An LED lighting upgrade is an effective energy-saving measure, but the actual percentage savings achieved depend on the difference in power consumption between LED fixtures and the existing lighting system.
Therefore, the financial performance of LED lighting upgrades is increased in cases where the lamps and fixtures in operation are old and inefficient.
Upgrading Light Bulbs to LED
When light bulbs are upgraded to LED, savings are determined by the type of bulb currently used:
- Upgrading from incandescent to LED lighting normally yields savings above 80 percent. Also, consider that LED bulbs last 20 to 30 times longer than their incandescent counterparts.
- Halogen bulbs are slightly more efficient than incandescent bulbs, but are still outclassed by LED lighting. An upgrade from halogen to LED bulbs results in savings of around 70 percent.
- Fluorescent bulbs have a decent efficiency, so the savings achieved with an LED upgrade are normally around 30 percent. LED bulbs also offer a service life that is two to three times longer.
In new constructions, it is highly recommended that LED lighting be used from the start. This way, it is only necessary to assume an incremental cost beyond that of the baseline lighting installation, avoiding an expensive upgrade once the building is in use.
Upgrading Fluorescent Tubes to LED
Fluorescent tubes are common in commercial settings, offering a great combination of efficacy and affordability. However, these are now available in LED versions as well: savings of over 50 percent can be expected when 40-watt T12 fluorescent tubes are upgraded, and in the case of 32-watt T8 tubes they typically fall between 30 and 40 percent.
An alternative to upgrading fluorescent tubes is replacing the entire fixture for an LED product. These typically offer a higher efficiency than a simple tube upgrade, but are also more expensive. Integral LED fixtures can be a great choice in new constructions, eliminating the fragile fluorescent tubes and their associated ballasts right from the start.
Upgrading HID Lamps to LED
HID (high-intensity discharge) fixtures are commonly used for industrial and outdoor lighting applications, and in this case, there is also a significant savings opportunity when upgrading to LED lighting.
High-bay industrial lighting typically uses metal halide (MH) bulbs, which have a potent lighting output but suffer in terms of efficiency and service life. LED lighting can offer the same lighting output as MH bulbs, while reducing power consumption by 50 percent or more and offering a service life that is five to eight times longer.
Sodium vapor lamps are another type of HID lighting, commonly used outdoors since their yellow light is not suitable for indoor commercial and industrial settings. Here, it is also possible to achieve significant savings with LED lighting: for instance, a 300-watt sodium vapor fixture can be upgraded to a 100-watt LED product of equivalent performance.
Conventional lighting types vary significantly in terms of performance, and LED lighting becomes a more cost-effective measure when the existing lighting is old and inefficient. However, LED lighting tends to be a solid investment in most scenarios, outclassing nearly all other lighting technologies with its high efficiency and long service life.