There’s nothing like a top-to-bottom conversion to LED to bring that commercial energy bill down. But predicting how much money you can save with LED lights is about a lot more than just the retail price.
In order to better understand how LED systems are impacting energy forecasts, owners and operators need to know about the essential concept of L70. With this information, they will be able to make more accurate predictions about energy savings, cost recovery, and more.
What Does L70 Mean with LED Lights?
The term L70 is defined at the point at which an LED light bulb is producing only 70% of the amount of light that it was designed to produce. Because LED lights will slowly lose their lumens over time, a bulb that was manufactured for 10,000 lumens will one day only produce 7,000. This moment is the bulb’s L70.
LED is not the only lighting technology that fades over time. In fact, the concept of L70 came from mercury vapor lamps, which like LEDs were known for long life but very gradually became less bright.
As LED technology became more popular across the world, industry professionals wanted to provide guidance for when an LED bulb should be replaced. After a detailed study, it was determined that human eyes can only accurately perceive a drop in brightness when the total reduction equals 30%. For this reason, L70 was decided as the recommended replacement point for commercia LED lights.
Why do Some Commercial LED Lights Reach L70 Before Others?
Low quality components are the number one cause of premature lumen loss. Just like any other engineered product, the overall quality of materials makes a big difference in how well an LED light fixture will perform.
Scottsdale businesses owners might be tempted to save money on the initial investment by choosing low-quality LEDs. While these budget-level products might work well to begin with, they will depreciate faster and lead to more replacements over time. In essence, this is reducing the amount of money that the business owner is saving by converting to LED.
Ambient heat is another significant factor in LED energy depreciation. Most LED fixtures are tested at 77F, however, many commercial and industrial facilities run much warmer than this. Excess temperatures can cause lumen output to fluctuate, leading to early loss of brightness.
Is it Possible to Predict the L70 of a Commercial Lighting System?
Manufacturers use L70 to determine the recommended replacement schedule for individual fixtures, bulbs, and components. Building owners can use these recommendations to keep their system producing high quality light, without having to make any complicated predictions or calculations.
What is important to consider is that manufacturer warranties are based off of the bulbs that have gone out, not the total amount of light produced. This is important to consider when planning out your lighting systems replacement schedule.
What Happens to an LED Light When it Reaches L70?
Even with their long-lasting power and energy-saving qualities, all LED bulbs will one day have to be replaced. When that day comes, it is important to have a disposal plan in place. Budget-level LED lighting components have lower quality materials, and often don’t have the same recycle value as high-quality lighting.
To reduce both the initial and ongoing cost of a commercial LED system, owners and operators should choose only quality, vetted bulbs and fixtures that are designed to maintain lumen output.