Lighting Upgrades: Are LED's the right choice?

National Grid Energy Solutions Partner News
Lighting Upgrades: Are LEDs the Right Choice?

Key Points

  • LEDs offer benefits, but they may not be the best option for every lighting project.
  • Fixture type and location, as well as operating hours, can affect your choice of lighting technologies.
  • LED performance can vary. Make sure products are tested and certified by a trusted source.

In many buildings, a lighting upgrade is one of the most effective ways to save energy and reduce operating costs. Increasingly, light emitting diodes (LEDs) are being touted as the best technology for facilities that strive to meet their efficiency goals. That's because LEDs offer a number of potential benefits:

  • High energy efficiency
  • Long rated life (50,000 to 100,000 hours)
  • Resistance to vibration and breakage
  • Excellent light quality

LEDs have many advantages, but they may not be the best option for every application. Before including LEDs in your next lighting project, consider the following:

Fixture type. While LEDs are highly efficient, the potential savings and return on investment will depend partly on the type of fixtures that are being replaced. For example, LEDs use up to 80 percent less energy than conventional incandescent bulbs. However, they may only be slightly more efficient than high-performance T8 or T5 fluorescent lamps.

Wattage. LEDs typically provide savings when used in high-wattage, high-intensity applications, such as parking lots and outdoor security lighting. Warehouses, gymnasiums and other high-bay applications are a good fit as well.

Maintenance issues. Does the facility have bulbs in hard-to-reach places that require significant time and expense to replace? If so, LEDs may be the best option; they last significantly longer than most other lighting technologies.

Operating hours. Even low-wattage bulbs waste energy if they are left on for extended periods. Consider areas around the facility where lights are running for 12 or more hours per day, such as parking garages or entrance ways. These areas are good candidates for LEDs.

Temperature. LEDs lose efficiency at higher temperatures. LEDs may not be the best option in areas that frequently get hot, such as near an oven or furnace. On the other hand, LEDs perform well in cold temperatures and are ideal for refrigeration and outdoor lighting.

Color quality. Light color is measured by correlated color temperature (CCT) expressed in Kelvin (K). A lower temperature means a warm, yellowish light while a higher CCT provides a cool, bluish appearance, which enhances visibility. LEDs are available in a wide range of color temperatures, making them suitable for a variety of applications.

Remember that LED performance can vary significantly by manufacturer. Make sure the product is ENERGY STAR rated or tested.

National Grid Energy Solutions Partner News has been prepared solely for the purpose of providing helpful information to users of this service. The information has been compiled by Questline, a contractor to National Grid; however, no representation is made by either Questline or National Grid as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained therein. In particular, some information may be incomplete, may contain errors or may be out of date. In addition, neither Questline nor National Grid endorses any product or service mentioned therein.