Halogen versus LED (Part 6: Analysis)

Good business decisions require a solid foundation of research, and the effective evaluation of the factors involved. The effect that decision has on the stakeholders, and the economic impact it will have, also needs evaluation. There are several metrics that should be evaluated in determining how feasible it is to convert a halogen system to a LED system. Evaluating the current situation puts us at the crossroads of choosing a path that will be evaluated, in the future, as a good choice, or one that could have been better. In this particular case, the facts can be easily evaluated and understood. Which system performs the best? Which system is the safest? Which system costs the most? And which system offers the greatest benefits? Let’s take a look at each one of those questions to see if there is an obvious choice. 

Performance

Sometimes being an innovator is not the best way to approach business. It provides a competitive edge over your competition, and additionally, provides an opportunity for you to be perceived as a genius, or reckless. There’s no sense in taking unnecessary risks, but there’s no sense in not taking advantage of an opportunity that makes you look very smart, if the risks are small.

LEDs have come a long way since the blue toned, dim LEDs of the past. Today LEDs are providing reliable service in many public roles. LEDs are used in signage, along the highways, to effectively display advertisements that are eye-catching and stand out, even in the brightest part of the day. A large number of municipalities only use LED elements for traffic lights, and most commercial vehicles use LEDs for marker lights and headlights. 

LEDs deliver more lumens per watt than any other lighting technology. LED’s extended life cycle of 40,000 to 50,000 hours, and low power consumption, make them more efficient than halogen or compact fluorescent technology.

Safety

Unlike the mercury, found in compact fluorescent lamps, which must be disposed of using special handling techniques, LEDs are self-contained, with no toxic materials that can escape to atmosphere. Additionally, there is no removable glass lamp that can break and be spread in pedestrian areas, presenting a hazard to residents or visitors. LEDs are also less accessible to vandalism since they are so tightly constructed, with no way to take them apart and damage them. Since halogen lamps require such high temperatures to maintain the tungsten halogen process, fire hazards are common from mulch coming into contact with the hot lens. Fire hazard is also prevalent from wires being shorted during landscape maintenance procedures. A shovel can almost cut a wire in two, but leaving it in tack, may cause arcing and heat buildup to the point the surrounding mulch and plant material burst into flames. Although this is still a possibility with LED infrastructure, it is less likely since LED systems require less power, and transformers are generally not as powerful.

Costs

Referring to Figure 9, all the options converting the current halogen system to LED saves Westview Manors significant expenditures over the life of the lighting system. Taking a closer look at the data in Figure 9, it’s obvious that converting the current halogen system to LED technology, with any option, will save Westview Manors money. With the 15 year option, Westview Manors will save $21,502.99; the 10 year option saves $34,197.09; the 5 year option saves $48,890.74; and the 1 year conversion plan saves $59,165.79. In other words, the 1 and 5 year plan will save the company as much as they spend on the conversion.

Another factor to consider is the cost of waiting. Most manufacturers of lighting equipment will have a price increase every year of 2 to 5 percent, and labor cost will also, most likely, move up, as well as, the cost of power. By fixing your costs with the 1 year plan, savings will be even more significant. 

The figures to the right show the 3 major cost factors for the conversion in relationship to the overall cost of each plan. The pie charts in Figure 10 show the No Conversion Plan is the most expensive, even though there are no equipment expenditures. Power and maintenance costs are a great deal higher than any other plan. The major expense required for the one-time conversion (1 year plan) shows that over the life of the system, both power and maintenance costs are negligible, as both are small portions of the overall cost. It is also worth noting that this plan is the most economical of all the cited plans.

The 5, 10 and 15 year plan pie charts show that the longer the conversion takes to implement, the higher the percentage of costs associated with power and maintenance become. The key fact to remember in evaluating these pie charts is that the cost for the LED equipment is the same for all the conversion plans. Appendix A, B and C show the data used to make the calculations in this section for more detailed information.

Benefits

LEDs offer many great advantages and benefits. The technology associated with LEDs offer unrivaled efficiency, using 80 percent less energy than traditional lighting technologies. Unlike CFL lamps that cannot be disposed of with normal methods if broken, LEDs have no replaceable parts. Both factors fit well with the current trend of being more environmentally considerate. Less power consumption reduces the carbon emissions of generating plants, and there is no reason to contaminate landfills with toxic materials.

If these reasons were not enough, the LED’s longevity in service makes it the most economical of all lighting with the lowest cost per lumen. Even with the higher cost of the fixture itself, being able to rely on the lamp for 20 years, without replacing it, offers a peace of mind that cannot be attained with any other lighting.

The quality of the light generated by LED technology offers good color rendition, as well as flexibility in the choice of color temperature. In other words, for those who prefer the warmer yellowish orange of a 60 watt incandescent lamp can utilize the warmer tones, while those who like the brighter daylight look, will use the cooler temperature spectrum LEDs.