Since its launch, LED lighting has been hailed as the future of retail lighting. These fixtures use a fraction of the energy of traditional light fixtures and also last much longer. However, the common mindset is that this is still a product for the future; not today, because LED light fixtures are still too expensive to be cost effective.
The Washington Post supported this argument with a recent article. They made LEDs seem unaffordable for any business on a budget. Everything looked pretty air tight except for one small miscalculation. Have you ever missed a decimal point on a math problem? It makes a big difference for the results. So does The Post’s miscalculation. When you look at the real math behind LED lighting, it seems a lot more competitive.
How The Post Measured the Cost of LED Lights for Retail Stores
The core of The Washington Post’s article was a comparison of the costs of LED light fixtures to a standard incandescent lamp. First, they compared the cost of each fixture. Since this type of LED fixture is expected to last 30 times as long as an incandescent lamp, they compared the cost of 30 incandescent lamps against one LED fixture. This LED fixture costs $50 per lamp with 30 incandescent lamps costing $30.
They then looked at the cost of energy. Using an energy cost of 1 cent/kWh, they found the incandescent lighting would cost $16.50 while the LED lighting would cost about $4.00. Altogether, the LED lighting cost $54.00 whereas incandescent lighting cost $46.50 for the same result. This made incandescent look much better especially when you consider that it takes years to collect the savings of LED fixtures.
Check the numbers here again. Can you see the glaring error?
The Real Cost of Energy Efficient Lighting
Have you checked your energy bill lately? No one buys electricity for 1 cent/kWh. The average cost of electricity in the United States is 12 cents/kWh, more than 10 times the cost used by The Post!
When you redo the calculation with the correct numbers, LED lighting suddenly looks much better. Under the same conditions, incandescent lighting would cost $228 in total whereas LED lighting would only cost $83, nearly one third the cost. Considering that energy prices are going up while the price of LED fixtures is going down, doesn’t it make financial sense to give energy efficient lighting a look?
A Financial Plan for Lighting for Retail Stores
The main problem with LED lighting is that the cost of the fixtures is so high. It’s probably too expensive for you to completely convert your entire store to this type of lighting. However, what if you upgraded 10% of your lights right now? If you replaced the light fixtures that you use the most often,you would see an immediate impact on your electricity bill.
Save up this extra money and soon you will have enough to replace a few more lamps. With a little planning, you can have your entire store on energy efficient lighting within a few short years.
By using the wrong information, The Washington Post unfortunately gave readers a completely wrong impression of LED lighting. Hopefully, the real numbers showed you that LED lighting is not only the lighting of the future, but also quickly becoming the lighting of today.
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