Size does matter

Singapore, 6th September 2013

We are reaching a stage that it becomes harder and harder to actually specify a conventional lighting system, isn’t it? I had an interesting discussion with one of the suppliers today in regards to finding the right specifications for a retail store project we are working on. The client’s brief to us is to use a 100% LED approach; why, I am not so sure…because it is the “trend” or because she made a real case study out of it?…my gut feel it is just because it seems “trendy” to do so nowadays. Anyhow I am doing my due diligence regardless and not necessarily look at LED only and in doing so I came to some interesting discoveries!

As you would know in retail lighting we need to use some quite powerful accent lighting to make sure that the goods on sale or promotion are really jumping out by the pronounced way of lighting. In the past we would have specified metal halide (MH) systems with excellent colour and beam properties, now we look at LED equivalents. With the current lumen packages of LED’s we can easily achieve the lighting impact we are after in similar ways we used to do with MH. Similar lumen packages but surprisingly also near similar wattage packages! I saw LED “equivalents” from some brands that produce the same amount of lighting intensity but with only slightly lesser energy consumption, in this case 58W LED against a 70W MH. While there is still a energy saving too be achieved, the long promoted big savings do no longer seem to come from strongly reduced wattages, in fact on energy only the ROI story is becoming quite weak. Even lifetime (50,000 hours guaranteed by this supplier…but how do you monitor that?) versus 10-15,000 hours for MH is also no long a huge story!

Then the size…! Honestly the size of the fixture with the cooling and electronic driver included is become similar if not bigger than the familiar MH type of fixtures…really? Where is this whole notion of LED’’s being compact using near zero energy with a near forever lifespan? The irony is that soon there may well not be any MH available on the market and we are left with LED systems which now cost 3 times more then the equivalent conventional system, for no longer very apparent savings, let alone compact appearance…where is this going…?

Light Watch 4-150: If you look at the pictures below you can’t really tell the lighting systems are LED! Similar sizes and looks…now we are moving to similar energy and life spans…not really what the LED dream should be about…?

06. September 2013 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: light watch, lighting and sustainability, lighting and the economy, lighting applications, lighting of the future | Leave a comment

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