Friday, July 10, 2009

The Power of LED Lighting

by Faye Fentin ASID, CID
Eco Committee Member, ASID San Diego

Thinking about specifying LED lighting as an energy-saving alternative for your next project? Let me tell you about my experience.

The project required a creative, yet efficient, lighting layout for a kitchen/family room remodel. Before writing the specifications for the room, I spoke with a lighting specialist, attended the ASID chapter meeting on Title 24 lighting and researched LED lighting on the internet. I felt it was my responsibility to educate my client on the power of LED and do my share to help the environment.

The project required a reconfiguration of the recessed can lights in the room. I informed the client in advance that I wanted to share this new energy-saving solution with them. At the meeting with the client, contractor and electrician, I brought a working sample and listed the many benefits of the light. I noted at the time that incandescent lights were about $75.00 per can and the LED would be about $125.00 per can. The client was excited and ready to proceed with LED.

The electrician submitted his bid and the cost was $2,500 more than the original bid. I immediately inquired about the difference and was told that the original bid was for florescent lighting, not incandescent, and that was why there was such a large difference in price. After in-depth research and a detailed breakdown of each line item, the cost differential was low enough for my client to proceed. The room now has plenty of light and the client may never have to change a light bulb again.

When selling LED, I would talk with the electrician before you meet with the client so you can clearly discuss the cost differences and benefits of the product. It is important that the electrician has all the necessary specifications to install the lights, and you should be aware that he might add costs simply because it is a new and unfamiliar product.

Important note: LEDs cannot be retrofitted into an old fixture. Also, the can lights have a smaller light spread, so the project will require more fixtures.

Benefits of LED:
• Long life span – lasts 50,000 hours / 20 years, leading to less landfill waste
• Consumes 85% less energy than incandescent
• Consumes 50% less energy than fluorescent
• Softly washes walls – no hot spots or glare
• Cool or warm color options available
• No UV rays – protects art and fine fabrics
• Bulb emits no heat or mercury
• Extremely compact and dimmable
• Annual electrical costs for an average kitchen with 6 can lights:
LED -$13.50 – Incandescent- $68.00

Since the invention of the light bulb, access to light has never been so efficient and eco-friendly. Start specifying LED – it will change our world.