In 2014 when the Nobel Prize Committee awarded Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura the Nobel Prize in Physics for the development of light emitting diodes (LEDs), it wasn’t just because these scientists had invented some really cool lights. It was, in the words of the Committee, because LEDs “hold great promise for increasing the quality of life for over 1.5 billion people around the world who lack access to electricity grids.” And not only have LEDs transformed the lives of people in the developing world, commercial LED lighting is transforming businesses in a variety of ways.
The benefits provided by LEDs transcend nations, cultures, and even levels of economic prosperity. People living in the developing world are benefitting from replacing kerosene with safe LED lights so they can work at night and their children can do their homework without the risk of fire and inhaling toxic smoke. And commercial enterprises are reaping the benefits of safely and efficiently lighting their workplaces, manufacturing facilities, warehouses, parking lots, and more while saving money at the same time.
Here are the key benefits of commercial LED lighting:
1. LED lights last much longer than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs.
LED lights can reliably last more than 50,000 hours, and in commercial environments, they’re known to last even longer – more than 100,000 hours. This can net out to a lifespan of 11 years if burned 24 hours per day, seven days a week.
The following chart from Bulbs.com shows the average lifespan of different types of light bulbs. LEDs clearly outlast all other types of bulbs by a wide margin.
|Incandescent||750 – 2,000 hours|
|Fluorescent||24,000 – 36,000 hours|
|HID||10,000 – 24,000 hours|
|Compact Fluorescent Plug-in
Compact Fluorescent Screw-based
|10,000 – 20,000 hours
8,000 – 10,000 hours
|Halogen||2,000 – 4,000 hours|
|LED||40,000 – 150,000 hours|
In addition to being long-lasting, LED lights are durable. They don’t break easily like fluorescent or incandescent bulbs. This makes them ideal for commercial environments, such as in warehouses and manufacturing facilities, or as outdoor lighting.
2. LED lighting in commercial spaces offers big cost savings.
LED lighting offers cost savings for businesses on a number of levels. While LED bulbs are more expensive than halogen, incandescent, or fluorescent bulbs, they last much longer, thus providing savings over the long term. In addition, as the adoption of LED lighting grows, prices continue to drop.
But the savings don’t stop there. Because LED lights last longer, the bulbs don’t have to be changed for years, so overall maintenance costs are lower. Your business saves on labor hours, and workers can focus on more important issues than changing light bulbs.
Furthermore, because LED lighting is far more energy efficient, businesses can save money on utility bills and take advantage of incentives offered by utilities for implementing energy efficiency upgrades.
Even bigger savings come in the form of LED technology provided via an Energy as a Service (EaaS) model. With EaaS, commercial enterprises can take advantage of LED technology in the same way they do their internet service. Your business can “rent” the LED lights and equipment from the EaaS provider and simply pay a monthly subscription for the energy used.
The EaaS model lets businesses to take advantage of new tax laws that allow them to treat subscription-type lighting and energy costs as off-balance-sheet expenses rather than capital expenses that have to be depreciated over time. Subscribing to an LED EaaS program, like that offered by U.S. Energy Recovery, keeps debt off your books and lowers your energy bill.
3. LED lights are extremely energy efficient.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), LED lights use about 75-80% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and about 65% less energy than halogen bulbs.
For commercial enterprises that need lighting for extended periods of time, whether it’s long working hours, for safety and security in a warehouse or manufacturing facility, or for other uses, switching to LED lights can save millions of dollars annually. For example, U.S. Energy Recovery clients save about 20-55% on their electric utility bills alone just for swapping out old lighting systems for state-of-the-art LED lighting.
Thus, the savings offered by longer-lasting lights, very little maintenance, and less energy make LEDs the frontrunner when it comes to lighting commercial spaces.
This chart, provided by the DOE, compares the energy usage of different types of light bulbs:
4. LED lights emit very little heat.
Unlike traditional incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, LED light bulbs emit very little heat. This means they can safely be left on for extended periods of time. In addition, they reduce the need for cooling in an environment, whether it’s air conditioning in an office or fans in a manufacturing facility.
Safety should always be the top priority of any organization, and when it comes to lighting, the safety risk is heat and fire. The vast majority of power that is used by incandescent bulbs is producing heat vs. light. And the heat intensity increases the longer the bulb is in use. LEDs, on the other hand, emit very little heat no matter how long they’re used.
The reduction in cooling loads offered by LEDs adds to their energy cost savings. In the example of U.S. Energy’s commercial clients, they experience energy savings in the range of 35% as a result of reduced cooling loads.
In addition, LEDs can operate on low-voltage electrical systems, which adds to their safety aspects.
If you’re interested in how much your business can save with LED lighting and better controls, try out U.S. Energy’s energy savings calculator.
5. LED lighting helps fight climate change.
Energy production is one of the leading contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Yet the energy efficiency benefits of LEDs helps reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. With energy savings of up to 80% compared to traditional lighting, LEDs help commercial enterprises operate in a more environmentally sustainable way while simultaneously saving them money.
Studies show that running a “green” business is good for business. In a recent report by market research firm Nielsen, 72% of Baby Boomers (age 50-64), 79% of Gen Xers (age 35-49), and 85% of Millennials (age 21-34) say it’s “extremely important for businesses to implement programs to improve the environment.” So, in addition to cost and energy savings, installing commercial LED lighting in your facility is a great move when it comes to PR and marketing.
6. LED lights are bright.
Another benefit of LED lighting for commercial spaces is that it emits white light that’s similar sunlight. So, the quality of lighting offered by LEDs can create a better overall experience for employees and customers alike. LEDs provide instant brightness to an environment without any flickering. This, they work extremely well in environments where lights are turned on and off continually within short periods of time. This operational speed coupled with superior controls makes LEDs work especially well with motion sensors, such as those used outdoors, or in warehouses, office spaces, and hallways.
7. LED lighting is easily controllable.
Another exceptional benefit that LED lighting can bring to commercial environments is the level of control it gives to users. LEDs provide precise directional control, so you can point lights in exact locations without excess energy being wasted where you don’t need lighting. LEDs emit more “focused” light at 180 degrees vs. traditional lights, which emit light at 360 degrees.
LED lights can also be dimmed, so you get the ideal level of brightness required throughout the day or night, according to natural light and user preferences. As natural sunlight changes throughout the day, LEDs can be put on automatic controls that adjust as lighting demands change. The ability to dim LED lights means that businesses have added control over how much energy they use according to lighting needs.
In addition, LED lights can change colors, further adding to their benefits for creating an ideal working ambiance.
8. LED lights come in a wide variety of colors.
LEDs have superior color rendering capabilities, which makes them extremely flexible for use in a variety of commercial environments. The color versatility means LEDs can be used in a range of applications, such as in signage, displays, overhead lighting, colored spotlights, and more.
9. LED lighting is versatile.
LED lights are very small, so they can be used in an array of applications, either as small, single units or in clusters of thousands or more. This presents an unlimited variety of applications in which they can be used.
10. LED lights can be turned on and off quickly.
Unlike traditional lighting, which can take time to warm up, LED lights can be turned on in nanoseconds, so users get adequate lighting immediately. This makes LEDs ideal for outdoor lighting, lighting in hallways and office spaces, manufacturing facilities, traffic and warning lights, and elsewhere. In addition, frequently turning LED lights off and on doesn’t degrade their life expectancy in the way it does traditional incandescent and fluorescent bulbs.
11. LED lighting produces very little ultraviolet (UV) emissions.
LED lighting is particularly useful in environments where objects can degrade under ultraviolet lights. This is because the illumination from LEDs produces little to no UV light and very little infrared light. For example, museums can benefit from LED lighting, which helps to preserve the colors in paintings, tapestries, and other objects.
12. LED lighting can operate in extremely cold temperatures.
LED lighting systems work well in extremely cold environments, even sub-zero temperatures because they don’t need any time to warm up when once they’re turned on.
13. LEDs don’t contain mercury.
While LEDs do contain some lead and other chemicals, they’re free of mercury, which is toxic and can be found in traditional light bulbs. LEDs are not considered toxic by current U.S. laws and can be disposed of in the landfill.
14. LED lights can be recycled.
LEDs contain electronic components, including semiconductors, as well as glass and different metals, which can all be recycled. While most municipal recycling centers do not yet have specific programs in place for recycling LEDs, EaaS LED lighting providers, like U.S. Energy, have their own recycling programs in place. This takes the responsibility of recycling off of clients’ shoulders.
15. LED lighting takes up less space in your facility.
LED lights can come in extremely small sizes, smaller than 1/10th of a square millimeter. And because they emit so much light, even in small sizes, they take up less surface space, which makes them ideal for commercial environments that are trying to conserve space.
16. LED lighting is quiet.
When we think of lighting, noise benefits are usually not at the top of the list. However, traditional fluorescent lighting can actually be quite noisy, and the buzzing noise level escalates the longer these lights are in use. LEDs operate silently, thus minimizing the distraction of non-essential noises that can detract from workers’ productivity or your customer experience.
It’s not common for a technology to come along that offers wide sweeping benefits for commercial enterprises. But LED lighting is one of those rare exceptions. LEDs definitely fall under the category of “no brainer” for all kinds of businesses and other organizations that want to run more efficiently at less cost, while providing an optimal environment for workers and customers.