local industrial electrician, we can help with any electrical needs when it comes to upgrading older buildings, including equipment hook ups, rewiring or relocating panels, and lighting upgrades. We also work with electrical companies like Puget Sound Energy, Tacoma Public Utilities, Lakeview Power and others that will provide a rebate for upgrading to a more efficient lighting upon approval of the project. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to get a quote.

(Images via Forbes.com)

24 Jun 2014

Lighting Controls Might Take Off After LEDs Flood the Market

Lighting Controls Might Take Off After LEDs Flood the MarketFor many commercial and industrial operations, upgrading to long-lasting, energy-saving LED lighting systems is a no-brainer. Not only do these innovative new lighting systems help cut energy costs significantly, but they also provide a higher quality lighting solution to replace older, inadequate lighting systems in warehouses and other commercial settings.

As LEDs gain steam in both the commercial and residential markets, lighting manufacturers face a challenge while consumers enjoy the benefits of energy efficient lights. With modern LEDs lasting as long as 50,000 hours depending on usage, the slow replacement cycle has serious potential to sink revenues for lighting manufacturers, according to CE Pro.

Lighting Controls & Smart Lighting Projected to Boom

As the market becomes saturated with LEDs and fewer new bulbs are purchased to replace these long-lasting bulbs, lighting manufacturers will be faced with making one of three decisions, CE Pro explained:

  • Dramatically reduce the price of bulbs to boost sales before burnout (and thus chip away at their bottom line)
  • Decrease the lifetimes of the bulbs so consumers must replace them more often (and thus risk losing business to competitors whose bulbs have longer lifespans)
  • Develop new LED lights with advanced functionality, features and advanced controls that residential and commercial customers will want to adopt before their existing bulbs burn out

Since the first two options are not in the best interest of the manufacturer or the consumer, the lighting manufacturing industry is expected to make significant advancements in controls to keep consumers coming back for more.

In fact, one report from Navigant Research projects that over the next seven years, annual sales for occupancy sensors, photosensors and lighting network gear associated with LED lighting will grow from $1.1 billion in 2013 to $2.7 billion by 2020, according to Forbes.

Why Are Lighting Controls Expected to Boom?

Since LED lights involve semiconductors, they have great potential to be controlled in a variety of ways that commercial or residential customers might find beneficial. For example, the ability to dim the lights when it’s bright outside or turn off the lights when no one is present are money-saving options. Sophisticated sensors can be integrated to make the system smoothly gather data on a room’s temperature, occupancy and other factors and self-adjust accordingly, Forbes explained.

Other applications for sensors and controls associated with LED lights are as limitless as the minds that think up the ideas.  For example, the Forbes article noted that it was possible for sensors integrated with LED lighting on city streets to collect data on what parking spots are open on certain days and send it to a mobile app in real time. By the same token, a system with cameras could collect data on parked vehicles that could result in parking tickets being issued more efficiently.

The Takeaway

In conclusion, as LED lights become more prevalent in the U.S. and their cost goes down, lighting manufacturers are expected to develop new “smart LEDs” and innovative controls that will keep lighting manufacturers profitable and present residential and commercial consumers with more options than ever before for getting more out of their lighting systems.

About Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric is a premier electrical contractor in Seattle specializing in commercial and industrial electrical contracting. We can help with any electrical needs when it comes to upgrading older buildings, including equipment hook ups, rewiring or relocating panels, and lighting upgrades. We also work with electrical companies like Puget Sound Energy, Tacoma Public Utilities, Lakeview Power and others that will provide a rebate for upgrading to a more efficient lighting upon approval of the project. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to get a quote.