October 2018 Edition: Considering LED Lighting? Here’s What You Should Know
Lighting is a significant contributor to your electricity usage, even in the middle of the day. Most businesses have interior lights on during operating hours, contributing up to 30% of your energy load during a summer peak. While the most effective way to reduce energy use from lighting is to turn them off, that isn’t your only option.
Light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs use less electricity and are often brighter than incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs. In fact, these bulbs will reduce your peak load and your annual energy costs. In this edition of Customer Insights, we’ll explore current technology, applications, costs and savings to help you decide if LED lighting is right for your business.
How Efficient is Your Facility?
If you upgraded your business to high efficiency fluorescent lighting, you may think your lighting system is energy efficient. However, for example, you saved 50% by replacing a 400-watt metal halide lamp with a T8 or T5 intensity fluorescent fixture, you can now replace that fluorescent fixture with LED and save another 50% without reducing light levels.
What Are the Benefits of Led Compared to High Efficiency Fluorescent?
Since their introduction a decade ago, LED fixtures have made great strides in efficiency and significant reductions in cost. The first LED fixtures used in upgrade projects were replacements for exterior fixtures such as wall packs, floods and area lights. As the market matured, there is now an LED product for every application and all the common applications are cost-effective.
One example of increased efficiency and technology is tubular LED lamps, typically meant to replace T8 lamps. When the first LED tubes came out five years ago, the cost per tube was nearly $100 and the light produced was insufficient. Since then, LED lamps have improved, providing higher light levels than fluorescent lamps with reduced cost less than $10 per tube.
One thing to note about falling LED prices is that although costs are flattening out, recently enacted tariffs will increase prices moving forward. Speak with a trusted lighting contractor if delaying a project should be considered.
Retrofit vs. New Fixtures
Using retrofit products is a cost-effective way to capture the benefits of LED technology if the existing fixture is in good shape. The most common retrofit is using LED tubes to replace existing linear fluorescent tubes.
Underwriters Laboratory (UL) has classified tubular LED’s into three categories:
There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to all three of these categories, and you should thoroughly discuss them with your lighting contractor before making a decision.
On the other hand, new fixtures can provide advantages over retrofit options, including updated fixture aesthetics, improved light distribution and longer-rated life of the product. Depending on the extent of your project and budget, new fixtures may be worth the additional cost. Replacing high bay and exterior fixtures is recommended for improved lighting of large areas and new fixtures typically have a significantly lower cost of maintenance.
Incorporating lighting controls into a project can contribute substantially to both savings and cost. Controls can range from simple hard-wired occupancy sensors to a wireless network where each fixture can be controlled from any internet connected device.
There are a variety of incentive programs available that make the financial side of an LED project more attractive by providing a cash rebate. It’s important to understand all of the various incentive programs and requirements or work with an experienced contractor, such as Lighting Services, that does.
Upgraded, modern lighting creates a positive impact on customers, employees and your business’ bottom line. Look for a reputable lighting contractor who can handle your project from conception through completion.
Interested in Learning More?
Is your business considering an LED project? Find out more by contacting:
Business Development Manager
Lighting Services, Inc.
Market Overview – AEP Energy Trading
Power PJM – Ohio
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