Before LED lighting became the powerhouse that it is today, metal halide lights were the most common form of commercial lighting. The reason is that they can be purchased for a relatively cheap price and that they are extremely bright lights. Nowadays, however, metal halide lights are at best outdated.

LED lighting provides a long-lasting, economical alternative that saves you money and minimizes energy usage. As the technology becomes more and more commonplace, LEDs are also becoming less expensive. Making the switch from metal halide to LED in your warehouse, factory, sports stadium, or parking lot may appear to be an intimidating task but in reality, and with the right help, it’s a smooth process.

We’ve been in this space for a while now, and along the way, we’ve received countless questions about how to replace metal halide lights with LEDs. Some of the most common questions are:

“How many LED watts does it take to replace a 1000-watt metal halide bulb?”

“How can I replace my metal halide light?”

“Is it even possible to replace my metal halide fixture with another technology?”

Can You Replace Metal Halide Bulbs with LED?

Yes, you can. A 400-watt metal halide bulb can be replaced with a 150-watt LED, while a 1000-watt bulb can be replaced with a 300-watt LED. Using LED bulbs instead of metal halide can lead to a 70%+ reduction in energy usage.

Fortunately, replacing metal halide with LED is simple.  The top two questions require a bit more of an explanation than just a simple, one-line answer.

In this blog article, we’ll tell you how you can replace your old metal halide lights with LED, how many lumens you need, and how to avoid the pitfalls many make when doing this conversion.

What LED Wattage Replaces 1000-Watt Metal Halide?

It seems like a straightforward question, but the reality is that it’s a little more complicated than that. LEDs are designed for lower energy consumption, and as such, naturally have a lower wattage.

 

This means that a 300-Watt LED High Bay is much, much brighter than a 1000-Watt Metal Halide High Bay. Or you can replace a 1000-Watt Metal Halide Shoebox with a 300 Watt LED Shoebox.

 

Therefore, you cannot base your decision on watts. Instead, you need to focus on the number of lumens you need. Once you have that figured out, finding a replacement fixture is easy.

 

What LED is equivalent to a 1000-Watt HPS? 300 Watt LED lighting fixtures typically have an output close to that of a 10000 watt HPS light. They can deliver light that lasts longer with lower energy consumption.

Fabrication Shop Converting Over to LED

Four Things to Consider When Comparing 1000-Watt Metal Halide Bulbs with LED

1. Lumens Loss

Even if you are using a brand new 1000-Watt metal halide bulb, there is a second factor that contributes to lumen loss and that is the need to use a reflector to focus light. When light is created by an omnidirectional bulb, like a metal halide, it needs reflectors to gather, collect, and focus the light so it can be directed to where it’s needed.

If a light lumen does more than one bounce inside the reflector, it essentially loses its effectiveness. Reflector design is a science. The better it’s designed, the fewer lumens are lost inside the fixture. A metal halide bulb can lose up to 30% of its light in the reflected light bounce.

LED light is directional. It does not need reflectors. Sometimes LED lights incorporate optics to distribute the light in a specific pattern. This can also cause a lumen drop, but it’s nowhere near the lumen loss metal halide suffers from reflective bounce loss.

To put this in real numbers, a brand new 100,000-lumen Metal Halide Bulb may only be producing 70,000 actual lumens when installed in a fixture.

Make sure you understand the difference between metal halide bulb lumens and metal halide fixture lumens.

2. Quality of light beats Quantity of light!

There are already plenty of things to consider when replacing metal halides with LEDs, and we’re about to give you one more. In addition to knowing that LEDs produce a more consistent shine without loss of lumens due to reflection, you should also know that LEDs produce a much higher quality of light. How do we know that? Well, we’ll tell you.

In order to determine the quality of lumens, lighting engineers use something called Color Rendering Index, or CRI. LEDs are available in a wide range of CRIs, starting at about 70 with an upper end of about 98. Metal Halide is actually not that bad, they are offered in a range from 60 to 90. Where LED and Metal Halide really shine is when compared to High Pressure Sodium, which has a CRI of about 22.

CRI matters. In essence, you need fewer lumens when you have higher quality.

Color Rendering Index Representation

3. Photopic vs Scotopic Lumens – and the use of S/P Ratios

Photopic lumens is light that is detected by a light-measuring device, like a light meter or camera. Scotopic lumens is light detectable by the human eye.

Why is this relevant? Well, LEDs produce predominantly Scotopic lumens. In fact, it’s extremely rare for LEDs to produce any light in invisible spectrums, like UV or IR, unless LED Chips were added to create those spectrums. This is not the case with other types of lighting technologies, like metal halide.

In the lighting industry, S/P ratios were developed to try and level the lighting playing field. Let’s study 2 bulbs: a 1000-Watt High Pressure Sodium bulb that produces 100,000 lumens and a LED High Bay that produces 45,000 lumens. When you install both bulbs, the area under the LED light appears brighter. But how can that be? 100,000 is more than 45,000 lumens. That’s where S/P ratios come in.

Using these same bulbs, scientists have assigned S/P Ratios to each bulb based on the quality of light they produce.

LED S/P ratio: 2.0
High Pressure Sodium S/P ratio: 0.5

The scotopic lumens supplied by each of the light sources will then be the following:

LED scotopic lumens = 45,000 lumens x 2.0 = 90,000 lumens
HPS scotopic lumens = 100,000 lumens x 0.5 = 50,000 lumens

This is why LED appears brighter. Our eyes detect the higher-quality light, and it appears brighter than low-quality light sources.

1000 watt metal halide to led conversion

4. LED Lumens vs Metal Halide Lumens

Essentially, a lumen is a unit of light. It’s the way in which we measure how bright light output is, and it’s how you’ll determine which LED light is best to replace your 1000-watt metal halides.

How many lumens is a 1000-Watt metal halide?

A 1000-Watt metal halide bulb has between 60,000 and 110,000 lumens output when it is brand new. This output will tend to decrease by 30% after about 5,000 hours of runtime.

You do not need to use 1000 Watts of LED to replace a 1000-Watt Metal Halide. Don’t focus on watts, focus on the lumens you need to meet your lighting requirements.

In the above example, the metal halide bulb is operating between 60 and 100 lumens per watt. How do we know this? It’s a simple calculation of dividing the lumens of the bulb by the watts consumed.

 

A 1000-Watt Metal Halide bulb producing 100,000 lumens is operating at 100 lumens/watt. While these numbers are not horrible, you must remember that Metal Halide bulbs suffer from quick and immediate lumen degradation. 100 lumens per watt is the best they will ever do. Within 6 months of use, don’t be surprised to see a considerable lumen drop.

 

From the instant you first flip the switch, the bulb becomes less and less bright. Considering metal halide half-life f around 7500 hours of use. That same metal halide bulb which was producing 100,000 lumens may now only be producing 50,000 lumens at its first half-life. Unfortunately, it still consumes 1000 watts and the energy draw is the same throughout the life of the bulb.

 

At about 5,000 hours of run time, you’ll find that the 1000-Watt metal halide bulb has reached its L70 point. L70 defines the time it takes for a bulb to reach 70% of its initial lumen output. To give you some context, the L70 time of LED lights is anywhere from 50,000 to 200,000 hours (depending on the chips used).

How Many LED Lumens Do You Need to Replace 1000-Watt Metal Halide?

If you haven’t noticed by now, there really isn’t an exact answer. Only a lighting plan can tell you exactly how much you need. Between higher CRI, lower energy consumption, and available color temperatures, replacing metal halide lights with LEDs can get a little bit complicated. But in our 12+ years of selling LED lighting, you can use this as a starting place:

Indoors: 45,000 to 65,000 lumens (depending on the application and mounting height)

Outdoors: 40,000 to 75,000 lumens (depending on the application and mounting height)

You’ll find that in some instances you can cut energy consumption by up to 75% when replacing a metal halide light. Most LEDs have an efficiency rating of about 130 – 200 lumens/watt.

New-generation LEDs tend to be more efficient than older chips. It’s a good indication of what you are buying – look at the efficiency of the LED fixture you are looking to buy.

 

1000 watt metal halide output

The Easy Path to Replace 1000-Watt Metal Halide

 

All you need to do is ask us to run a free lighting plan. To replace 1000-Watt metal halides, start with deciding how many foot candles you need. Supply us with your project information and let us take it from there.

Why do we do this for free? You’ll find out that having a successful conversion to LED is just as important to us as it is to you.

Convention Center Lighting Plan

About the Author

Dwayne Kula is President of LED Lighting Supply. On any given day, Dwayne is writing content for the site and helps manage the marketing initiatives that are on-going. He has a Software Engineering degree and still dabbles in writing software for the company as needed. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, working out, playing the occasional game of golf and exploring New England.

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