Advancements in technology across the board have let people live more efficient lives. Whether it be the accessibility of a smartphone or the fuel efficiency of a car, technology lets us do more with less. Switching to LEDs is just another way to improve efficiency. But unlike a phone or car, upgrading to LED lighting creates massive blanket improvements. LED lighting is better for both your budget, your employees, and the planet. It consumes less energy and lasts longer than traditional lighting setups. So, in reality, the question shouldn’t be “Why upgrade to LED lighting?” It should be, “How to upgrade to LED lighting?” Because when it comes down to it, LED lighting is the clear choice for offices, commercial facilities, warehouses, parking lots, factories and even schools.
Before Converting to LED Lighting
After Converting to LED Lighting
Traditional Bulbs – What You Have
To understand why LED lights are so much better than the other alternatives, it’s a good idea to take notice of what lights you currently have.
After all, you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. Here is a general overview of some of the most common types of lighting used in commercial and industrial settings today.
Metal halides, from which these bulbs get their names, are formed when metal and halogen elements combine.
Metal halide lamps produce light by passing an electrical current through metal halide gas.
Lifespan is short, at most 20,000 hours, and lumen degradation is quick – 50% loss of lumens at 1/2 life.
This is the most common type of office lighting. When introduced, it was a huge improvement over other bulbs.
Fluorescent lights last on average, 20 times longer than incandescent fixtures as well as offering a higher lumen output.
They also burn at a cooler temperature, which has been shown to increase productivity. However, these lights contain mercury which is dangerous to dispose of and can present problems if the light is broken while in use.
They are prone to flicker and hum near the end of their life.
Halogens belong to the incandescent light bulb family and are considered to be an enhanced version of other incandescent bulbs. As with any incandescent light bulb, in a halogen light, the electrical current enters the socket and travels through the tungsten filament.
It’s this electrical current that heats up the filament and produces light. Because of this, these lights are often extremely hot to the touch and can raise cooling costs.
Halogen light bulbs do not contain mercury, but the tungsten filaments are surrounded by iodine and bromine gases.
You’ll most often find these lights in outdated settings. Once considered environmentally friendly, because of the lack of mercury, standards have since risen and these bulbs have fallen by the wayside.
Incandescent fixtures are the least energy-efficient and have the shortest lifespan. The only benefit to these lights is that they do not need to warm up.
With a relatively weak light output and warm shine, you’ll most often find these bulbs acting as accent lighting. If you’re starting with these bulbs, you’ll be amazed the difference an LED light can make.
LED Lighting – Better in Every Aspect
LED lighting saves you money in more ways than one. From the get-go, LED lights provide a brighter shine with less wattage. This means when switching from a traditional bulb, you can get more light with less energy. Less energy means lower electric bills, which is always an improvement.
LED light bulbs require less energy to operate than other alternative light sources. This is the reason that you’ll see a significant reduction in your business’ operating costs.
But, it has other advantages as well. LEDs won’t just save you money on your monthly electric bill, they’ll help cut costs in other areas as well. Because they have a longer lifespan, at least 4x longer than other bulbs, you don’t need to replace them as often.
Taking into account the money saved on maintenance and operating costs, upgrading to LED lights in an office or commercial facility is the clear choice.
Take a quick look at how much LED light can save you over other types of bulbs. And, keep in mind that this is just for one single bulb. In a commercial or industrial facility where you’ll likely have hundreds of bulbs, your savings will be well into the thousands.
2. Light Quality
In addition to financial benefits, LEDs can provide an overall morale booster for any employees.
With a shine that sparkles around the same reading as daylight on the Color Rendering Index, colors appear more vibrant and shapes are more distinct.
Studies show that thanks to this high-quality light, employees are healthier, happier, and more productive than when working under traditional bulbs.
LED lighting has even been linked to a decrease in the usage of sick days. So, in addition to increasing energy efficiency, LEDs also increase employee efficiency. And, that just makes cents (dollars and cents that is).
3. Cost Effectiveness
Its well know LED saves money. Depending on the type of traditional lighting source you’re replacing, reducing your utility lighting bill starts at around 50% and goes up from there. Add in lighting controls, that dims the lights when there’s an absence of motion, and savings takes another huge favorable leap.
4. Other Advantages
In addition to the environmental and financial benefits of using high-efficiency LED office lighting, there are a few other benefits of making the switch that don’t often get a lot of attention:
LEDs contain no mercury dust, unlike fluorescent and HID bulbs
They’re durable, and more robust than glass tubes and bulbs
They’re instant on and off, and turning them on and off does not shorten their life
They work well with lighting controls – which has been a problem with traditional light source
5. Environmental Impact
Naturally, because they consume less energy and last longer, LEDs are better for the environment than other types of light sources.
Less energy consumption means less power plant emissions and a reduction in dependency on non-renewable sources of energy. Altogether, LEDs help rely less on the finite resources that often have a harmful impact on our environment.
But, that’s not the only reason LEDs are a friend of the planet. Unlike fluorescent or metal halide lights, LEDs do not contain any mercury. If a light contains mercury, as most commercial lighting does, it requires a special disposal process at the end of its short life.
When a fixture dies people usually do one of two things: either toss it in the trash and forget about it or recycle it. But, depending on what bulb you’re using, just throwing it away in the trash could have serious harmful impacts. If you’re using traditional bulbs, this is how we recommend disposing of them.
Fluorescent Tube – This is the most common type of office and commercial facility lighting. Unfortunately, these lights contain mercury so you can’t just throw them away with your regular trash. They’ll almost certainly cause damage to the environment and could potentially leak mercury into water supplies. Here are the EPA’s guidelines for disposing of lights that contain mercury.
CFL – These lights are composed the basically the same materials as fluorescent tube lights, they’re just in a more compact shape. We suggest following the same guidelines linked above, and checking with your local recycling facilities to make sure that you’re getting rid of the light in the proper manner.
LED – LED’s do not contain any harmful chemicals, so no special or costly recycling is needed.
How to Make the Switch to LED Lighting
At this point, hopefully, what you’ve seen is that upgrading to LED lighting just makes sense. So now that they why is out of the way, it is time to focus on the how. How do you make the switch to LED lighting?
As we mentioned, LED lights are much more efficient than other traditional bulbs. They produce a much brighter, higher-quality light at a fraction of the energy consumption of alternatives. Because of this, you can’t just swap out your existing lighting for LED lights. To achieve the same level of brightness your facility has now, you’ll need much fewer lumens.
In addition to this, LED lights are directional. They don’t waste any light with needless reflections off of directional housing units, and they typically run at a cooler temperature.
With lumens, Kelvins, light position, and light style all in question, making the switch to LEDs can be a complicated process. If you’re feeling stuck or wary, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our experienced LED lighting specialists.
What’s the best first step to start a lighting conversion to LED?
Without a doubt, the best step is to ask us to do a free little planning. To convert your facility (indoors or outdoors) to LED, start with deciding how many foot candles you need. Supply us with your project information, and let us take it from there.
And we do these for free for our commercial and industrial customers. Why? You’ll find out that you having a successful conversion to LED is just as important to us as it is to you.
There’s nothing feels better at LED Lighting Supply than to hear about a successful conversion to LED and getting those before and after pictures. We know that if we meet your foot candle requirements, and make the light even and balanced, you’re going to be happy.
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.