LEDs Are Making an Impact on the Outdoor Lighting Market
No matter what survey, study or research you look at, LEDs are taking over the lighting industry. The U.S. Department of Energy, or DOE, is especially optimistic about the future of LED lighting, forecasting it to own about 85 percent of all lumen-hour sales in 2030. That number is impressive alone, but it includes residential indoor sales, and residential indoor sales are big part of the picture.
What about outdoor lighting, specifically? A report released by Research and Markets states that the outdoor lighting market will climb to $14.2 billion by 2023, and much of that is due to the rise of LED lighting. Here’s another data point: According to a 2017 DOE report, among all 2016 outdoor lighting installations, about 30 percent involved the use of LED technology. That led to an energy savings of approximately 62 quadrillion British thermal units, or Btus. It’s clear why property owners are making the switch to LED lighting with that kind of improved efficiency.
Better efficiency, though, is only a small part of the overall picture.
It’s Time to Make the Switch to LED
A property owner may be reluctant to upgrade to LED if they have invested in new lighting recently, but in the long run, LED will outperform convention lighting systems, even newly installed ones. If performance or reliability is the priority, LED lighting is the choice.
Retrofitting is a viable option for property owners. That wasn’t always the case, as LED fixtures were difficult to adapt to an existing systems at one time. Now, LED fixtures can replace high intensity discharge, or HID, systems with the use of fitters and adapters that can work with nearly any lighting pole in existence. Retrofitting to LED is wise for several reasons, and property owners don’t need to fear a loss of lighting intensity or reliability, as LED excels at both.
Why LED Shines the Brightest
Here’s why a move to LED makes sense for property owners:
- LEDs last a long time – One of the primary reasons for LED’s emergence is its longevity. LED lighting may cost more upfront, but compared to HID lamps, they last several times longer. A typical HID fixture is rated for 15,000 to 25,000 hours, while an LED fixture is rated for at least 50,000 hours, and some last 100,000 hours or more.A fixture’s rated life, though, can be deceiving. An HID lamp may be rated for up to 25,000 hours, but as they age, they quickly decline in intensity. By the 8,000 hour mark, an HID lamp will output 20 percent fewer lumens per watt. Meanwhile, an LED lamp will still be operating near peak intensity.
Replacing outdoor and commercial fixtures requires an expert. With LED lighting, property owners can reduce their maintenance expenses and ensure greater uptime.
- LEDs switch on instantly – Conventional outdoor fixtures require an extended warmup period which may last several minutes. This can lead to gaps in lighting and leave people in the dark. A warmup period also makes it difficult to control the fixtures, as they cannot respond immediately to motion.LED lighting does not need to warm up before switching on, so it reaches full intensity immediately. Unsurprisingly, LED fixtures are popular additions to parking lots and garages, as they can switch on in response to people or vehicles.
LED’s instant-on advantage is even more pronounced in cold weather, as HID lamps may struggle to reach full intensity when subjected to cold temperatures. That’s another problem for HID that isn’t an issue for LED.
- LEDs provide brilliant, even illumination – LED fixtures once lagged behind conventional lighting in terms of power, but that’s no longer the case. In fact, LED lighting is prized for its quality illumination, which is far more even than conventional technology. That’s because LED fixtures are directional by their design, so they can be aimed with far greater precision. HID lamps, for example, radiate in all directions and must be fitted with bulky reflectors to redirect some of the wasted illumination.Because LED technology can be easily aimed, LED lighting installers can accurately diagram how intense the light will be at every spot within the fixture’s range. This prevents any hotspots or dead spots from forming, and that promotes better security and safety.
- LEDs render color well – Everyone knows the familiar orange or blue cast an HID lamp creates. LED lamps don’t produce any such cast, and most achieve at least an 80 rating on the color rendering index, or CRI, scale. Contrast that with HID fixtures, some of which “achieve” CRI ratings in the single digits.It may not seem like color rendering is an important feature to have in an outdoor light, but color is an essential piece of visual information. With it, it’s easier for people to assess a potential threat from a distance, and that helps people feel safer. True color helps drivers detect pedestrians sooner, which is critical in parking areas. It also helps warehouse and manufacturing workers do their job with greater efficiency and awareness.
LEDs are making a noticeable impact on the outdoor lighting market, and that trend will accelerate. It’s a matter of when, not if, LED lighting emerges as the first option in outdoor lighting, but even now, there are compelling reasons to choose it. With its superior reliability, power and controllability, LED lighting technology is taking over as the market frontrunner.