LED Lighting is without question the “sexy” technology in lighting for the majority of us Energy Consultants just now. The quality and reliability of supply has greatly improved and the UK market is awash with LEDs – to the point where it is actually quite confusing for clients – what do they but and from whom – is cheap good – can cheap mean quality?
From my own point of view advising clients I have spent much time and effort sourcing two or three suppliers who are now my “go to” guys for LEDs. They all – without fail provide me with well thought out lighting design schemes (Dialux or Relux so we can show clients the projected outcome in an effective manner) and their costs are sensible – none of these silly RRP with massive discounts applied so you think you are getting a “deal” – just priced properly from the outset.
I can now supply – direct from the manufacturers – LED lighting for the majority of applications I come across when carrying out my energy surveys. So that covers offices and classrooms, shops and catering outfits, factories, warehouses, sports facilities and – oddly – dentists surgeries – no idea why but done a few of these in recent years.
Some basics information
The 10% rule – it’s a kind of minimum standard I like to apply – if your LED lamp is not rated (in watts) 10% or more of the lamp you are replacing the outcome may be disappointing.
So, for example, it is no use replacing a 50W halogen GU10 lamp with a 1.5 or 3W LED lamp – you need 5W minimum and 6W or 7W is going to be even better.
Similarly where you have a 100W GLS “light bulb” it’s a 10W or 11W GLS-shaped LED lamp you need to make sure you are pleased with the result.
If your shop is full of AR111 halogen spots then it’s 15W minimum for the LED replacement.
As an independent, impartial Energy Consultant, I provide my clients with tangible options and informed choices based on my experience. The alternative is that you pop into your local Electrical Wholesaler and hope they have an LED expert in the branch who won’t just try and sell you whatever gives the highest profit margin. Or you could even buy your lamps at the supermarket, cos obviously they only sell the best don’t they? No seriously give me a call or email me.
One area to consider when buying lighting, but particularly LEDs is colour (that is colour output and colour rendering).
I am a great fan of “daylight” in the 5700-6500K range but it is not to everyone’s taste. I wouldn’t recommend it in a Lounge for example but it is tremendous in a Bathroom.
I specify LED lighting in “daylight” for many offices due to the enhanced visual clarity but it needs to be coupled with mechanisms to eliminate glare and reflection so there is a degree of “art” and science involved.
Warranty is another area for consideration. Any decent LED lamp will come with a 3 year or even 5 year guarantee. Just be aware that the guarantee is usually focused on the T70, that is the length of time before the output falls to 70% of the initial output – 70% being the level at which you will probably begin to notice the deterioration.
LED Lighting suppliers will wax lyrical about 30,000 – 40,000 – even 50,000 hours but as few of these systems have been around that long it is mostly conjecture.
Bear in mind also that decent quality high frequency T5 fluorescent will give you 25,000 hours and more at a much lower price than LED so LED is not a panacea.
After 20,000 hours (7 or 8 years in a normal office operating 10 hours 5 days 52 weeks) you might well fancy a change anyway so quality, capital outlay and running costs are the true drivers.
Finances for LED Lighting
Refitting an entire property with LED lighting can be expensive – but as with most things in life you get what you are able pay for.
LEDs can offer really significant energy savings and are eligible for support from Resource Efficient Scotland in their interest free SME Loan scheme which should make them affordable to any business in Scotland.