LED lights add to mixed-use development’s sense of place

By Andy Owens
aowens@scbiznews.com
Published Sept. 23, 2013

A mixed-use commercial development in Summerville is using a specific type of lighting to minimize light pollution, maximize brightness and cover the higher costs over time.

The Nexton project being developed by MWV in Berkeley County is designed to focus on retail, office, and research and development, along with residential and recreational options.

Part of that philosophy of making a place that’s both livable and workable involves the lighting infrastructure, said Joe Barnes, director of design for MWV. Barnes and his team approached Berkeley Electric Cooperative about using LED lights. The light-emitting diode technology costs more initially but has fewer maintenance costs and can save on electricity over time.

LED lights line the streets at the Nexton development in Berkeley County. The company chose the LED lights to provide adequate lighting that is cost-effective over time and provide less light pollution to the surrounding area. (Photo/MWV)
LED lights line the streets at the Nexton development in Berkeley County. The company chose the LED lights to provide adequate lighting that is cost-effective over time and provide less light pollution to the surrounding area. (Photo/MWV)
“We partnered with Berkeley Electric to be the first development to bring LED lighting to the streets at Nexton,” Barnes said. “We just opened Brighton Park Boulevard and have installed more than 60 there and along Rose Drive.”

Barnes said MWV intends to use LED lights throughout the Nexton project. The Nexton team traveled with Berkeley Electric to Peachtree City in the Atlanta area to make the selection of which lights to purchase.

“As you likely know, this is a significant statement about sustainability, because those lights use 50% less energy,” Barnes said.

John Hall, manager of distribution design for Berkeley Electric, said the cooperative carries a specific selection of lights for commercial customers to choose from, and the selection is finite because those lights must be maintained and kept in inventory since they are leased to the customers.

“We kind of showed them what we had and what we were carrying at the time,” Hall said. “Looking at their design and what they wanted and what they were planning on and the look they were after, everything we had was traditional-
type lighting.”

Going from a less-expensive, typical lighting to LED was not a decision the cooperative made lightly. So choosing a specific LED light to carry was a long-term investment for the cooperative. The cooperative selected several lights and found one that met all of MWV’s requirements and was something Berkeley Electric could stock and maintain as a lease option.

“They liked it because it had that certain look they were looking for: European and sleek,” Hall said. He said once the Nexton team went to Peachtree City, they liked what they saw and were sold.

Barnes said using LED lights allows designers to focus where the light will hit, giving adequate lighting but less light pollution compared with traditional lights. Part of that is because LED lights focus down without light spilling out and up.

“The lifespan is significantly longer, and they don’t lose intensity over time,” Barnes said. “Also what’s nice about LED lighting — you don’t have the hot spots and cold spots you might have with traditional lighting. It lights the surface, so you don’t have uplighting.”

Reach Andy Owens 843-849-3142.

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