Are LEDs Worth the Investment?

By Torrin Greathouse | March 07, 2017

In recent years, LED lighting has seen a massive increase in popularity, rapidly becoming the number one choice for facility owners looking to reduce their lighting costs. As with any other market trend, it is important to take a step back and look at whether this popularity is justified. Below is a look at some of the positives and negatives that an LED lighting system could offer.

 

The Benefits of LEDs

Run Cool

Unlike older artificial lighting products, LED lighting produces little to no waste heat. Compact fluorescent and incandescent bulbs waste 50-90% of the electricity they consume, creating excess heat. LED lamps are 99% efficient, minimizing the potential strain on your building’s HVAC system.

Longer Lasting

Because of this difference in heat production, LEDs experience a far greater lifespan than other artificial lighting. Even CFLs, which were previously touted as long-lasting only have a lifespan of about 8,000 hours. LED lamps, on the other hand, have an average lifespan of around 50,000 hours.

IoT Integration

These systems also present the opportunity to integrate lighting into the emerging Internet of Things. Because they run cool, they can hold sensor chips and other technology with minimal heat damage, allowing your lighting system to be used to analyze movement patterns, fluctuations in required light level, and other efficiency data.

Potential Issues

High-blue Spectrum Light

Despite the benefits LEDs offer, there is a major price-related difference in LED quality. Purchasing a cheaper lighting system may reduce costs in the short term, but it can result in several negative outcomes. One issue these lamps face is high-blue light production. This has been shown to reduce the production of melatonin, contributing to insomnia and seasonal affective disorder, reducing employee productivity by harming their health.

Intermittent Flickering

Due to mismatched or cheaply produced ballasts, many LED lamps produce light which intermittently flickers. While this can border on imperceptible, the human eye will attempt to adjust to these rapid fluctuations. This can contribute to repetitive eye strain, and even cause stress induced migraines to flare up.

Loss of Intensity

The biggest issue LED technology faces is the loss of intensity over time. While they do not burn out like other artificial lighting systems, LED lamps become less efficient over time. While they tout a lifespan of 50,000 hours, some systems will only produce 80% of their original intensity after just 8,000 hours.

A Solution?

One solution that has been recommended to help reduce the issues LED lighting can cause, while capitalizing on the benefits, is to integrate natural lighting and LED technology. This could help mitigate the issue of blue spectrum light, while reducing the number of hours a day that electricity is used for lighting.

To learn more about the different varieties of lighting also currently available on the market, download our eBook A Comprehensive Guide to Sustainable Lighting.
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