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Significant performance and reliability improvements made in light emitting diode (LED) technology have enabled LED-based fittings to be used in place of traditional lighting solutions such as high intensity discharge (HID) and fluorescent sources. This paper details the advantages and disadvantages of LED fittings against traditional fittings as well as other `long life' lighting technologies. The paper also demonstrates how LED fittings may be used to improve safety and reliability in harsh, hazardous and extreme environments while improving the quality of light and reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO). Long-term case studies of LED fittings installed on end user sites reveal lighting practices that lead to direct improvements in facilities lighting, demonstrate how maintenance and safety concerns impact total cost of ownership and how LED light fittings perform in difficult environments such as shock, vibration and extreme cold This paper will also demonstrate how, by combining strategic area illumination concepts and the proper LED luminaire installation practices for hazardous environments, significant improvements in overall facility safety and energy efficiency can result.