Kansas Chapter initiates project to provide LED security lights
By Craig Volland
The Kansas Chapter is providing seed money for a renewed effort to help citizens in low-income neighborhoods save energy and reduce electricity bills, while contributing to efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Background. From 2009 to 2014, the Chapter partnered with Executive Committee member Richard Mabion and his Kansas City non-profit, J. Gordon Community Development, Inc., to develop a climate change education program for Wyandotte County. This led to an effort to install energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) at selected residences, public housing units, and neighborhood businesses, such as daycare centers.
Inner city residents are very concerned about security and use flood and porch lights during nighttime hours. This presented a good opportunity to save energy. CFLs are not well suited for outdoor application and take a long time to reach full illumination in cold weather.
New Project. Since 2014, light-emitting diode (LED) lamp technology has greatly improved, and the price has declined significantly. Outdoor lamps, both floods and porch lamps, are available for both “damp” and “wet” locations, and start instantly at full illumination. They generally use only 9 to 11 watts for 800 lumens, suitable for outdoor security, compared to 65-75 watts for the old incandescent bulbs. LED floods providing 650 lumens can be obtained cheaply and use as little as 8 watts.
LEDs for “damp” applications can be installed under overhangs and in protected porch fixtures. LEDs for “wet” locations are more expensive, but can be installed where directly in contact with rain and snow. Most homes can be properly supplied by installing 1 or 2 porch lamps and 3 or 4 floodlights.
LEDs have been installed at eleven residences so far. The photo on the right shows Ms. Bee Lee beneath one of her home’s security lights.
While this fixture was located under an overhang, Richard decided it was too vulnerable to wind-blown rain and installed a “wet location” bulb instead.
The photo below shows another floodlight at Ms. Bee’s house. She asked Richard to return later to service that one because the bird nest there still had babies in it. We heartily approve! You can see the first light beaming in the far background during a test.
Mrs. Chiles had learned about replacing the old incandescent lamps inside her home from one of Richard’s presentations, but one LED kept going out. He explained that LEDs don’t work well in a closed fixture (due to heat build-up). When he arrived with the outdoor LEDs, he also brought CFL bulbs for two indoor globe-type fixtures.
This effort is going well so far. However, we are still learning about outdoor settings at individual homes that present very different challenges compared to inserting CFLs inside a residence. We hope to expand the project next year possibly in partnership with the NAACP.