Taking away the hurdles to LED lighting adoption
13 June 2012
The long-term technical and commercial considerations are clear – replacing halogen downlighters with LED lamps makes good cost saving, product life and environmental sense.
That’s according to David Eeles of DALI Lighting, who also notes that widespread adoption has been slowed by a number of issues including the initial capital outlay required to replace halogen. This challenge is now being addressed through a scheme from DALI Lighting that lets users switch to LED without upfront capital outlay, by funding the cost of the LED replacements over a period of time using the significant amount of money saved on energy bills.
Energy costs continue to rise, and the need to reduce electricity consumption from an environmental standpoint is a message we all keep hearing. This has helped build the awareness of LED lighting as a sensible and viable alternative to established approaches to lighting in applications such as public buildings, hotels and retail outlets.
One of the targets stipulated in the European Commission’s 2008 package to address climate change was a 20% cut in energy usage by the year 2020. LED lighting offers a typical 80% reduction in power consumption versus widely used halogen lighting. This means that adopting LED technology can significantly assist in helping achieve objectives that aim to help avert the severe predicted effects of climate change that would occur if global warming of more than 2% above pre-industrial temperatures should occur.
With the stakes so high and an energy-saving alternative to halogen readily available, why has LED lamp adoption been slow? There are a number of reasons including the lack of availability of true like-for-like LED replacements from the point-of-view of directional and colour (warmth) light output. Although there are a number of relatively low cost, so-called direct halogen replacement LEDs on the market, they frequently fall short of matching halogen and represent a disappointing and unsatisfactory technical and commercial way to transition to LED lighting. However, the biggest block to widespread adoption in of LED lamps to replace halogen in commercial applications to date has been capital cost.
Though the technical reasons seem compelling, for end users of large numbers of lights, the unit cost difference between halogen and true like-for-like LED replacements can be prohibitive. A good return on investment is ultimately assured as over a period of time, 80% lower energy use means significantly smaller electricity bills. However, the significant capital outlay is still all upfront.
Recognising this block to the widespread adoption of LED lamps in commercial applications, DALI Lighting has launched a new scheme whereby customers can install LED lighting with no upfront cost and pay for the lamps on a monthly basis. This can effectively be done for free by utilising the money saved on energy bills on an ongoing basis. After a pre-determined period, payments cease and the customer owns the lamps outright, allowing them to continue to enjoy the full 80% reduction in their energy bills over the guaranteed minimum lamp life of seven years.
Whilst ceiling mounted halogen downlighters provide the biggest opportunity to save huge amounts of energy and reap the benefits of vastly improved lamp longevity and reliability, strip lights and candle lights for example, are also strong candidates for LED replacement.
The arguments for adopting LED lamps to replace halogen are overwhelming from global environmental and commercial business perspectives. Now, with the launch of schemes to negate the problem of initial capital outlay, the door is truly open for a range of businesses to start enjoying LED technology that will not only save them money, but also reduce their carbon footprint and support European objectives to increase efficiency and reduce global energy consumption.
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