Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Make the Switch to LED Parking Lot Lights

Upgrade 250W and 400W Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium Parking Lot Lights

The most effective thing a business could easily implement to save money is to convert their parking lot lights over to LED. It won't just save those businesses 70% or perhaps better in decreased energy savings, LED will certainly also provide a much brighter and less dangerous environment for both customers and personnel. New fixtures do not need to be purchased as most fixtures can be upgraded with a convenient LED Retrofit Kit. Most companies don't realize that numerous utility companies promote significant rebates when your business converts over to LED? Plus then there is a noticeable difference between DLC Standard and DLC Premium when it involves both energy cost savings as well as the possible rebate total? Below is a straight forward article concerning the issues to consider, economics and advantages of converting over to a LED Retrofit Kit.

Payback compensation once a consumer converts to LED Lighting in the vehicle parking lot is fairly fast. In most circumstances, it is well under 12 years. The explanation is the majority parking lot lights tend to be powered on 12 hours a night or 4380 hours per year; and based on your cost on electricity, for instance if you are at .12 kw/h or more, your payback will probably be quick and you'll have years of incredible cost savings to boot. The third aspect, rebates, boost payback because the cost of purchase is reduced by the energy rebate.

Plus these types of lights are manufactured to keep going a very long time period. LED life is calculated two ways, the life of the LED and the life of the complete system. The lifespan of the LED is known as L70 or the quantity of time it takes for the LED to drop 30% of its preliminary lumens. The next is the life of all components. It's assumed that L70 can get 50,000 hours or better, as well as the lifespan of the whole system. So at 4380 hours of usage per year, it means 10-20 years of function without having to worry about replacing a bulb or ballast.

Replacing 250W Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium

There are two options to look at.  For 80% of all instances, in which the fixture is beneath 20 feet in elevation, a 60W LED Retrofit Kit will be more than sufficient to take the place of a 250W Metal Halide or High Pressure Sodium Bulb. The retrofit kit generates more than 9,000 lumens.  Customers appreciate the outcomes since this represents a 79% energy savings.

The alternative way to go, if the region is under lit or more than 20 feet in height, is to think about upgrading to a 75W LED Retrofit Kit. The unit generates 11,000 lumens and switching to this unit realizes a cost savings of 74%. Various suppliers think 11,000 lumens is actually sufficient to replace a 400W Metal Halide. So switching to this kit is definitely an upgrade over the light level currently there.

Let's look at an example: 60 LED Watts replacing 250 Watts for 12 hrs/day 365 days/yr saving 996 kw/year at .12 cost per kw/h would save $120 per year per bulb.

Replacing 400W Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium Bulbs

There are again two options  to replace the 400W Metal Halide or High Pressure Sodium light source. As in 80% of cases, where the light fixture is beneath 30 feet in elevation a 105W LED Retrofit Kit will be more than sufficient to replace a 400W Metal Halide or High Pressure Sodium Bulb. This retrofit kit generates virtually 16,000 lumens.  Which represents a 78% energy cost savings.

The other alternative, if the region is under lit or more than 30 feet in height, is to think about upgrading to a 120W LED Retrofit Kit. This unit creates 17,500 lumens and changing to this product realizes a savings of 74%. These types of solutions are going to be a lighting improvement over what is currently there promoting a lighter safer environment and significant savings.

An example here would look like: 105 LED Watts replacing 400 Watts for 12 hrs/day 365 days/yr saving 1555 kw/year at .12 kw/h realizes a savings of over $187 per year.

Just what about the rebates?

Rebates are generally around and differ by utility, but with the new DLC system, they have differentiated between DLC Standard and DLC Premium. There are two large distinctions between these two standards, first is the efficiency and next the rebate amounts.

DLC Premium is a better efficiency standard compared to DLC Standard. For the customer, this means more light produced while wasting decreased energy equating to more dollars in pocket. Because the overall idea of converting over to LED is to conserve money, efficiency matters. Although numerous retrofit kits look similar, there are considerable differences in their overall performance. One competitor's product is indexed on their website at 97 lumens/watt whereas another is much better at 150 lumens/watt. They need 30 more watts to produce 2000 less lumens when comparing the two products.

But let's look at a Rebate Example: Mass Saves (Massachusetts) separates their rebates for DLC Standard against DLC Premium equipment. Rebate sums are between $25 and $100 additional for DLC Premium goods compared to DLC Standard. So not only is there more savings with a high efficiency product, but costs are less to purchase product. So by paying attention to the efficiency and the rebate amount does make a difference.

Specifically what about brand new LED Parking Lot Lights?

These lighting fixtures replace the present fixture on the pole. These need to be thought about when the current fixtures are aged and worn out, and perhaps leaking. It does not appear sensible to retrofit an old worn out light fixture. So the ideal solution is actually to exchange the fixtures with a new LED Parking Lot Light.

The Outcome!

By converting  parking lot lights to LED the following benefits are accomplished.
  • Great savings on the cost of purchasing and installing a new fixture.  LED Retrofit Kits are less costly in general.
  • Save more than 70% of electrical energy expenses by moving to LED
  • Lower upkeep cost - LED Retrofit/Fixtures last 2-4 times as long as HID components
  • Lighter and brighter safe parking lots for clients as well as staff members
  • The building appears more attractive with additional and improved light - customers choose to go shop there!

Converting to LED High Mast Area Lights

One of the best uses of LEDs today is to convert over existing Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium High Mast lights to LED. Usually when something is too good to be true, you sit back and wonder what the catch is? What don't I know? What am I trading off, the good for the bad?

Well the good news is there isn't a catch, the conversion to LED is worth your time. The savings are real, the quality of light is that good, and the reduction in maintenance is as good as what you have been told. But lets back it up with a few facts.

1. Reduction in Energy:

For this calculation, we are going to talk about our 400W LED High Mast light that operates at 130 lumens/watt. This light is more than enough to replace a 1000W Metal Halide or High Pressure Sodium bulb. The LED Light consumes 400W, the old light consumes a total of 1150 watts when you include ballast draw. That represents a 66% savings per light, or 750 actual watts saved per light. That's almost $400 a year saved per light, assuming the lights run 12 hours a night and 365 days a year at .12 kw.h charge. That's real money, and considering some high mast poles have 12 lights, that's almost a savings of $5000 per year.

2. Reduction in Maintenance Costs

The life of LED is measured in 2 ways, the life of the LED (L70) and the life of the entire fixture. L70 is a measurement of lumen depreciation - how long in hours before the light has lost 30% of its initial brightness. With LED, the number should start at 50,000 hours. Some have made claims of 200,000 hours, but no one will be around to determine if that is in fact a reality. But 50,000 hours represents 12 years of not changing bulbs. And in a high mast light mounted 120 feet in the air, this is a good thing

The other measurement is how long will the entire fixture work. In other words, how long before one of the components fail. No one knows for sure, LEDs are electronics and sometimes electronics fails. But it is not unreasonable to expect these electronics parts to last at least 50,000 hours or more. So once again, this puts you into the 12+ years of zero maintenance.

3. Better Quality of Light

The quality of light is a measurement of Color Rendering Index, or CRI. This scale of CRI is 0 to 100, 100 being daylight. So the closer a bulbs is measured to 100 CRI, the more it represents sun light.

LEDs have great CRI, typically starting at around 70 and going into the 90's. A CRI 90 bulb would be something you would want to use in a retail store or car dealership, where presentation is everything. In the world of high height flood lighting, 70+ CRI is just fine. And when you compare that to the CRI of High Pressure Sodium (around 30), the improvement is incredible


So where is the down side? The stuff we purposely didn't tell you? Well, we can't think of anything that is a negative. LED is the future, and it is the present. If you want better light and like the idea of saving money, it's well worth your time to convert over the old high mast lights you have to LED.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Should you replace or retrofit your existing fixtures when thinking of converting to LED?

This is an excellent question fraught with misinformation. Fortunately, we offer both new and retrofit LED solutions, so our opinions are not biased based on marketing. We truly have years of experience guiding our customers into making the best decision for their application and requirements, because let's face it, no two situations are exactly the same. 

We have heard all the arguments ourselves. Many times when we compete against other vendors, it is even interesting for us to hear some of the (mis)information that is provided to them. Vendors who just sell retrofit kits scream the virtue of how beneficial it is to retrofit your existing fixtures. Vendors who only sell new fixtures make claims that their products are superior to any retrofit solution.

So who are you to believe? Here are some points we believe to be true:
  • If your fixtures are in relatively good shape, retrofitting is typically lower cost, all things considered. New fixtures are not cheap, and using your existing fixture will save you money, plus a retrofit kit is less expensive to ship than a new fixture.
  • If you have a large investment in your fixtures, then retrofitting allows you to keep your fixtures but move over to the new technology. A good example of this is area lighting at car dealerships where the pole and light head are an architecturally matching pair. Replacing the head with a non-match led head does not make sense.
  • If your fixtures are old and deteriorating, then you should replace your fixtures.  LED Retrofit kits are not water proof, and you could damage them if they get wet. The LED Drivers are typically waterproof (look for the IP rating on the label, it needs to say IP65, IP66 or IP67).
  • There are instances where we would always recommend new LED Fixtures over retrofit. One instance would be for High Mast Lights and most 1000W Metal Halide High Bay applications.
  • It takes slightly longer to retrofit a fixture than it does to replace it.
  • You have to account for the disposal of the bulb, ballast and fixture when you replace a fixture and account for the disposal of the bulb and ballast when you retrofit a fixture.
  • Retrofit solutions perform as well as new fixture solutions.
  • Retrofit solutions will last as long as new fixtures as long as the retrofit kit is installed properly.
  • Regardless of what solution you choose, you need to review the specifications of the LED components.
  • You should always determine how many lumens you need to replace your existing fixture, NEVER purchase based on watts.
  • Not all LED solutions produce the same lumen per watt output. Pay special attention to the lumens per watt of a fixture . IT DOES MATTER.
  • A LED product at 135 lumens / watt will consume far less energy than a LED product producing 97 lumens/watt.
  • Not all LED solutions are the same. (remember, always buy on the lumens you need , never on the watts you think you need).
  • To calculate lumens per watt, take the total number of lumens a product produces and divide it by the watts it consumes.
  • A DLC Premium Product is more efficient than a DLC Standard Product. This means that you will save more money every day when you install a DLC Premium Qualified LED Product. There is a good chance you will also get a larger rebate at time of purchase.