One of the most common question that is being asked today in the lighting industry is whether the time is right to switch to LEDs. The answer for the most part is, yes with a few exceptions. Below are some thoughts that may help if you are considering retrofitting your business to LED lights.
What type of lights are you currently using?
If the answer is incandescent (including halogen) then its a no brainer. Switch to LEDs. LEDs use a fraction of the energy as incandescent bulbs and can last 20 times longer. The payback period for retrofitting incandescent to LEDs is usually less than a year and can be as little as a few months especially if government grants are considered (Many if not most provinces and states offer these).
Fluorescent. For the most part the answer is yes. LEDs use less than half of the energy that fluorescent lamps use and last many times longer. LEDs are also compatible with dimmers and motion sensors, further reducing energy consumption in areas like garages and warehouses. However, It may be a good idea to wait until the old fluorescent bulbs burn out if the lights are kept on only for a few hours.
HID (High Intensity Discharge) – Although HIDs are much more efficient than incandescent and fluorescent, they still consume considerably more energy than LEDs. In some cases HID’s can be replaced with LEDs to cut the energy consumption by 70 percent. Quality of light emitted by HID lamps is amongst the worst – considerably limiting their use and utility. Additionally, lumen output of HIDs depreciates much more rapidly than LEDs, making their replacement necessary. Bottom line: it is time to start looking for replacements for HIDs and LEDs are a perfect fit.
How long are the lights on for?
If the lights are on for more than a few hours then it makes sense to switch to LEDs. If the light are only turned on for a few hours or as needed – in storage rooms etc. – then it might be a good idea to wait until the bulbs burn out. Ultimately the earlier you switch, the earlier the savings will begin and the lesser it will cost to light your facility.
There are other advantages to LEDs. They turn on instantly and do not flicker. LEDs are also much are much more compact than traditional lamps allowing a much more versatile use. LEDs are also advantageous when it comes to color temperature, i.e. color of light, LEDs can be much more versatile and colors can be adjusted in many cases.
Since LEDs are semiconductors that give off light, they do not burn out as often. LEDs on average have a lifespan of around 25,000 hours and some can last up to 100,000 hours. Compare this with incandescent lamps with a lifespan of 2,000 hours, fluorescent and HID of less than 10,000 hours. This means having LEDs will result in fewer replacements and saving precious resources that go in purchasing and replacing burnt out bulbs. As a result businesses with LEDs can cut their operational cost by saving a lot in maintenance cost in addition to the energy savings.
Over the next decade, we will see most of the lights around us replaced with LEDs. Businesses and consumers alike are catching up with the technology and enjoying enormous financial benefits while helping the environment. Keep an eye on the lights around you.