As electricity prices rise, low power consumption becomes increasingly important. LED is superior to all other alternatives on the market in terms of energy efficiency and life span. Comparing LED with traditional solutions can easily turn into a matter of apples and oranges. The properties measured in the laboratory of an LED manufacturer cannot be directly linked to how an LED module performs in a luminaire. To get a good idea of the light’s capacity, the LED needs to be placed in its specific lighting context.
The life span of an LED module greatly exceeds that of a traditional light source. This leads to reduced consumption of raw materials, less throwing away and less strain on the recycling system. Although unlike traditional light sources, such as fluorescent tubes, LED modules contain no mercury, which simplifies waste management and reduces the risk of emissions.
Efficiency vs Light Output
The energy efficiency of luminaires with traditional light sources is described in terms of light output ratio (LOR). The LOR is measured by comparing the light flow from a freely glowing reference light source with the measured light output from the luminaire. But the energy efficiency of an LED luminaire cannot be defined by light output. The reason for this is that the whole luminaire, including the LED and the electrical ballast, is counted as a reference, and as a result the light output is always 100%. Instead, the efficiency of an LED luminaire is defined as the ratio of the total measured luminous flux (lm) to the radiant flux including ballast (lm/W).
At least 50 000 hours
An LED luminaire can have a very long life span – assuming that it is well-designed and has high-quality components. An LED very rarely breaks although, as with any electronic products, there is a normal failure rate. Rather than breaking, an LED generates reduced light flow over time. Life expectancy is defined as when the light from the lamp goes down to 70 % of the initial value. The Life span is expressed as L70, followed by the number of hours. The standard life span of most LED luminaires is L70 50,000 hours, but there are deviations both upwards and downwards. The expected life span is affected by several factors: LED manufacturer, type of LED, how hard it is run, the choice of ballast, luminaire and materials and the environment in which the product is installed.
Save time and money on maintenance
Outside of standard cleaning, LED luminaires are pretty much maintenance free throughout their lifecycle. As such, larger organisations can save considerable amounts by not having to keep stock of equipment and associated man-power in replacing the light sources.
Coloured light without additional cost
One of the advantages of LED is that the technology can produce coloured light without using a filter, which saves a lot of energy. For instance, with a traditional spotlight adding a colour filter can reduce the light flow by up to 90%. With an LED, the colour of the light is determined by the material it is made of.