Bright future for cost savings with green purchasing

With the costs of energy rising, along with the introduction of the price of carbon, all organisations should be looking for ways to improve their energy efficiency.

LEDs or light emitting diodes are the ‘new kid on the block’ in terms of lighting, advancing both in technological development and market acceptance.  For some applications they are fairly common place (such as torches) but in other areas (household lighting) they are only just starting to penetrate the market.  According to Lance Turner writing for the Alternative Technology Association in ReNew Magazine, over the next 10 to 20 years most lighting is likely to switch to LED.

LEDs have number of benefits over existing incandescent and fluorescent alternatives. Whereas incandescent bulbs have a life span around 1200 hours and compact fluorescents around 8,000 hours, LEDs have a life expectancy of a staggering 50,000 hours! 

Also, LEDs have the advantage of not containing mercury, an issue that has put some people off fluorescents.  LEDs turn on instantly (they don’t need time to warm up) and emit very little heat into the room.

But the big benefit of LEDs is their energy saving.  An incandescent light bulb of 60 watts produces about 800 lumens.  This is about the same as a 13-15 watt compact fluorescent or a LED of only 6-8 watts.

Despite being more expensive to purchase than many existing types of lighting, the argument for switching to LEDs is compelling. According to the Australian National Audit Office, installing LED lighting to replace existing halogen lighting is one of the most simple and cost effective energy saving measures with the highest investment payback available.

If you were a business with 50 halogen downlights (each rated 50 watts each) in your office, shop or showroom, they could be replaced by LEDs rated only 10 watts each - a reduction of 2,000 watts.  In 12 months this would save 5,200 kWh and 4.0 tonnes of CO2 emissions *Based on running the lights 50 hrs per week).  Annual savings in electricity costs would be $1,040 at typical 20 cents per kWh. 

Over the lifetime of the LEDs this would save $20,000 and around 80 tonnes of CO2 (note that the 50,000 hours lifetime could be 20 years).

Despite LED downlights costing around $60 each, the payback is a respectable 2.88 years and the cost of LED lighting is falling all the time. This time can be reduced ever further by careful consideration of lighting needs at the time, including consideration of de-lamping strategies and demand management technologies. The labour costs of installation are likely to be balanced by longer life expectancy of the lights.

The benefits are increasing as energy prices go up, and the price of LEDs goes down with greater production and general competition.  The payback might not suit every businesses cash flow position at the moment but this is definitely going to improve over time.

To ensure buyers get the best possible life time out of their LED lighting, and therefore the biggest financial benefit from energy savings, ECO-Buy recommends sourcing from a supplier that is a member of the SSL Quality Scheme.

To find suppliers of energy efficient lighting on ECO-Find use the following link: ECO-Find lighting