Monstrous rumors are no match for the truth
Only 3% of the lights used in the United States are LEDs, despite being the most effective and versatile bulb available. One might ask, what is stopping this revolutionary technology from taking over the lighting market? We’ve talked to people all over San Diego county from a variety of professions and we’ve concluded that common LED myths have cast a shadow over the facts that set LEDs apart from other lights. We’re not sure entirely what creates these myths, but it’s probably the same as any other misconstrued information: a lack of knowledge. We’ve listed the top ten myths that we as a company hear repeatedly and have set the record straight.
The 10 most frequently professed LED Myths:
1) American Manufactured LEDs are better
There is a keyword in this statement: manufactured. All (and we mean all) LED components are sourced overseas and then certain distributors assemble/manufacture them in the US to be labeled “made in USA.” The product is exactly the same with respect to efficacy and energy efficiency. All the parts originate from the same place, the quality of the product remains equal and including a US based assembly team is simply unnecessary.
2) Buying from local distributors is the best way to source lights
The main factor that separates manufacturer-direct suppliers from distributors is complete control of the product. When you walk into a distribution store, what you see is what’s available. Which is unfortunate, especially if your creative ambitions are limited by the distributor’s products. Direct contact with the manufacturer opens the door to custom lighting fixtures and bulb configurations. By optimizing the product for its environment, the buyer also creates more opportunities to save money with a more effective light source.
3) Controls are not worth the money
Motion sensor and daylighting controls are mandatory for any LED retrofit in California, but they create significant monetary benefits that everyone should know regardless of location. Implementing motion sensor controls can increase energy savings by 20-30% (in addition to initial upgrade savings) as well as increase the life of the product. For example, a 600 fixture LED solution without controls can save $10,000/year and will last 12 years. Adding motion sensors will increase the savings upward of $13,000/year and increase the product vitality to 15 years. Over the course of the solution lifetime, $75,000 will be retained for a $5,000 investment in controls.
4) Customization is costly
Customization entails additional costs, however, these costs result in labor savings. For a nominal increase in product expenses, installation time can be reduced by 30-50%. This labor reduction is established by the addition of small accessories (brackets, built in MC-Whips, etc.) as well as fixture housing adjustments. An in-depth understanding of the project and the ability to alter the product itself makes this tangible, a niche role manufacturer-direct companies fulfill.
We witnessed savings such as these during the San Diego Convention Center’s upgrade from fluorescent bulbs to LEDs. A portion of the LED upgrade project consisted of replacing 3,000 fluorescent troffers with LED panels. Multiple differences in troffer configuration, including mounting and installation methods, resulted in a preliminary labor bid of $90/fixture ($270,000 in labor total). To solve this problem, a variety of accessories were added to each LED panel. The adjustments simplified the process so drastically that the installation time was cut in half. Accessory cost per product was marginal, at approximately $10 of additions, but the labor cost per fixture dropped $55. In total, over $105,000 in labor fees were saved from customizing the LEDs.
5) Replacing bulbs vs. fixtures does not matter
Faulty fixtures still lose energy and therefore lose money. Newer fixtures work in cohesion with LEDs to ensure they last longer and are capable of handling updated technology. You wouldn’t buy a new toothpaste and expect your old toothbrush to suddenly regain its integrity, would you? The same principle applies to LEDs and the fixtures that house them.
6) LEDs are too expensive
At face value, yes, LEDs cost slightly more than fluorescent and other bulb types. However, a similar comparison would be saying a gym membership costs a lot of money, so allowing my health to falter is more cost effective. The costs of having to recuperate from what could have been avoided far outweigh the cost of upgrading. LEDs have longer lifespans than other bulbs (5-10 times longer), save more energy (60-90%), and eliminate maintenance expense that emerge from continuously replacing burned out lights. It is literally the expense of pennies to save dollars.
7) LEDs only emit blue light
We’ll keep this one simple: LED’s can emit any color light desired. Red, blue, and green lights are used to generate white light, but can be adjusted to make any color imaginable. The most common color variations relate to the Kelvin scale which spans from yellowish-orange lights (similar to incandescent bulbs) to blue light. Not only do these options serve aesthetic purposes, but they also assist with the maintenance of circadian rhythms because they can mirror natural solar patterns.
8) LEDs constantly change, why buy now?
In 2007, when the first-generation iPhone was released, the revolutionary device was met with a flood of criticism. 9 years later it is hard to imagine a world without them or any of the touch screen smartphones that followed. LEDs are forging the same path in lighting. They are more effective than other lighting options and will continue to improve. If you bought LEDs today, the amount of energy and money saved would be able to pay for a new set of LEDs and still leave you with extra cash by the time you required another upgrade.
9) Switching the lights on and off decreases the life of LEDs
Although this may be true for fluorescent and HID technologies, LEDs are not hindered by this action. LEDs are semiconductors and operate like the bulbs in your computer and TV screens. In theory, one could spend their entire life switching an LED on and off and it would have no effect on the function or brightness of the light.
10) LEDs are a fad
Let’s breakdown fads and trends first: a fad is something that comes up quick and goes even quicker. Think gluten intolerance and the ice bucket challenge, which were extremely popular and have since declined if not perished. Trends solve problems and continually progress with societal changes. The first LED was developed in 1962 and has improved daily since its inception. It is a solution that combats global energy misuse and shifts toward sustainability. Remember, only 3% of the lights in the US are LEDs and the number will be increasing because of new construction standards like Title 24. At this point the question is whether you would rather upgrade now or wait until it is a necessity.
The truth will set you free
LEDs are on the upswing from both a technological and environmental perspective, we hope that everyone who reads this article gains sufficient knowledge of this technology and how beneficial it is. We also acknowledge that we didn’t answer all the questions you might have about LEDs in our short article. However, we are more than happy to speak with anyone willing to reach out with questions or comments.
Give us a call, email, or comment below. We are here to help everyone be brighter.