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How LED lighting can cut commercial electricity bills

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 2 May 2013 at 9:27 am

LED provides a more efficient method of producing light than other bulbs. This efficiency is because LEDs (light emitting diodes) produce light via through the movement of electrons. In contrast, traditional bulbs pass an electric current through a thin wire, halogen bulbs produce light via the chemical reaction created by a combination of halogen gas and the tungsten filament; and finally fluorescent bulbs use electricity to excite mercury vapour, thus producing visible light.

This difference in light generation, which LEDs possess due to their solid state, results in a much higher efficiency solution which uses up to 90% less energy than traditional bulbs; with less waste of energy on excess heat and movement of particles.

LED lighting has long been considered under-developed and as a result has not been taken up widely by home or business owners. But, thanks to rapid technology developments in the past few years, LED lighting can now provide you with a bright, low cost and low carbon alternative to traditional lighting methods.

How LED lighting can benefit your building

LED is a great way to enhance many business environments. From highlighting specified products or areas in a retail facility, to providing constant bright lighting level in offices throughout the day and even providing lighting in the hospitality industry, particularly in hallways or reception areas which require illumination 24 hours a day. LED lighting helps to reduce the cost of lighting these areas, as well as providing a constant bright light source which is more reliable than traditional bulbs.

The obvious benefit of LED lighting is reduced electricity costs. It can also provide instant, bright and clear light. LEDs are available in warm and cool white shades to suit different situations. LED lighting  lasts for up to 30,000 hours. This means that in an average office environment, requiring 8 hours of constant light daily during the week, an LED light fixture will last approximately 14 and a half years. Even in a building where light is required 24 hours a day, an LED bulb will last just over 6 years!

Cost-savings from LED usage vary between 50 and 90% (depending on what lighting you are currently using). There is also less waste than traditional lighting; due to the infrequency of bulb changes. LED lighting contains no harmful mercury, which compact fluorescent bulbs rely upon to function, making them safer in all locations.

The Costs and Return of LED Lighting

Whilst LED lighting is often ignored due to its higher upfront cost when considering changing your lighting solutions, it is important to consider the fact that LED lighting pays back in a few years and provides a more efficient alternative to halogen and florescent bulbs.

In simple terms, the average contribution of lighting options available can be seen here:

Lighting Option

Expected Hours of Use

Average Lifespan*

Halogen

1,250

8 months

LED

30,000

14 years and 6 months

 

*When illuminated for 8 hours per day, five days a week

The average cost of using different lighting options also varies significantly in terms of cost, halogen bulbs which are often used in commercial buildings cost approximately £204 more to run than LEDs over twenty years;

Lighting Option

Average Cost Per Bulb

Predicted Bulb Changes in 20 Years

Running Cost Per Year

Total Cost Over 20 Years*

Halogen 50W Bulb

£1

30

£10.40

£238

LED 6W Bulb

£9

1

£1.25

£34

 

Even fluorescent lighting will cost you approximately £166.40 more to run than LEDs over twenty years;

Lighting Option

Average Cost
Per Bulb

Predicted Bulb Changes in
20 Years

Running Cost
Per Year

Total Cost
Over 20 Yrs*

Fluorescent
65W† Bulb

£10

5

£13.52

£320.40

LED 25W Bulb

£50

1

£5.20

£154

† Including Ballast

These facts and figures highlight the effectiveness of LED lighting, in terms of cost saving, energy saving and waste savings. While green issues may not be your motivator for installing energy efficient changes, with carbon tax introductions and industry pressures to reduce your carbon footprint, it is more important than ever to consider ways to become more energy efficient; LED lighting can provide a fast and simple option to achieve this goal.

The technical things

LED lighting provides a simple solution to reduce your costs and energy usage instantly.  The lighting options can be easily retro-fitted to any non-domestic property, by qualified electricians, often using the existing fittings.

The primary difference between LED tubes and fluorescent tubes, such as T8s, is that ballast is not required with LED lighting. This difference does not cause any difficulty when changing spotlights such as GU10’s, which can be replaced like-for-like, but is applicable to any current lighting solutions in your building which may use ballast.

Current light fittings which contain magnetic ballast will require a change in starter on the light fixture, whereas electronic ballast lights will need to be adapted to allow the electricity flow to bypass this ballast. Both of these actions can be completed quickly and easily by a trained electrician.

Food for thought…

Just think, adopting LED lighting could reduce your current power needs by 75% or more. The reduction will depend on what fittings are swapped out. Typically a fluorsecent tube of, say, 20-24W including ballast can be changed for a 10W LED – about a 50/60% saving.  A GU10 50W halogen, however, can be changed for a 7W LED – which is an 86% saving. These savingsl help you to meet industry carbon targets, reduce your carbon impact and save you money.

More on low energy lighting from YouGen

Introduction to low energy lighting

About the author: Paul Hutchens is founder and director of Eco2Solar, which installs solar systems around the UK.

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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Comments

2 comments - read them below or add one

Paul Hutchens

Paul Hutchens from Eco2SolarComment left on: 30 December 2013 at 10:41 am

Hi Vivian

I am sure you are right - whilst electricity costs get higher (with or without tax) it will be become more and more attractive to use energy saving technologies such as LED's and change our behaviour to use less.

Renewable energy becomes more cost effective too!

 

Paul

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Interested

InterestedComment left on: 3 May 2013 at 7:04 am

Thanks Paul - great article.  You've inspired me, now even more to do !

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