- Doug Cook
LED Lighting – Ready for Prime Time
In our new office, we choose LED lighting for the future. I spent some time researching this technology and can say now that it’s ready for use and now cheaper than traditional light bulbs or compact flourescents.
Two problems of the past have been fixed: cost and color balance.
I paid $60 for a 50watt replacement PAR20 as a test for our office sign in 2011. That same bulb today costs $17. The price now is LESS than what an equivalent amount of Halogen Par20 bulbs would cost. I noticed something odd on the first night were I had one side of the sign lit up by the LED bulb and the other by a halogen bulb. The LED bulb attracted much fewer insects. I later learned that many of these bulbs don’t emit UV light which can attract insects.
Color rendition has “warmed up.” Now in their fifth generation, warm incandescent colors are available. Prior versions suffered from a bluish tint that was worse than the cool white of the old 40 watt flourescent office bulbs. You can now get them in daylight or warm interior colors
Another advantage: Long life. There is a value to not having to replace burned out bulbs. My exterior LED PAR20’s rated at 25,000 hours outlast 6 halogen PAR20’s rated for 1500 hours – that’s six times less replacement hassle. Plus each bulb saves $111 in electricity over the life of the bulb. That means the fifteen LED’s running at 9.5 watts that illuminate my homes exterior save $1665 off my energy bills over 6 years.
Yet another advantage – harder to measure is that these cooler bulbs should save additional energy on air conditioner bills since they do not heat up as much.
Cree and Felt Electric
Final advantage. Less frequent replacement so the hassle factor offers some blue sky value with lower “maintenance labor” cost in addition to the electric and bulb cost savings.