Benefits of LED Lighting Technology in Healthcare Facilities Design

Controllability is an important aspect of design for lighting in healthcare facilities. The healthcare industry is seeing an escalation in demand for lighting designs that create calming environments and offer flexible lighting options to increase patient comfort. To meet the demands of the industry, lighting designs often include complex controls and specialty lighting fixtures to address patient and clinical needs; all while meeting the mandatory lighting requirements of the applicable hospital design standards and building codes. With the need and requirement for more versatile, scalable, and customizable lighting control increasing, LED technology rises to the top of the list as a viable solution. The use of LED lighting in the design of healthcare facilities allows designers to effectively meet the control requirements while maintaining lighting levels for procedures and vital tasks, reducing energy consumption, providing greater infection control, and reducing maintenance demands.

LED lighting has many notable qualities that make it an ideal solution for healthcare facilities in both new and renovation projects. LED fixtures are easily controlled, allowing for a wide range of options for staff and patients. Dimming drivers are standard in most LED fixtures and, unlike fluorescent fixtures, they do not require special ballasts and hardware which makes making dimming both simple and cost effective. LED fixtures also provide significantly longer lamp life than comparable fluorescent fixtures, with which frequent on-off and dimming control further shortens lamp life and increases the frequency of lamp replacement. Most LED fixtures have been designed with sealed lighting units which reduces the buildup of bacteria on the fittings, helping to provide greater infection control. Using LED lighting can also greatly reduce energy consumption in a building because they provide higher lumen outputs at lower input wattages than comparable fluorescent fixtures, which makes them conducive to meeting increasingly demanding building energy code requirements. An added benefit of reducing the average lighting power density in a building is the equivalent reduction in cooling load for the building HVAC system.  The effective reduction in cooling requirements related to LED versus fluorescent fixtures is often overlooked when evaluating the return on investment of utilizing LED lighting on a project.

Energy-efficient, low-maintenance LED fixtures have additional benefits for healthcare facilities as well. For example, LED fixtures are an excellent choice for an MRI facility. Traditional fluorescent fixtures cannot be used in MRI scan rooms for many reasons so manufacturers typically recommend the use of either incandescent or LED technology. Incandescent lamps have a relatively short lamp life and require significantly higher input watts per lumen than LED fixtures. By locating the drivers remotely, and wiring through an RF filter, LED fixtures are appropriate and listed for use in an MRI room. LED fixtures also provide a great lighting solution in sensitive areas, such as neo-natal intensive care units (NICU). LED lighting does not emit any UV component, providing a safer environment for at-risk infants.

If you would like more information regarding the use of LED lighting in the design of healthcare facilities, or if you would like assistance with an upcoming project, please contact Marlena R. MacPherson at or (717) 845-7654.