Red Arrow explores how LED is leading the way in durability and versatility, and why LED efficiency is essential in commercial and industrial settings.
In the UK, lighting accounts for 38% of a commercial building’s electrical consumption – but replacing a traditional light source fitting, for example, a fluorescent or compact fluorescent fitting, could cut energy costs significantly.
Typically, a commercial application uses 3,000 to 4,000 hours per annum, but an LED will last much longer than 10,000 hours – in fact, unless it’s a domestic style LED retrofit, it can last 50,000 hours. However, to maintain this level of sustainability, it’s essential to ensure you have the right LED for the right application.
Are all LEDs equal?
Inefficient lighting products can cost an untold amount of money over time, both in energy and maintenance replacements. Yet, with the advancement in LED technology, commercial power consumption is set to decrease significantly by 2025. In fact, while in 2019, almost half of all light sources in the world were LEDs, it’s been predicted that by 2030, over 87% of all light sources will be LEDs. However, although LEDs continue to outperform these other technologies, choosing the correct product and ensuring a quality installation is the key to their longevity and effectiveness.
Designed to face any type of environment, LEDs rarely require servicing or replacement, making them ideal for industrial applications. Let’s take security lighting as an example. In an application designed to ensure a safe and secure area, lighting efficiency is essential. And in warehouse facilities, LED lighting can lower operating costs, improve visibility and increase safety. But poorly designed and installed LED light fittings commercially impact on sustainability and efficiency due to:
- Temperature fluctuations: To ensure LEDs run effectively, they must not be thermally overloaded – if they are cool it will not harm their life, but if they are too hot, they will run less efficiently and decrease their lifespan. A well-designed light fitting will have the correct thermal dissipation in place to dissipate the heat correctly away from the LEDs themselves.
- Efficiency drop: LEDs can operate at various forward currents, depending on the quantity of the LEDs and LED modules in the light fitting. Running them correctly respective to the optimum current for the circuit is essential as overrunning them causes inefficiency and damage. Underrunning on the other hand, can make them more efficient in some cases.
- Structural issues: Not all LEDs are equal – they are graded during and after manufacturing for colour consistency and performance characteristics by a process called binning. Then, depending on these factors, it’s simple to establish the application of the LEDs and considerations, such as the life expectancy. Using lower quality LEDs can mean poorer colour rendition and poorer performance. Fitting them into poor quality LED modules or using them with low quality LED drivers will also affect their life.
Red Arrow’s top tip: Always purchase LEDs from a manufacturer that uses only LEDs and modules with quality drivers. Plus, one that invests in rigorous testing to ensure the LED modules work in increased temperatures and up against external stresses.
LED lamps: significant savings
Not only will the upfront costs of completing an LED retrofit be a similar cost to legacy light fittings, but LEDs also use 90% less energy and last up to 25 times longer, saving money on replacement and labour. Efficiently installed and well-made LEDs are more reliable and need less maintenance – and with properly designed fixtures, they can also operate well in standard ambient temperature environments. Plus, operation costs will be lower as LEDs are energy saving.
Ultimately, LEDs save on costs, maintenance and energy in the long-term, and from day one.
Choosing the right type of light source is vital and can make a significant difference in any commercial or industrial environment. Fortunately, the versatility of LED lighting means there is a light source to suit almost any need – with their long lifespan and energy saving qualities making them good long-term investments.