LED lighting

What is Fluorescent – Mercury’s rising

Fluorescent lights are cheap like halogen bulbs, but last much longer – they should last approximately 9000 hours. They also give off more light per watt compared to halogen bulbs, are more energy efficient and don’t give off heat.

Frequently switching a fluorescent light on and off will significantly lower its lifespan, so you’ll have to replace it more often. Also, significant temperature drops or rises will affect their efficiency and the quality of the light they emit. 

The real issue with these bulbs, however, is that they contain mercury, a dangerous heavy metal. If a bulb breaks it can be harmful to both people and the environment, which is why proper disposal is essential. 

What is LED light?

LED (short for light-emitting diode) bulbs are the most efficient lighting choice, using only a third of the energy of fluorescent lights and potentially reducing your lights’ energy consumption by up to 80%. This is because an LED bulb needs a lot less heat to generate light, which is good news for your air conditioner.

Unlike fluorescent bulbs, the temperature of the room won’t affect the efficiency of an LED, so they’re energy-saving all year round. LEDs also last more than eight times longer than fluorescents – up to 80,000 hours – so you won’t have to replace them as often.

Although LED lights are generally more expensive to purchase than other bulbs, advances in manufacturing technology mean they are getting cheaper all the time. And because they are more efficient and last longer, you will be much better off in the long run. 

LEDs generate directional lighting, so they might not be as appropriate for table lamps as other bulbs. However, some LEDs now come with diffusers, which can help this issue. 

Fluorescent tubes have been around what seem like “forever” – they provide affordable lighting for majority of commercial areas: hallways, offices, warehouses, etc. However, just because something has been around “forever”, does that make it the best solution?

We explore the difference in our LED flood lights vs. Fluorescent tubes match-up, a first of many comparison posts to come – weighing the commonly often used lighting products to their LED alternatives. There are three main areas worth comparing:

1. Energy Consumption

As the deciding factor for many property managers and companies, energy consumption or electricity use can be the difference maker for not only lighting but many other operational technologies associated with a building. While many facilities managers look to install energy efficient HVAC systems, not many are familiar with the potential savings with LED tubes compared to their current fluorescent lamps.

This is especially true for property areas with 24/7 lighting (meaning the light is on all day and night) such as parking garages, hallways, lobbies, amenity rooms and many other locations.

So how much difference does an LED tube make compared to a fluorescent? Below is a simple comparison chart between the two:

TechnologyBallast FactorOperational WattageAnnual Consumption (24/7 operation – 1 bulb)
34 Watt T12 Fluorescent Tubes0.8843 Watts376.68 kWh
16 Watt T8 Equivalent LED Tube116 Watts140.16 kWh

While the difference is only 236.52 kWh, keep in mind that this is for one bulb only! If the cost of energy is $0.11 per 1 kWh…with just one bulb the building would save approximately $26.00.

Now many of us know we do not have a single fluorescent bulb around, usually a building is setup with fixtures that have two bulbs. Lets assume a 100 (low estimate for larger commercial properties) fixtures with 2 tubes per fixture:

Fluorescent Operation

Annual Energy Consumption: 75,336 kWh

Annual Operating Costs: $8,286.96

LED Operation

Annual Energy Consumption: 28, 032 kWh

Annual Operating Costs: 3,083.52

Savings

Annual Energy Savings: 47, 304 kWh

Annual Operating Savings: $5,203.44

That is a big number to reduce off of energy bills, and improve the efficiency of a property. Simply by replacing the type tube in the fixture. Keep in mind that the higher number of tubes being replaced in the property, the higher the annual savings. Depending on the type of existing fluorescent tubes (T4, T8, T12), there is a potential for both ENERGY and OPERATING COST savings with LED tubes.

Yes, we know the next question coming up: but if 16 Watt LED T8 tubes replace 34 Watt T12 fluorescents, will that not decrease the lighting levels of the area?

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