LEDs – deffo the sexy technology in lighting for the majority of us just now. There remains a vast amount of cheap Far East sourced stock being sold on the UK market but this does seem to be reducing and the quality of lamps and fittings being supplied is certainly improving. My experience is that the majority of the rubbish is being sold into the domestic market and the commercial end of things is seeing some real quality being installed.
So, some basics for consideration.
Firstly make sure you apply the 10% rule as a minimum standard – by which I mean if your LED lamp is not rated 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 lamp with a 1.5 or 3W LED GU10 lamp – you need 5W minimum and 6 or 7W even better.
Similarly where you have a 100W GLS “light bulb” stick a 10 or 11W GLS-shaped LED lamp in and you will be very pleased with the results.
If your shop is full of AR111 spots then it’s a 15W like the one shown below that you need to provide an effective replacement.
As an independent, impartial Energy Consultant, I keep abreast of the market, monitor who is selling what lamps and at what price, obtain samples, test them, evaluate specification datasheets, talk to the suppliers and then provide my clients with tangible options and informed choices based on my experience.
I guess 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 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. 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.
Finally, finances. LED lamps and fittings tend not to be cheap – but as with most things in life you get what you are able pay for. They can offer really serious 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.