Can you afford to buy expensive LED lights? Perhaps a better question might be whether you can afford not to buy them.
To be sure, LED lights are expensive. See ad for Oakes Brothers on page 28. A trip to the store showed a CFL replacement for a 60-watt incandescent bulb cost only about a quarter of what an LED of the same brightness cost. Prices, however, are going down rapidly on LEDs, and there are other reasons to buy them.
The cost of a light bulb is only a small part of what a light bulb costs. Two important questions are, “How much electricity does it use?” and “How long does it last?” The LED costs less than the CFL to run, and far less than the incandescent did. It also outlasts the CFL by about 5-to-1. This combination makes it less expensive overall.
While this is important in the home, it is even more important for commercial operations. According to the US Government’s Energy Star web site, qualified commercial LED lighting offers an “unprecedented opportunity to save energy, maintenance and cooling costs and is a natural fit for cutting-edge renovation, new construction projects, or easy retrofits.” (Visit www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=ssl.pr_commercial .)
There are five ways the LEDs can save money.
1. LEDs reduce consumption. A typical conversion from Metal Halide, High Pressure Sodium or Mercury Vapor lighting to an equivalent LED Light sees immediate savings of 60% or more on your lighting bills.
2. LEDs reduce maintenance costs. Many of our industrial and commercial LED Lighting products have life spans exceeding 100,000 hours or more. Bulb and ballast replacement will become a thing of the past.
3. LEDs require less frequent replacement. In some cases, such as a factory or warehouse with a high ceiling, replacing a light can have an appreciable labor cost for moving ladders and other equipment in preparation and cleanup. Work may even have to stop in the area while light replacement is underway. The cost of replacing a fluorescent light can easily exceed the cost of a new LED replacement.
4. Converting to LEDs may qualify for rebates and federal tax credits. Rebates may be available to help offset the initial expenditure of LED conversion. Some installations qualify for a 60¢ per square foot Federal Tax Credit! Also, lights qualified under DesignLights Consortium (www.designlights.org/) often qualify for rebates with utility companies, as much as 50% of the cost of the project.
5. LEDs provide better lighting, potentially making work more productive.