The actual cost of incandescent and halogen lighting
We have all been in some of those high-end stores and have been amazed by the perfect retail displays. Clean, crisp and neat; a minimalist's utopian dream. Or have you ever noticed how hotels have an Aura of opulence, even in the lobby?
Of course, lightning is an essential part of any business and can make or break a showroom. However, there are more factors at play than aesthetics, and if your company hasn't invested the time and money to look deeper into their lighting, then read on to see the actual costs.
Shedding light on your bottom line
We won't spend long on this topic, but if you weren't already aware, new generation LED technologies are insanely efficient compared to incandescent or halogen lighting. By how much? Well, we are glad you asked.
A halogen globe uses anywhere from around 35 to 80 watts of energy per hour for a standard office lighting environment. The even older generation incandescent bulbs use about 60 to 120 watts of energy per hour. Now compare this to modern LED globes, which consume anywhere from 7 to 20 watts of energy per hour, and you can already see there is a significant difference.
Unless you're tracking your costs, this might not mean much to you, and due to the current climate, energy pricing can vary wildly from state to state, but let us run this down for you.
In 2021, businesses' average cost per kilowatt-hour of energy consumed was $0.26c. So running down our list for an 8-hour work day, a single incandescent bulb would cost you around $1.30 a week, a halogen bulb would set you back $0.83c, and the new generation LED globe would cost you $0.20c.
These numbers might seem very small, but remember, we are talking about a single globe here. The average small office would have anywhere from 20-50 lights; a retail space can have upwards to a couple of a hundred, while workshops and warehouses can have exponentially more depending on their size. So you can see how a simple change from incandescent to LED can save you literally thousands of dollars over a year for your business.
The hidden waste of lighting
There is another factor to consider with your lighting when comparing LED technologies and older halogen and incandescent lights. The waste is astronomically higher. Apart from the 75% reduction in energy costs we just discussed above, LED Lights last 5 to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs.
This translates into more savings again when you consider that the costs of installing LED Lights have dramatically dropped over the last ten years. So not only will it save your company more money from the cost of replacement globes and, in some circumstances, the labour required to replace them, but it will also stop needless landfill waste.
In just one year, Australia sends almost 20 million tonnes of waste to landfills. We know Australia is a big country, but every company should be aware of their contribution to landfills. Installing LED Lighting for your commercial building will reduce your impact every year.
Is it getting hot in here?
There is another hidden cost to work environments that many business owners are unaware of, and if left unchecked, could cost them a lot more than just the electricity bill. We are all fairly used to the heat in Australia, especially on those pavement melting, seat belt branding days that really remind us that it's summertime. However, we have all experienced the lack of energy from being in this kind of heat can cause.
A study from the Scientific World Journal in 2018 has shown a direct correlation between heat exposure in the work environment and a lack of productivity and accuracy. "The results of this study indicated that, in job tasks that require cognitive functions like attention, vigilance, concentration, cautiousness, and reaction time, the work environment must be optimised in terms of heat and lighting level."
Both incandescent and halogen globes run much hotter than their LED counterparts, which can contribute to the overall ambient temperatures in an office building or workplace. Again to give you an idea, a standard halogen globe can reach temperatures above 70 degrees celsius, while LEDs sit at around 20 degrees celsius.
This excess heat can obviously be counterbalanced by cranking up the air conditioning to reduce the office temperatures, but isn't that just another cost, let alone another environmental impact? It is imperative to your business's productivity that LED lighting is introduced over outdated lighting technologies because I can't quantify what your productivity loss could be. $1000, $100,000, $1,000,000? However large that number is, you can remedy it and save hundreds on your cooling expense by installing energy saving LED Lighting.
Soon it could be law
As the world moves toward more greener solutions to produce energy like wind, solar and battery technologies, governments will also be focusing on helping businesses reduce their energy requirements. For example, the United States of America has just announced that it will mandate a new energy efficiency standard for lighting.
These new mandates will see older generation globes like incandescent and most halogen globes removed from the market and enshrine LED as the preferred standard. The American Council of Energy has found that the USA alone is spending around $300,000,000 more on lighting than necessary a month due to incandescent globes. Swapping them out for LED alternatives would stop over 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the life of the globes.
Laws like these have already been implemented in many European countries, and it is very likely that Australia will follow suit and phase out halogen and incandesce lighting. So getting in before any new laws are enforced will undoubtedly save you money too.
Poor lighting could cost you even more
By now, you should understand that installing energy efficient lighting systems in your workplace can save your business a lot of money (both upfront and via productivity) and even help fight climate change. Still, we need to discuss an even more insidious factor: your health.
According to a Harvard study, "an estimated 50% of all blindness can be avoided." Although poor lighting has never been proven to cause damage to your eye, it makes them work harder. This can lead to visual fatigue or discomfort that can affect productivity and lead to headaches. Australian standards dictate that office spaces should have a light LUX level of around 320-400 in order to be considered safe.
But this doesn't compare to the most dangerous part of poor lighting; Hazard spotting. Workplace injuries happen all across Australia every year, and poor lighting is recognised as one of the leading factors. For example, poor lighting can make it harder to read, see, avoid slip or trip hazards, or keep workers alert during the night shift.
The proper illumination will ensure total productivity for day and night shifts while providing energy efficiency, long life, and consistency that only new generation LED Lighting solutions can deliver. The long and the short of it is simple; if you are running a business in Australia or own a commercial property, you should consider upgrading your LED Lighting.
Not only will your company see more profits kept in-house, but you will help your employees, and more importantly, you will help contribute to a brighter future for generations to come.