Energy Efficient Lighting

Energy Efficient Lighting

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Timothy

How soon do LED Replacement tubes produce an ROI?

Contractor Sales at Malcar NW

Compared to traditional indoor, general lighting sources, how quick does an LED replacement tube produce an ROI? I say "never, ever, period." Most of these tubes are $50+. Compared to a well designed T8 system, LED tubes just don't deliver any financial advantage. Even if I use .15 cents per KWH and 12 hour days, I just can't make the math work. Here's my math, my notation is bad in some places since I've used this form for other projects: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B7ICePOWxbT6R0wyREtURVpJdkk/edit

I get a lot of customers asking about this product and even more vendors trying to sell it to me. If I'm off somewhere with this math, let me know.

  • Comment (134)
  • April 28, 2012
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  • Jerry

    Jerry B.

    Entrepreneur

    I left out key info. Our tube lights last 80k hours. The removable power supply doesnt though. We provide replacement. they tend to die at around 7-10 years.

  • Jerry

    Jerry B.

    Entrepreneur

    Our lights have american made cree LED in them. They produce 1800 lumens at 15 watts and they are now certified for rebates. In Baltimore Maryland that means the client receives $60 per bulb replaced! The ROI is awesome with that kind of payback. The old light used 4 36watt fluorescent bulbs. We only need 3 15 watt led and they recieve a minimum of 20% more light than they had. The rebates are key. But also the cost of electricity. I am in Virginia and KWh is 0.12 with taxes. The city did their own ROI. here are the numbers....Currently they pay $176.00 per year per light. With mine they pay $72
    I dont know the equation they used but thats pretty good to me.

  • Mike M.

    Mike

    Mike M.

    Business Development at XtraLight Companies

    Tim, you can make a financial ROI for anything, but you're absolutely right when it comes to providing an ROI for the LED tubes on the market. Not because of a lack of efficiency compared to T8 as the ROI is derived from a reduction in input wattage if you were to take two LED lamps with an input wattage around 13 watts each, that would eventually get you a payback over two T8 lamps running on 48 watts. The problem is that the light output isn't there. Take a look at the US DOE website, great info backing this up from a performance perspective.

  • Jerry

    Jerry B.

    Entrepreneur

    Just asking politely asking

  • Jerry

    Jerry B.

    Entrepreneur

    Mike, at 120 lumens per watt, how is the light output not there? In every instance we measure the light output and blow away any competitor.

  • Tom R. S.

    Tom R.

    Tom R. S.

    Director at Smart Start Lighting

    Jerry, I do not think that being jealous would help instead I congratulate you and your company, it raises the bar for everyone both on the regulatory side as sell as the performance aspect to the customer.
    I am a bit confused however, I am under the impression and it is still on the DLC website that the minimum lumens output for a single tube is 2200 lumens and 3750 for 2 lamps in a fixture. If at 1800 lumens per tube you are still quite short relative to this requirement, is this the rebate agency that you are talking about?
    My thank and congratulations.

  • Craig K.

    Craig

    Craig K.

    Owner, Dauer Manufacturing

    I agree Mike. We retrofit all of our clients with 4-light systems to a 2-light T8 system with a highly polished reflector. The paybacks are usually under two years, and the light output is the same. We have also replaced tons of 2-light Vapor Tights with our 1-light T8 design, and again the light output is the same using a high ballast factor, and those paybacks are just over a year because most of those are 24/7.

    As Jerry said, he is getting 1800-Lumens, which I think is a bit aggressive (120 lum/watt). But even if you have that, a standard 32W T8 emits 2800-Lumens, so I don't see how you can reduce lamps and get more light?

    I'm in South Florida and our power company does not have any rebates right now, but I can see how you could pitch the LED if you were getting $60 a tube, then the retrofit is pretty much completely subsidized.

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