Light Emitting Diodes (LED) lighting is often hailed as wonderful energy efficient illumination for large spaces. Known as a low heat emitting form of light, LEDs are extremely practical in cold storage facilities and outdoor applications. However, LEDs can oftentimes cost as much as four times the investment of other types of lighting such as fluorescent, incandescent or high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps. So, whether to choose LED lighting in your facility depends on a number of competing factors. The experts at Hy-Tek Material Handling, Inc. offer some guidance about when to consider LED lighting and when another choice may make a better investment.
Long Term Investment: One of the first things to weigh when comparing LED lighting to other options is the return on investment time you have in mind for operating and maintaining your facility. If it is a new facility and you will be there a long time, investing in LED from the start is a great idea. However, the calculations for long term savings do not necessary correlate if you are retrofitting your space with LEDs or using a facility for a limited amount of time.
Application: LED lighting is available for use in most every type of function, however its performance will vary based on application and environmental conditions. The general rule is that LED lighting is regarded as a good value in outdoor or cold storage settings. Because they produce less heat and utilize less energy, installing LED lights in low temperature situations will work very well over time.
Energy Savings: Well-designed LED fixtures can create more illumination with less wattage of delivered light. This translates into lower electric bills and a quicker payback timeframe for the initial lighting investment. In states where energy policies are restrictive and limited electric is accessible, LEDs offer a valid option.
Environmentally Friendly: Even though the aluminum heat sinks of LEDs can take up more space in landfills at the end of their product life cycle, LEDs are viewed as more environmentally friendly from the standpoint of using less energy consumed during their operational life.
Quality of Light: Color rendition of LED lighting is not identical to incandescent lamps and can be a reason to not use them in indoor lighting, especially if the Color Rendition Index (CRI) needed is upwards of 80. Nonetheless, the coloring render is adjustable in LEDs by lumen output, to achieve the desired color index level.
Maintenance: LED lighting fixtures are relatively low maintenance over their thousands of hours of operation use. Of course, the maintenance aspect of LEDs must be compared to the initial cost and installation of the lighting system. However, if this issue is of great concern, LEDs reduce the normal maintenance activity of bulb and component replacements.
Because lighting sources are very hard to compare as apples to apples, the best strategy is to do an analysis with your local lighting expert to understand whether LEDs are the best fit for your facility.