How LEDs can help you save energy and money

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It’s more important than ever to be energy efficient. As businesses strive to reduce emissions, they’re also looking for ways to save on energy costs. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use eco-friendly light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

LEDs are in high demand as consumers want flexible, energy-efficient lighting which lasts longer and can help them save on energy costs. This demand is fueling the growth of the LED lighting market, which is projected to grow to $160.03 billion by 2026. Even with the increased demand, some businesses face obstacles in switching to LED lighting.

Recently, we had the opportunity to interview Neil Peterson, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Lighting Specialist of LED Lighting Supply. A leading provider of LEDs since 2008, the company helps commercial and industrial customers save energy and money.

Neil has been active in the lighting industry for over 10 years, and he is responsible for product planning, management, and operations.

EnPowered: How are LEDs helping protect the environment?

Neil: LEDs are used to replace high-intensity discharge (HID) and fluorescent lighting. Both HID and fluorescent lighting have traces of mercury in them, which is dangerous to the environment. LED Lighting does not contain mercury.

LED fixtures also use 50–80 percent less energy than HID and fluorescent lighting while lasting three–four times as long, or more. As such, there is a significant reduction in the use of fossil fuel and carbon emissions at scale.

EnPowered: What are some common misconceptions about LEDs, and what are the facts?

Neil: One misconception is that LEDs put out blue light. Early on in LED technology, say 10 years ago, the color temperature was all over the light spectrum, and some lights did produce a blue tint. Today, the color temperature is an exact science, and a white light which is standard for industrial and commercial requirements, has no blue in it.

Another misconception is that you need the same LED wattage/lumen to replace HID and fluorescent lighting. HID and fluorescent lighting emit light at a 360-degree spectrum, and use reflection to point the light. This process loses a lot of the light. LEDs are designed to shine in one direction without reflection, requiring a lot less wattage/lumens.

Also, the rated lumen output of an HID or fluorescent fixture goes down immediately when it’s used. In most cases, 25 percent of the lumen output is lost when the fixture is turned on, and then it continues to degrade over the short life of the HID and fluorescent fixture (10,000 to 25,000 hours).

In LEDs, lumen loss happens at a very slow rate over a much longer life span (50,000-100,000 hours). This is called the L70 rated life.

Some customers also think that LED fixtures are all the same, which isn’t true. You need to be very careful when purchasing LED fixtures. There are a lot of low-cost and low-quality options that have flooded the market over the past few years.

EnPowered: What should a customer look for when buying an LED light fixture?

Neil: They should look for LED light fixtures over 130 lumens per watt with a five-year warranty. Customers should also check out the vendor’s reviews and their post-installation support.

Another important thing to remember is that you need the right fixture and light output for your application. If you’re unsure, ask your supplier to do a lighting plan. This tells you how a specific fixture will work in your environment and the light levels you can expect.

EnPowered: Why do you think most companies stall on purchasing LED lights?

Neil: The cost. It is an expenditure, and LEDs are more expensive up front. Fortunately, in most cases, if you select the correct wattage LED fixture, you can expect the more efficient light to pay for itself in 12–16 months or sooner, depending on the product being replaced. Customers can also expect the LED fixtures to last 10–15 years or more.

We present the cost savings that can be achieved and the increased quality of light that is produced, which also impacts work safety and productivity.

EnPowered: LEDs are projected to grow significantly over the next few years. What do you think will be driving this growth?

Neil: We see this growth happening. LEDs have significant benefits: energy savings, increased quality of light, and reduced maintenance costs because they last longer. Higher energy prices make the energy reduction math even more lucrative in large spaces.

Another driver is that governments and utilities continue to support the switch. You are also seeing that HID and fluorescent lighting is not as readily available, and the costs are going up as the economies of scale go down.

Supply chain issues have persisted for lighting suppliers who lack strong and diversified partners in the supply chain. This pushes project timelines out, or sometimes even puts them on hold.

EnPowered: What are the energy savings customers can expect from switching to LEDs?

Neil: Energy savings can range from 50 to 80 percent, depending on the product being upgraded and used.

EnPowered: What’s next for LED Lighting Supply?

Neil: LED technology keeps advancing to support our growth in the commercial, industrial and sport industries. We are introducing more wattage and color-changing products, which lets us manufacture and stock a single SKU that can replace 12 products, reducing supply chain risk. This will also continue to drive the unit cost down.

We are releasing even higher energy efficiency products that can operate in harsh, hazardous, and hot environments. This is of significant interest to our large Industrial customers where plants may operate 24/7.

We are also planning to release a family of electric vehicle charging stations, which will be of great interest to our lighting contractors and energy service company (ESCO) customers. It is a perfect add-on when they are doing parking and parking garage upgrades.

About LED Lighting Supply

LED Lighting Supply is the contractor’s and facility trusted source for commercial, industrial, and sports lighting. They offer quality LED lights from a team of knowledgeable lighting specialists who have been called the electrical contractor’s secret weapon by an industry podcast. It’s no overstatement – they are there to help you pick your lighting, win your job, and support your lighting project post-purchase.

Visit LED Lighting Supply to learn more.

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Rod Foster

Rod joined EnPowered in October 2022 to help the company scale its Payments solution.

Having led a number of technology start-ups and scale-ups, Rod is stimulated by working with various stakeholders to provide value for all. He also led the transition of a UK publicly-traded firm in the energy sector into the North and South American marketplaces.