Are LEDs Secretly Driving Up Your Costs?

By Jeff Brain | November 25, 2016

Despite their reputation as the most efficient artificial lighting systems, many LEDs can carry unexpected secret costs. Investing in LED technology without doing proper research can result in increased costs, as opposed to  the savings they are  meant to provide. Below are two major examples  showing how investing in poor quality LED lamps can actually harm your facility’s bottom line.

Decreased Productivity

There is evidence to strongly suggest that LEDs have a direct adverse effect on productivity. This is extremely important to acknowledge because in most facilities, productivity has a huge impact on daily profits. According to Lockheed Martin, when they introduced natural lighting into their facilities they showed a “2% increase in productivity which equates to $3 million savings per year.”

Visual Strain

Cheaply produced LEDs typically have two major issues with the light they produce. The first issue is the intermittent flickering caused by cheap or mismatched drivers, or in some cases ballasts which can create intermittent flickering. While this is nearly imperceptible to the naked eye, constant exposure  can contribute to repetitive eye strain and the development of stress induced migraines. The second issue is the production of light in the high-blue spectrum that stems from many inexpensive LED lamps. This low quality of light has been shown to contribute to both myopia and in some cases macular degeneration.

Negative Health Effects

Macular degeneration is far from the only negative health conditions created by overexposure to high-blue spectrum light.  Our bodies associate light in this spectrum with daylight;  as a result, too much exposure can actually trick our bodies into reducing their production of melatonin—the neurotransmitter that controls sleep.  A lack of melatonin contributes to the development of insomnia, seasonal affective disorder, and pre-diabetes, all of which directly hamper the efficiency
of employees in the workplace.

The Flipside

Many of the issues presented by cheap LED lighting can actually be mitigated by natural light. This more consistent, diffused light source provides far greater visual comfort than artificial methods. It has also been shown to reverse the negative health effects listed above, repairing the body’s melatonin production and preventing a range of ailments.

Loss of Intensity

In addition to the indirect sources mentioned above, there are also technical issues with cheaply produced LEDs that can further increase costs.  On average, LED lamps have a lifespan of 50,000 hours, but cheaper LED products will actually dim, losing its intensity over time. Some produce as much as 20% less light after as little as 8,000 hours.

To learn more about the other products on the market which could help maintain your bottom line, download our eBook A Comprehensive Guide to Sustainable Lighting.
(Photo: amy, CC.)

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