The benefits of LED lighting – from power use to a myriad of operational advantages over traditional incumbent lighting technologies – are well known. Once your business invests in a quality LED system, the ROI for the commercial consumer keeps adding up year after year, with ongoing benefits to your bottom line. These include massive energy savings potential of up to 90 percent, and a maintenance free lighting system for up to 7 years.
But many businesses are losing their return on their investment and exhausting their capital investment when it comes to choosing their LED lighting systems and they don’t even know it. Energy savings from upgrading to a new LED lighting system is great, but your company may actually be spending more capital resources by procuring inferior LED products, which are rampant in the lighting industry. Having manufactured commercial grade lighting systems for other major manufacturers such as General Electric, Philips Genlyte, Hubbell, LSI, Osram Sylvania and others, I know that there are many mitigating factors that can save a commercial end user money – or actively lose it – when it comes to choosing to upgrade their lighting system to LED.
Here are my top insights and facts about upgrading to commercial LED lighting system that will help make sure commercial consumers reap the full financial benefits of their investment into a commercial grade LED lighting system:
Quality components save money, time
A huge advantage of LED technology over traditional commercial lighting technologies is that they last so much longer, with almost no degradation of light quality over several years. The ongoing maintenance costs of incumbent technologies, especially in big facilities, of having to replace failed components is a headache that can be almost completely solved by retrofitting to LED technology. Plus, added safety and lowered maintenance costs by not having your personnel constantly up in the rafters.
But that terrific money-saving benefit is lost if the LED technology you choose are failing well before they should. You lose your investment and energy savings by both having to pay for new LED replacements, plus the time and labor it takes to do so – High quality LED technology will last up to 90% longer (10 years) than traditional lighting technologies. Poor quality, cheaply manufactured LED products utilizing inferior components (and priced for such) negate this benefit by failing much sooner, in some cases during the first years.
For instance, Envirolux Energy Systems produces commercial LED fixtures that last up to 10 years plus while maintaining 95 percent of their full luminosity all the while. When Inferior LED fixture products fail after just 2-3 years on average, not only does wasted material and chemicals go into the landfill, the consumer costs for LED fixture replacement, and the time and labor will hit your bottom line a second time, when they don’t need to. Making sure your LED investment utilizes top-quality, high bin rated LED’s (with real warranties to provide even further reassurance) saves you money across the board.
LED’s ROI secret: Light Control Technology
Since their first applications in commercial lighting, quality-made LED lighting fixtures have made remarkable advances in luminosity and color ranges. Additionally, Solid State controls have advanced right along with them, and now offer tremendous ROI in their own right. Many businesses are missing out on the potential ROI of controlling their fixtures during non-occupancy or non-peak hours.
Simply, modern solid state controls save companies money by taking advantage of all the benefits of LED lighting. Older technologies such as HID take a long time to warm up, for instance, making it challenging or impossible for some businesses to employ solid state controls systems. This is particularly true in cold weather applications or refrigerated warehouses, etc. For example; high quality commercial grade LED fixtures are not affected by cold temperatures and can instantly achieve full luminosity when turned on. Combined with controls, commercial buildings can save up to 90 percent in energy savings. which is an enormous amount of energy saved that would otherwise be wasted using older lighting technologies. Factor in facilities that operate 24/7, the ROI on many projects are less than one year.
Today, the new frontier of controls includes wireless, Bluetooth, remote access and “cloud based platforms. Solid State wireless controls save the most significant amount of capital investment costs, as there is no need to install the extra low voltage cables that are necessary for hardwire communication between fixtures. EnviroLux Unifi Solid State wireless cloud based technology allows facility managers to easily monitor their LED fixtures for power metering, temperature data, outages, scheduling, and many other types of data, from anywhere, any time of day with an easy to use cloud-based dashboard.
LED configuration and fixture construction helps power ROI
Finally, companies can lose the full monetary value and ROI of their LED investment if their LED fixtures are not professionally manufactured and supported. Consumers that simply look for the least expensive LED alternative not only will lose their investment in the end, but also will lose out on significant energy savings and performance reliability. Quality produced commercial grade LED fixtures produce high lumen efficiency, combine with controls to save the consumer up to 90 percent in energy, and provide optimum light levels to illuminate their work environment. Sourcing an LED manufacturer that has been in business for a long tenure, that understands thermals, and the electrical characteristics of the LEDs being used in their manufacturing processes, will help the consumer achieve a faster ROI, and years of durable service with no maintenance.
Some key points in Knowing how to select the right LED manufacturer for you.
- Don’t buy into the 10-year warranty marketing scheme. Most of these LED products being advertised with a 10-year warranty are procured by US importers that have only been in business a few years. Their Chinese partners do not offer a 10-year warranty. Brand name manufacturers such as CREE do offer a 10-year warranty but at a premium which is an insurance policy to replace the LED power supply at least one time during the 10-year warranty period. The warranty does not cover labor, and that is another way for the company offering the 10-year warranty to bury the additional cost of the component later on when it needs to be replaced.
- Do your due diligence to find out where the LED fixtures you’re thinking of purchasing actually originate from. EnviroLux can provide you with import records to prove the actual manufacturer of the LED fixtures. There are abundant LED fixtures that are entering into the US market that are utilizing counterfeit LED components!
- Check to make sure the LED fixture manufacturer is actually listed in the safety database that they advertise (example; www.ul.com/database).
- Ask the LED manufacturer to provide you with a complete photometry LM79 report of the fixture that you are thinking of upgrading to, as well as a complete ISMT thermal heat test report from a certified lab. Heat is the Achilles heel to all LED lighting systems. Components will fail rapidly if the LED fixture is operating at a higher temperature, especially if they are installed in higher ambient temperatures.
- Make sure that key LED components are protected from moisture caused by humidity. We conformal coat our LED engines making them water and humidity proof. As an example of why that’s so important, over 25,000 street lights had to be recalled in Texas after humidity ruined the LED engines. (https://www.summit.com/blog/new-led-street-lights-fail-in-the-rain).
You may not personally know much, if anything, about the many important LED factors above. The key point is, it is the fiduciary responsibility of your LED fixture provider to know that they are proving you with a quality LED fixture product, and if they don’t, they will cost you money in the short and long term, and for years after in lost energy savings and ongoing maintenance.