LEDs have swept the conventional lighting marketplace for a variety of reasons, most notably their extended lifespans, reduced energy consumption and lower maintenance requirements. By 2030, the DOE estimates that LED lighting could save 190 terawatt hours of electricity per year, which equates to a whopping 15 billion. As the purchase price of lamps and fixtures continues to fall, more and more facility managers are looking to upgrade their lighting systems with LEDs, given their many benefits compared to traditional technologies. Following are eight advantages for all store decision makers to consider:
1 | Energy efficiency
LED lights use about 50 percent less electricity than traditional incandescent, fluorescent and halogen options, resulting in substantial energy cost savings, especially for stores with lights that are on for extended periods. LEDs also aim light in a specific direction unlike conventional bulbs, which emit light—and heat—in all directions (because LEDs are mounted on a flat surface, they emit light hemispherically rather than spherically). This directional lighting capability reduces wasted light and energy.
2 | Extended life
Unlike incandescent lighting, LEDs don’t “burn out” or fail, they merely dim over time. Quality LEDs have an expected lifespan of 30,000–50,000 hours or even longer, depending on the quality of the lamp or fixture. A typical incandescent bulb lasts only about 1,000 hours; a comparable compact fluorescent lasts 8,000 to 10,000 hours. With a longer operational life, LEDs can reduce labor costs of replacing bulbs in commercial situations, achieving a lower maintenance lighting system.
3 | Cold temperature operation
LEDs love the cold unlike fluorescent lamps. At low temperatures, higher voltage is required to start fluorescent lamps, and luminous flux (the perceived power or intensity of light) is decreased. In contrast, LED performance increases as operating temperatures drop. This makes LEDs a natural fit for refrigerated display cases, freezers and cold storage spaces in addition to outdoor applications such as the parking lot, store perimeter and signage. DOE testing of an LED refrigerated case light measured 5 percent higher efficacy (the efficiency of a light source in lumensper-watt, like miles-per-gallon) at -5°C, compared to operation at 25°C.
4 | Durability
Without filaments or glass enclosures, LEDs are breakage resistant and largely immune to vibrations and other impacts. Traditional lighting is usually contained in a glass or quartz exterior, which can be susceptible to damage. LEDs, on the other hand, tend not to use any glass, instead they are mounted on a circuit board and connected with soldered leads that can be vulnerable to direct impact, but no more so than mobile phones and similar small electronic devices.
5 | Instant on
Most fluorescent and HID lamps do not provide full brightness the moment they’re switched on, with many requiring three minutes or more to reach maximum light output. LEDs come on at 100-percent brightness almost instantly however, and with no restrike delay. For retailers, this can be advantageous following a power outage or anytime employees open the store during early morning hours when it is still dark outside.
6 | Rapid cycling
Traditional light sources tend to have a shorter lifespan the more they’re switched on and off, whereas LEDs are unaffected by rapid cycling. In addition to flashing light displays, this capability makes LEDs well suited for use with occupancy or daylight sensors.
7 | Controllability
It can take more than a few euro to make commercial fluorescent lighting systems dimmable, but LEDs, as semiconductor devices, are inherently compatible with controls. Some LEDs can even be dimmed to 10 percent of light output while most fluorescents only reach about 30 percent of full brightness. LEDs also offer continuous, opposed to step-level, dimming (where the shift from 100-to-10-percent light output is smooth and seamless, not tiered).
8 | No IR or UV Emissions
Less than 10 percent of the power used by incandescent lamps is actually converted to visible light; the majority of the power is converted into infrared (IR) or radiated heat. Excessive heat and ultraviolet radiation (UV) presents a burn hazard to people and materials. LEDs emit virtually no IR or UV. Rapid advancements in LED lighting technologies, with more improvements on the horizon, have resulted in lowered costs and increased reliability of LEDs. And while it may be tempting to assume LEDs are the right choice for all applications because of their energy efficiency, selection should be based on a combination of factors, including light quality and distribution, dimmability, and expected lifetime.
LED lights are up to 80% more efficient than traditional lighting such as fluorescent and incandescent lights. 95% of the energy in LEDs is converted into light and only 5% is wasted as heat. This is compared to fluorescent lights which convert 95% of energy to heat and only 5% into light! LED lights also draw much less power than traditional lighting; a typical 84 watt fluorescent can be replaced by a 36 watt LED to give the same level of light. Less energy use reduces the demand from power plants and decreases greenhouse gas emissions.
No Toxic Elements
LED lights contain no toxic elements. Most offices currently use fluorescent strip lights which contain noxious chemicals such as mercury. This will contaminate the environment when disposed of in landfill waste. Disposal has to be arranged through a registered waste carrier so switching to LED avoids the cost and time implications required for compliant disposal – and helps to protect the environment from further toxic waste.
Less Lights Needed
LEDs have a better quality of light distribution and focus light in one direction as opposed to other types of lighting which waste energy by emitting light in all directions, often illuminating areas where light isn’t required (such as the ceiling). This means that less LED lights are needed to achieve the same level of brightness given off by fluorescents and incandescent lights. Fewer lights will reduce energy consumption and will therefore be a benefit to the environment.
A longer life span means lower carbon emissions. LED Lights last up to six times longer than other types of lights, reducing the requirement for frequent replacements. This results in using fewer lights and hence fewer resources are needed for manufacturing processes, packaging materials and transportation