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What Is The Cost of Waiting for LED?

3p Contributor | Tuesday April 17th, 2012 | 2 Comments

[P-2] By Danielle Stewart
There’s no denying Solid State LED technology for commercial lighting purposes will be very useful, providing big energy and cost savings as well as great environmental paybacks. However, this is not the case for every application. At least, not yet.

If you’re familiar with Haitz’s law, you know it states that LED lighting will improve in efficiency and decrease in cost over time. The law predicts that Solid State Lighting will soon become the most energy-efficient light source out there. But, that hasn’t happened yet so environmental recommendations are that, in order to save money and energy now, you should swap your current lighting with energy-efficient fluorescents.

The five biggest incentives for switching to an energy efficient lighting solution now are:

How much will you save?
A lot.  If you want specific numbers for your office or warehouse check out our lighting retrofit calculator to calculate exact costs and savings. Let’s take a warehouse with 1,000 400-watt Metal Halide fixtures. At an average cost of 0.09 cents per kilowatt, a system of 1,000 400-watt Metal Halide fixtures costs $41.22 per hour. If the fixtures run an average of 730 hours every month (730 x $41.22), it ends up costing $30,090.60 every month or $30.09 per month in energy per fixture.

Now, let’s replace the Metal Halide fixtures with 1,000 4-Lamp T5-HO Fluorescent fixtures. At 0.09 cents per kilowatt, a system of 1,000 234-watt 4-Lamp T5-HO Fluorescent fixtures only costs $21.06 per hour. And, unlike the Metal Halide fixtures, fluorescents can average 300 hours per month*. That’s because fluorescent fixtures can be sensored so they may be off 50% of the time and controlled the other 50%. 300 hours x $21.06 gives you a cost of $6,318 per month or $6.32 per month in energy per fixture. Compared with the cost of the Metal Halide fixtures, installing fluorescents saves roughly $23,000 per month for a total of $285,000 a year.

*Each application varies.

Comparison of 1,000 400 Watt Metal Halide Fixtures and
1,000 4-Lamp T5-HO Fluorescent Fixtures
400 Watt
Metal Halide
(458 Input Watts)
4-Lamp T5-HO Fluorescent
(234 Input Watts)
System Watts x 0.09 cents$41.22/hour$21.06/hour
Energy Use per Month730 hours300 hours
Cost in Energy per Fixture per Month$30.09$6.32
Total Cost in Energy per Month$30,090.60$6,318
Total Cost Per Year$361,087$75,816

The longer you wait to replace your Metal Halide fixtures, the more savings you miss. Using the example above, if you decide to wait four years for LED, you’ll miss out on an estimated $1,140,000 worth of savings.

But, if you decide to install fluorescent fixtures now, you’ll reduce your costs and energy consumption, and increase your current light levels to offer you better performance over all. With the considerable cost savings, you’ll be able to save money to spend on Solid State Lighting when it becomes a more advanced light source for many applications in the future.

If you have a facility you think would benefit from fluorescent fixtures, call a lighting service professional or estimate your savings online using the calculator provided above.

Danielle Stewart is a lighting design expert who, over the last few years, has become increasingly interested in energy efficient commercial lighting design.  She now blogs for P-2, a manufacturer of energy efficient lighting and a resource for energy efficient lighting information. Follow us @p2lighting and Like Us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/PrecisionParagonP2


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  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.henderson Daniel Henderson

    I don’t understand. The article title is about LED lighting and then the comparison is between Metal Halide and T5 fluorescent. There wasn’t even a cost comparison for LED. 

  • http://www.p-2.com/ Precisionparagon2

    Basically what we are saying is the longer you wait to replace your Metal Halide fixtures, the more
    savings you miss. Using the example above, if you decide to wait four
    years for LED, you’ll miss out on an estimated $1,140,000 worth of
    savings, conclusion that you should retrofit with what is available now and then down the line go for LED