If you want to save on monthly and yearly operating expenses, look up. Replacing your old-fashioned incandescent or fluorescent lights with LED lights can save your business money, improve comfort for your tenants, and help to protect the environment.
What are LED lights?
The "LED" in LED lights stands for Light Emitting Diode. The diodes are tiny electrical modules comprised of semiconductor material. When electrical currents pass through it, these materials light up. Because each diode produces an individually small amount of light, clustering the diodes together produces a brightness equivalent to or greater than an incandescent bulb. If you look at an LED bulb, you might see several filaments that look like filaments inside of an incandescent bulb. Each filament is made of dozens of tiny diodes that connect in series.
How are LEDs different?
Regular incandescent lightbulbs haven't changed their design much since Edison's era, and their design flaws—which were tolerable back then—are no longer acceptable. Incandescent bulbs work by applying electrical energy to a tungsten wire. That causes the tungsten to heat until it begins to glow, producing visible light. LED materials also glow when electrified, but it takes a much smaller voltage to produce light.
LED lights are more efficient
Incandescent lights are very inefficient. For comparison, a fluorescent bulb can produce the same amount of light as an incandescent bulb, but a fluorescent bulb might only consume 15 watts verses 60 watts for an incandescent bulb—and even less for an LED bulb at 7-10 watts!
National Resources Canada shows that commercial lighting can make up to 13.5% of energy costs in commercial settings. That makes fluorescent and metal halide fixtures worth replacing.
You can save even more with lower maintenance costs because the need to replace fluorescent/metal halide lamps and ballasts on an ongoing basis is virtually eliminated. LEDs operate in both hot and cold environments with no startup time needed or a cool down period. This means, with the addition of controls such as auto dimming or vacancy sensors, the correct amount of light is present when needed while also saving money.
Who wants to spend their time changing lightbulbs?
Although cost alone is a strong argument for switching to LEDs, other types of lighting are still preferred by some. Some say that “true” color is muted with LED lighting but with newer technology that argument is losing steam with LEDs coming very close to matching the attributes of natural sunlight.
Early LED fixtures had their issues regarding the hue and brightness, but this is no longer the case. Right now, it's simple to find LED fixtures that are equal to fluorescent or metal halide fixtures in terms of brightness and hue. The LED fixtures can produce the soft warm orange glow that is common with incandescent fixtures in a fancy restaurant or have the bright crisp hue that you would see in a sports arena.
A key difference when it comes it to lighting is how the light is portrayed. A fluorescent or metal halide produces light in all directions, much like the sun with rays everywhere. LEDs however produce light directionally like a laser beam. There is less light loss because the light being produced reaches the target as intended instead of being directed elsewhere.
Finally, let's talk about the cost of LED fixtures as it compares to older technology such as fluorescent or metal halide. While LED fixtures were initially very expensive that cost difference has narrowed to a point where it makes sense to use LED fixtures. The projected lifespan and built-in controls available also make LEDs the logical choice for all situations.
Market your business as eco-friendly
LED fixtures aren't just more cost-effective than fluorescent or metal halide fixtures —they also have more built-in features. For example, many LED fixtures can be connected to Wi-Fi and controlled via smartphone, and some of them can change color on demand. If you're running a business, like a club or a restaurant, you can set the mood with minimal effort with LEDs. Other LEDs have features such as built-in Wi-Fi repeaters. If you want to upgrade your building's internet coverage inexpensively, LED bulbs may be the solution.
Lastly, LED bulbs can be a component of what's known as a "smart building." For example, your LED bulbs might already save energy, but what if you combined them with an application that automatically turned them off when there was no one in the room? Combining LEDs with instrumentation means that buildings can become even less expensive to operate while providing more conveniences for workers and tenants.
What this means is that you won't just save energy from switching to LED. You can also market your business or your commercial building as a smart, environmentally friendly structure. Saving energy means that operating your building costs less, and you can pass these savings onto your tenants, making it even more attractive to rent space. In short, providing LED fixtures is a feature that can allow your building to generate revenue above and beyond the cost savings that these fixtures introduce.
What are LED fixtures?
LED fixtures are made with light-emitting diodes. These are small digital components made of semiconductor materials that illuminate when exposed to electricity.
Why are LED fixtures more efficient?
LED technology allows more light to be produced than heat which means the light output is greater compared to other sources such as incandescent, fluorescent or metal halide.
How long does an LED fixture last?
An LED fixture can last up to 100,000 hours and still provide the light levels as intended but may slightly diminish as time evolves. It’s more likely that the lights are replaced for aesthetic reasons than because they have stopped working.