How Business Owners Can Benefit from Switching to LED Lighting

How Business Owners Can Benefit from Switching to LED Lighting

LEDs have long been touted as the lighting technology of the future, but if the data is anything to go by, it’s also the present. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), almost half of commercial buildings in 2018 had LED lights installed. And that trend is likely accelerating, as fluorescent tubes are quickly being phased out for LEDs.

The case for LED lighting is strengthening, and for business owners, the time has never been better to make the switch.

Here are six compelling reasons why it’s time to transition to LED lighting technology.

1) The Benefits of LED Lighting are Instantly Available with a Retrofit

For many businesses, the initial cost and lead times associated with LED lighting have been limiting factors. The emergence of LED retrofit solutions, though, has minimized these factors.

Through retrofitting, companies can instantly access LED lighting without ripping out and overhauling the existing lighting infrastructure. In most cases, only the bulbs need to be replaced. A lighting expert can help confirm this and provide insight into what a retrofit project will include, so business owners know what to expect budget and timeline-wise. In general, though, an LED retrofit costs less and takes less time than installing a new system.

LED lighting is now as accessible as it’s ever been with retrofit options hitting the market. And unsurprisingly, many businesses are using them to make the switch to LEDs.

2) LED Lights Have an Unbeatable Energy Efficiency Advantage

Lighting represents 15-20 percent of a commercial property’s energy consumption, making it the biggest power draw for many facilities. That means the biggest efficiency gains often involve lighting upgrades. Specifically, upgrading to LED bulbs.

LEDs offer serious energy savings compared to other lighting technologies. The advantage over incandescent and halogen is enormous, but in a commercial context, the comparison is usually made with fluorescents or metal halides.

Compared to fluorescent tubes, LED lighting is about 20 percent more efficient, according to the EIA. Compared to metal halides, LED’s system-level advantage is even more impressive and up to 50 percent more efficient than metal halides.

LED lighting’s efficiency advantage is two-fold. One, LED bulbs generate minimal heat. With a metal halide, about 75 percent of the input energy is wasted in thermal emissions. LEDs also emit heat, but at a much smaller scale than other forms of lighting, meaning more of that precious power is converted into light.

Two, LED lights are directional. They can be aimed, in other words. And because they can be aimed, more illumination reaches the ground, where it’s needed.

Fluorescent, HID lamps, and most other forms of lighting are omnidirectional – as in, they emit illumination in every direction. Bulky, inefficient reflectors are needed to capture and redirect this light. The result is lower system efficiency.

3) LEDs Last Much Longer Than Other Lighting Options

LED’s energy efficiency advantage can instantly reduce operating expenses, but there’s another way LEDs help in this area. Maintenance and lamp replacement costs add up quickly with outdated lighting systems. A fluorescent tube, for example, will fail around the 20,000-hour mark. The situation is worse with metal halides, which reach this point around 10,000 hours. In fact, a metal halide lamp may lose up to 10 percent of its initial output within the first 1,000 hours. With this rapid rate of decline, businesses spend a lot of money on replacement lamps.

With LED lighting, companies can claw back most of those maintenance and replacement expenses. The typical LED bulb will provide upwards of 50,000 hours of solid performance, and many last until the 100,000-hour mark. Even better, LEDs last that long with minimal maintenance. It’s a double bonus from an operating cost standpoint.

4) LED Bulbs Can Unlock Additional Productivity from Employees

LEDs produce a high-quality light that mimics the emission spectrum and brilliance of natural sunlight. People respond well to this natural-feeling and natural-looking illumination, which often encourages higher levels of productivity.

While more research is needed, early studies show that installing LED lighting comes with a slight productivity boost among workers. The boost is modest (a few percentage points), but multiply it among hundreds or thousands of employees, and that modest jump in productivity can shorten the system’s ROI by several years.

5) Tax Incentives and Rebates are Available with LED Lighting Solutions

There are a few tax write offs and incentives that can sweeten the pot when switching to LED lighting. Made permanent in 2021, Section 179D of the Internal Revenue Code allows qualified building owners (including commercial building owners) to deduct up to $0.60 per square foot when upgrading interior or exterior lighting solutions. To qualify, the improvements must reduce energy consumption by 25 percent or more.

Rebates are another option and are available in most parts of the country. Utility companies offer rebates because they have their own energy savings goals to hit, and one way to do that is to incentivize facility owners.

Thousands of products qualify for rebates where applicable, so consulting with a lighting professional is recommended. A lighting expert can point out which LED lighting products qualify for a rebate and how much a company can expect to save on its new technology.

6) LED Bulbs Can Be Easily and Safely Disposed Of

LED lighting is considered safe and non-toxic enough that it can be disposed of in the company’s general waste stream. That’s not the case with fluorescent tubes, which contain enough toxic mercury to be hazardous to the environment. Many municipalities require specialized disposal methods to deal with fluorescent tubes – an additional use of resources that isn’t necessary with LED lighting.

LED Lighting Offers Better Efficiency, Longevity and Performance for Business Owners

Older lighting technologies are entering their twilight, so to speak. Incandescent bulbs are practically history, T12 fluorescent tubes are phasing out, and it’s clear that the U.S. is moving toward LEDs as its next large-scale illumination solution.

It’s a switch that many business owners have already embraced because of what LED lighting offers. With superior energy efficiency, lifespan, performance and durability, commercial facilities are better with LED lights.

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