LED Lighting: Worth the Investment?
By: Lynn Robbins, VP of Capital Projects
Is it possible to reduce lighting-related energy consumption by 80 percent? Is Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting the answer? Here is what we have discovered in our own practice of LED lighting implementations – and the latest industry information.
Savings Are Real.
In August, the U.S. Department of Energy reported that LED lighting was responsible for 143 trillion British Thermal Units (BTUs) in reduced U.S. energy consumption in 2014, resulting in a savings equivalent to $1.4 billion annually in energy cost.
Market Penetration Remains Low.
This same report found that overall market share remain in the low single digits, leaving substantial headroom to increase market penetration and related energy savings. The new analysis indicates that from 2012 to 2014, LED lighting market penetration climbed to 3 percent overall, versus less than 1 percent in 2012.
Maximize Rebates for Early ROI.
We worked with a national auto parts retailer to perform an initial implementation of LED exterior lighting. While the retailer operates thousands of stores, the LED effort focused on 1,200 stores as a way to brighten exteriors, improve safety and reduce costs. Our mission was to help the retailer retrofit its lighting and navigate through the processes and requirements to take advantage of incentives such as warranties, rebates, and manufacturer pricing. Taking advantage of incentives such as warranties, rebates, and manufacturer pricing can help offset the cost of implementation. The retailer expects a significant return on investment within 18 to 24 months, including $500,000 in rebate dollars.
Small Rollouts Can Yield Big Results.
A recent article featured in an industry magazine reports that one restaurant has achieved as much as an 80 percent reduction in lighting-related energy consumption. In addition, it will yield a full return on investment in eight months. The project was interior lighting only; 111 LEDs were installed across its kitchen, dining and retail spaces. Read the entire article here.
Moving to LED Requires a Roadmap.
It’s not as simple as changing light bulbs to experience dramatic savings. It begins with a commitment to precision and process—and a partner that really knows what they’re doing. Expect a thorough analysis of existing lighting sources and costs. Identify the priorities. For example, are you most interested in reducing energy costs or maintenance costs? How important are aesthetics versus security and safety? In terms of lighting manufacturers, what is available and what do you expect in terms of warranties, rebates and the relationship? It’s not necessarily difficult, but traveling “a road well traveled” always makes transitions and implementations much less costly and painful. Choose your partners carefully.
Ultimately, LED lighting will completely replace the time-honored incandescent. Are you ready? You can save and ease into the potential of LED, indoor and outdoor.