A lot of people don’t realize the significance of the long-term savings that switching to LED can provide. First of all, switching to LED bulbs will have an immediate impact on your electric bill. Lighting costs tend to be a large portion of the bill. LED bulbs use 50% to 90% LESS electricity than traditional incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. A 40 watt incandescent bulb can be replaced with a 6 watt LED bulb which will give an equivalent light output. If you are upgrading an entire building to LED, the amount of electricity used will be cut immediately and drastically and will make opening your electric bill a more pleasant experience.
In addition to the immediate monthly savings you will enjoy on your energy bills, there is the less visible maintenance savings on bulb replacement and labor.
The common four-foot fluorescent tube has a lifespan of around 20,000 hours. The LED replacement has a lifespan of around 50,000 hours. Therefore, upgrading to LED will save you the replacement costs of at least two fluorescent tubes for every LED tube used. The average cost of a fluorescent tube is $2.50 each, so $5.00 is saved in bulb replacement costs for every LED tube used.
All fluorescent bulbs require an additional component called a ballast1 to start and operate the bulbs properly. This component also has a lifespan of around 20,000 hours. LED lights do not require a ballast. Therefore, upgrading to LED will save the replacement cost of at least two ballasts for every fluorescent fixture converted to LED. The average cost of a fluorescent ballast is $30.00 each, so over $60.00 in ballast replacement costs is saved for every lighting fixture upgraded to LED.
For easy math, let’s say that an office building has 100 fixtures. In our example, each fixture has one ballast and three, four-foot fluorescent tubes. So that’s 300 tubes and 100 ballasts. Each tube upgraded to LED is a savings of $5 in replacement costs. Multiply that by 3 for each fixture and it’s a $15 savings per fixture.
Additionally each fixture upgraded to LED is a savings of $60 in ballast replacement costs. So that’s a total of $75 in savings for each fixture. Multiply that by 100 fixtures and the savings just in bulb-replacement costs is $7,500 over the 50,000 hour lifespan of the LED bulbs!
There is another kind of bulb typically used in large spaces like gymnasiums, warehouses, movie theaters, footballs stadiums, parking lots and outdoor activity areas. It’s called an HID lamp (high-intensity discharge lamp). In an HID bulb, the filament found in a traditional light bulb is replaced with a capsule of gas. The light emanates from an arc discharge between two closely spaced electrodes. This discharge is hermetically2 sealed inside a small quartz glass tubular capsule. HID lights require a ballast which carefully regulates the voltage supplied to the capsule of gas.
The typical 400 watt HID bulb has a lifespan of around 15,000 hours. The LED replacement has a lifespan of around 100,000 hours—lasting more than 6 times as long! Therefore, upgrading to LED will save the replacement cost of at least 5 HID bulbs for every LED upgrade used. The average cost of an HID bulb is $15.00 each, so about $75.00 is saved for every HID bulb replaced with LED.
HID bulbs also require a ballast to operate properly. This component has a lifespan of around 20,000 hours. LED lights do not require a ballast. Therefore, upgrading to LED will save the replacement cost of at least five ballasts for every HID fixture converted to LED. The average cost of an HID ballast is $30.00 each, so over $150.00 is saved for every HID bulb replaced with LED. The combined bulb and ballast savings per bulb is $225! If 100 HID bulbs are replaced with LED, that provides $22,500 in savings over the life of the LED bulbs!
In addition to the equipment replacement costs avoided by upgrading to LED, there are associated labor costs that are also avoided. Most facilities install their own fluorescent tubes, so there is often no labor cost associated with this maintenance effort. However, there is a labor cost associated with the installation of replacement ballasts which is avoided by upgrading to LED. In the case of fluorescent tubes, at least two ballast installation cycles are avoided. This installation is often done by an electrician and can become a major ongoing expense. The average cost for an electrician to install fluorescent lighting ballasts is $45.00 each, so over the lifetime of an LED bulb, $90.00 in labor costs can be saved for every lighting fixture upgraded to LED (two ballast installations by an electrician).
In the case of HID bulbs, at least five ballast installation cycles are avoided by upgrading to LED. This installation is not only typically done by an outside service or electrician, but can also require specialized hoist equipment. This cost is also avoided by upgrading to LED. The average cost for an electrician to install HID ballasts is $45.00 each, so another $225.00 is saved for every HID bulb upgraded to LED (five ballast installations by an electrician).
EXTREME TOTAL MAINTENTANCE SAVINGS!
The costs cited here are very conservative estimates over the lifetime of LED lights.
In our example above, the total maintenance cost savings realized when upgrading 300 fluorescent tubes with 100 ballasts to LED is over $16,500 over the life of the LED bulbs!
The total maintenance cost savings realized when upgrading 100 HID bulbs to LED is over $45,000 over the life of the LED bulbs!
In many situations, the substantial maintenance savings can nearly double the overall project savings. Not many things give you such a great return on your investment. Upgrading to LED is smart business.
Call Jeannine at CES if you would like further information about upgrading to LED Lighting.
Her number is 844-277-0043.
1ballast: an electrical device for starting and regulating the electrical flow to fluorescent and discharge lamps. It maintains the electric current through a bulb at a specified amount.
2hermetically: when something has a seal that has the quality of being airtight it is hermetically sealed.