A major LED lighting upgrade is a long-term solution—think of it as a true investment in the optimized operation of your facility. And like all major investments, it’s necessary to dig into the numbers to ensure real payback into the future.
By now, you’ve taken stock of your existing lighting scheme and decided it’s the right time to upgrade. If your facility is anything like many industrial spaces in the country, you’ll likely be replacing traditional high intensity discharge (HID) fixtures. From a financial perspective, HID lighting generally leaves facility managers with two challenges: excessive energy consumption and expensive, time-consuming maintenance needs.
Reduced maintenance needs is a major contributor to overall ROI. Situated high above the working floor, any industrial lighting scheme requires special intention and often specialized equipment—here, the estimated lifespan of LED vs. HID becomes critical. GE's Albeo™ ABHX-Series LED high bay fixtures, for instance, are rated for 100,000 hours of light at L70 (where the LED lamp maintains at least 70 percent of its original light output at the end of the 100,000 hours). Most HID fixtures are rated for only a fraction of those hours.
Albeo ABH4 Series
Also consider a repair for a high bay lighting fixture is often necessary not because the entire fixture is faulty, but due to the failure of an internal component such as the driver. In cases like this, replacing the driver will allow the fixture to continue producing life for many additional years. Some LED fixture manufacturers will offer standard warranties that cover all internal components should an unexpected, premature failure occur.
When LED lighting was first introduced as a viable option for industrial spaces, a majority of payback was contingent upon those reduced maintenance costs compared to HID fixtures. But as LED prices have steadily decreased over the last several years, and as LED technology has advanced to include highly attractive energy cost savings, LED lighting has become a major contributor to ROI from all angles.
Consider a direct comparison from a real-world example. An indoor sports arena has requirements comparable to many industrial facilities: the need for constant, bright light; high ceilings prohibitive to frequent maintenance; and the need to reduce operation costs. In this environment, a direct comparison based on a yearly energy schedule of 4,500 hours @ $0.11/kWh shows LED annual energy costs totaling $4,366; HID annual energy costs total $20,108. Combine these figures with maintenance needs: HID necessitates an annual maintenance spend of approximately $20,000 while LED requires $0 within its 100,000 hours of rated life.
While reduced energy consumption and maintenance needs stack up to make LED an attractive investment, it doesn’t end there. LED inherently lends itself to opportunities that simply aren’t possible with HID. As an eminently controllable light source, LED systems can incorporate intelligent controls to ensure light is being used when and where it’s needed. Wireless controls allow instant dimming or other modifications and provide instant illumination where HID is inhibited by warm-up time to provide full illumination.
Further, many energy incentive rebates are available, rendering LED even more affordable for your facility. Many local utility providers offer energy incentive rebates that can range from $100 to $400 per fixture, depending on funding and burn hours. Often, taking advantage of these incentives requires an on-site lighting audit performed by a local utility company, or a lighting manufacturer or distributor.