October 7, 2022
You might think a blog about lights doesn’t sound very glowing, but take a few minutes to learn how to illuminate your life as we shed some light on an important topic to brighten your day.
OK—enough play on words, but this really is something you should want to know about because it will help you save money on your electric bill, lower bulb replacement costs, and improve task lighting where you live and work.
You’ve no doubt heard about LED lighting, and you might already be using it in your home or workplace. If so, good for you. If not, read on. Either way, you will probably learn something helpful in this blog.
LED (light-emitting diode) lighting is today’s most energy-efficient and rapidly developing lighting technology according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s website. LED light bulbs last longer, are more durable, and generally offer better light quality than other types of lighting.
Let’s start by looking at energy savings on a large scale. The DOE states that by 2035, the majority of lighting installations in the U.S. likely will be using LED technology, and energy savings from LED lighting could top 569 TWh. A Terawatt hour is 1 billion kWh, which is equal to the annual energy output of more than ninety-two 1,000 MW power plants—roughly equivalent to enough energy to continuously power 200,000 homes. That’s HUGE! You can see that these lights make a significant difference in energy costs, and you will experience energy savings in your household and/or business as well by using LED lighting.
The rapid development of LED technology has resulted in increased product availability, improved manufacturing efficiency, and lower prices. In 2020, the LED lighting market was valued at $76 billion, and it is expected to more than double to $160 billion by 2026.
The uses of LED lighting are extensive with applications in: street lights, parking garage lighting, walkways and other outdoor area lighting, modular lighting, and task lighting—extra lighting in a room with ambient lighting for doing tasks such as reading and sewing, under cabinet lighting, and table lamps. Recessed downlighting is another example of the practicability of LEDs—in residential kitchens, hallways and bathrooms, and in office and commercial settings. The DOE estimates there are over 600 million recessed downlights in U.S. homes and businesses.
LED replacement bulbs for general household and office use are becoming more affordable and effective in replacing almost every type of bulb and fixture imaginable, from incandescent to florescent to industrial metal halide. You want to make sure the product is the right brightness and color for its intended use and location. Compared to incandescent bulbs, LED lights are about 90% more efficient.
LED lights last longer than incandescent bulbs. The DOE reports that a 60W incandescent bulb will last for approximately 1,000 hours. You can expect a similarly bright 12W LED bulb to last around 25,000 hours—some can go as high as 50,000 to 100,000 hours. As a general rule, a good quality LED bulb can last 3 to 5 times longer than a CFL bulb and 30 times longer than an incandescent bulb. CFL (compact florescent lamps—the corkscrew-shaped bulbs) are being phased out according to the DOE. LED lights don’t burn out; they experience “lumen depreciation” where the bulb’s brightness fades over time, according to berilli.com.
Because of their longevity, LED lights are ideal for hard to reach locations such as recessed lighting, in houses of worship with vaulted ceiling lighting, or other venues with high ceilings.
LED lights emit little to no heat. That means they can be left on for a long time and not be hot to the touch. This reduces potential fire hazards, especially when using LED Christmas tree lights.
LED lights are excellent at directional lighting, meaning they are good for targeting lighting such as recessed kitchen lighting or in the bathroom over a mirror.
Destinationlighting.com advises that LED bulbs don’t contain mercury as do CFL bulbs, so you don’t have to deal with the hassle of where to dispose of them or be concerned about the dangers of cleaning up if you break one. Unlike CFLs, LED lights don’t require “warm up” time after being switched on.
There are several types of LED lights that emit different colors, so you can add some fun effects to your home’s lighting.
LED lights are still more costly to purchase than incandescent bulbs, but that gap is closing. And remember, the savings from the longer life of LED bulbs, plus the energy savings, offset the initial higher cost.
LED bulbs emit more blue light than incandescent bulbs, which are more on the red end of the spectrum. Blue light can cause disruption in your circadian rhythm and negatively affect your ability to fall asleep and the quality of your sleep. For this reason, LED lights in your bedroom are discouraged.
LED lights are not always dimmable. If you want this feature in your lighting, look for LED bulbs that are dimmer compatible and rated as having low flicker.
Some standard LED bulbs might not be compatible with your existing enclosed fixtures, such as flush-mount lighting. However, some manufacturers offer specialized bulbs for enclosures.
When thinking about using LED lighting, consider certain performance aspects, including lumens (they measure brightness—more lumens means it's a brighter light; fewer lumens means it's a dimmer light), and color rendering index (CRI), which describes the quality of light compared to a familiar reference, such as daylight. The best LED bulbs have a high lumen count and a CRI of at least 90.
Converting lighting to LED in an office space or factory has a typical process that Alvis-Laing Electric follows. The steps are:
Initial customer meeting to establish what the lighting needs are.
Alvis-Laing Electric would then select appropriate replacement fixtures or conversion bulbs and generate a model of what the new lighting would look like in the customer’s office or factory.
After the fixture and model are approved, a quote is generated for the fixtures as well as the installation. At this point, rebate options from the utility are explored.
After the quote is approved, existing bulbs or fixtures are removed and new LED lighting is installed. Old bulbs are disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.
Our local utility (Appalachian Electric Power) has a rebate program to offset the cost of LED conversions as well as other energy saving electrical installations. AEP’s Small Business Direct Install (SBDI) program helps businesses reduce lighting maintenance and operating costs as well as improve productivity with a more comfortable and inviting work environment. Plus, SBDI will assist with rebates for larger projects.
Examples of energy savings options from the SBDI program include LED screw-in bulbs, troffers and troffer retrofit kits, refrigerated case lighting, low-flow shower heads, low-flow pre-rinse sprayers, hot water pipe insulation, electric griddles, fryers, and hot food holding cabinets. Troffers are traditionally rectangular recessed lighting fixtures for florescent bulbs. Troffer lighting is now available in more economical LED.
For more information on this program, visit https://takechargeva.com/programs/for-your-business/small-business-direct-install-program
AEP’s new Business Energy Solutions (BES) program enables businesses to receive up to $25,000 each for lighting and non-lighting projects, for a total of $50,000. Check out this lucrative offering at https://takechargeva.com/programs/for-your-business/business-energy-solutions
AEP customers can get free LED lights by going to https://www.poweredbyefi.org/takechargeva/shop-all-products/kits.html
So many options to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs. Visit us at Alvis-Laing Electric for help making the right decisions on lighting: www.alvislaingelectric.com