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LED Lighting: A Cost-Benefit Analysis

If you’re a business owner or homeowner considering an LED retrofit, you’re probably aware that new LED lights will eventually pay for themselves. But how long does it take, and what do the numbers look like? Starbeam Lighting Solutions, a St. Louis company providing exceptional lighting solutions for almost 50 years, has the answers.

“Old” Lighting

The term “old” lighting refers specifically to incandescent bulbs and their successor, halogen. Both of these bulb types are highly inefficient. For example, to produce 800 lumens of light, an incandescent bulb requires 60 watts of electricity. This is a huge output of heat/energy for a relatively average amount of light. Halogen bulbs are slightly more efficient, but not by much. Achieving 800 lumens of light with a halogen light bulb requires 50 watts of energy. Also, it’s important to remember that these bulbs generate high turnover and are prone to malfunctioning at much faster rate than contemporary solutions.

LED Lighting

Now let’s take a closer look at LED lighting, the kind provided by our lighting company serving southern and central Illinois. Whereas incandescent and halogen light bulbs output 800 lumens at 60 and 50 watts respectively, LED lights require only 8.5 watts to produce the same amount of light. This means that LED lighting is around 6x more efficient than halogen and about 7x more efficient than incandescent.

Just how efficient is LED lighting? The numbers are jaw-dropping. An average incandescent bulb last around 1,200 hours, while a decent halogen bulb will net you around 2,500 hours. Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, the “corkscrew bulbs” which have been en vogue for the last decade or so, top out at close to 10,000 hours. On the other side of the spectrum is LED lighting, which is commonly rated to last for more than 30,000 hours. That’s triple the longevity of CFL, which only appeared in the last decade and which itself is far more efficient than the two “primitive” lighting technologies discussed herein.

What Is LED Lighting’s Cost-Benefit?

Consider that the majority of homes and businesses have some lights that are seldom on for more than a couple minutes per day, and other lights that are on for hours at a time. The annual cost to power a 60-watt incandescent bulb for two minutes/day is approx. 15 cents/year, but this cost jets up to about $30 when the same bulb burns nine hours per day, 260 days a year. On the flipside, an 8.5-watt LED bulb burning at the same rate costs only $4.40/year.

The upfront cost for an incandescent bulb is around 94 cents. For an LED bulb, the upfront cost is around $4.99. For simplicity’s sake, let’s round up to $1 and $5, respectively. After factoring in the huge differences between the two in terms of longevity and efficiency, and after averaging out bulbs that are seldom used versus bulbs that are on for hours, we can say with confidence that over a 10-year period, the “real” cost of purchasing, using, and replacing an incandescent bulb is about $236. For an LED bulb, the “real” cost is slightly less than $31.43. That’s per bulb, and so LED’s cost-benefit increases exponentially as the amount of bulbs in the home or business increases.

Work with Starbeam Lighting

Our lighting company serving St. Louis is available for all of your lighting needs, whether you’re interested in an LED retrofit, new warehouse lighting, or a state-of-the-art control system for your commercial lighting. Contact us today for more detailed information and a quote.