At the end of last year Ecolight Solutions was involved in a forum organised by the Hume City Council as part of their Business Efficiency Network. Although, the forum was aimed at the Hospitality Industry and most of the guests were from this field; many of the topics that were discussed are very relevant to most industries. We thought we should share this information with as many people as possible. This latest ‘News’ article summarises the latest developments in LED lighting.
The Sustainable Hospitality Forum presenters came from various disciplines that included waste and water reduction, energy efficiency with relation to HVAC and lighting systems. Ecolight Solutions was invited to talk about LED lighting in particular and to demonstrate how upgrading old lighting technologies can result in great CO2 and electricity reduction. (Ecolight Solutions slides can be found here Ecolight Solutions LED presentation).
There are a great number of advantages associated with installing LED lights and some of the points that were highlighted during the presentation are applicable across the board. LED lights are gradually replacing traditional lighting technologies such as incandescent and halogen globes, fluorescent lights and even some high intensity discharge (HID) lights such as sodium, mercury and metal halide lights.
Latest developments in LED lighting
During the last couple of years the evolution of LED lighting has been phenomenal. Their improvement in light output has been unmatched by any other lighting technologies during such a short time. Further advances are still expected but even where they are at today is sufficient for a wide range of uses. Naturally the innovation in LEDs is spurred by the need to become more energy efficient which is closely-linked to reducing greenhouse emissions on our planet.
There is no need to talk about the shortcomings of the CFLs that were quickly introduced as a solution after the government decided to phase out incandescent globes. While there is still a place for these CFL globes, most people found them to be inadequate as a replacement for the old light globes, especially in their homes. LED lights have numerous advantages over incandescent and CFL lighting. Just to mention a few, LEDs:
- have more light for less power consumption – 10W LED can equal to 50W halogen
- long life – LEDs can last for a minimum of 35,000 hours compared to a few thousand hours
- virtually maintenance free due to lasting for 5-10 years saving on lamp and labour costs
- switch on immediately thus not requiring a warm up time
- better light quality with even distribution and a greater variety of colour temperatures
- reduced heat – halogens for instance lose up to 90% of their energy as heat
- less risk of fire particularly with halogen downlights that can be running at 300 Celsius
- no mercury used in lights and all parts are clean and recyclable at the end of life
- conform to ‘old style’ lighting when it comes to light fittings (e.g. fancy light globes)
Cost of investment on LED lighting
There are other factors to consider also. The payback or return on investment is constantly reducing. As the uptake increases, the cost of purchasing a LED light becomes less. Even without generous government subsidies in the form of energy trading certificates (e.g. VEECs and ESCIs) it is a worthwhile investment. Generally in most commercial applications lighting is attributed to 30% of energy use, while this figure can be up to 10% in homes.
The payback –without government funding- for commercial properties can be well under 5 years and in many cases even as little as 1 year! This is because lighting in the commercial industry, especially in hospitality, operates for long hours. Many factories and offices also have their lights on from around 8am to 6pm as do schools and shops. Sporting venues use many very high wattage lighting sources too. There are also many businesses that operate from 12 to 24 hours a day. Of course with the assistance of a scheme such as VEET (www.veet.vic.gov.au) the commercial market is set to benefit even more with potential halving of the payback time.
- Ecolight Solutions Energy Savings Table (example for an all day cafe)
As for domestic use; the home market has been dominated by halogen downlights for so long that most homes have an average of 20 of them but it could be as many as 100 downlights. This simply means: 20 x 50W (1,000 Watts) or 100 x 50W (5,000 Watts). Just imagine burning these for only four hours a day! There are easy savings to be had by getting rid of these 50 Watt halogens.
According to research by Beyond Zero Emissions if all existing lighting was switched over to LEDs about 80% of reduction in lighting energy could be achieved. These energy savings are in the order of 15 terawatt hours of electricity savings per year or 20 million tonnes of CO2 reduction. This in practical terms means that a coal-fired power station could be shut down.
Ecolight Solution Projects
Ecolight Solutions has been involved in a number of projects recently that involved the upgrading of old lighting to LEDs. We have found that people are more than satisfied with LED lighting when it comes to lighting levels, appearance, quality of light fittings and globes. In many cases even improved lighting was the outcome.