With the rapid advancement of LED lighting technology, it is now to the point that every commercial facility will upgrade to LED lighting at some point in the future. Because of this many people are doing what they can to take advantage of the opportunity. The key for anyone in the position to make a decision that impacts a business is to make the right choice. When it comes to a lighting investment these are the 5 items to consider:
1. Will the company you partner with be around to service the warranty and any future lighting needs you have?
With LED lighting warranty claims are being thrown around with little regard to what they actually cover. The most common warranty term is 5 years with LED, but many companies are now offering 7 and 10 year warranties (most often limited). First of all make sure you have a full understanding of the warranty and then consider who is making that claim. Is it an online company offering the lowest price for a quick sale with no intention of providing future service, is it a person working out of their home who just got into the lighting business, or is it a company who has a strong history with the ability to service your area? A good rule of thumb is to only trust companies who have been in the lighting business for longer than their claimed warranty and have a workforce to back what they claim.
2. Is the company you partner with brand agnostic?
There are hundreds of thousands of lighting products in the market place to choose from. Because of that there are a lot of features and benefits to consider. Make sure your lighting partner sorts through those options and doesn’t just rely on the same manufacturer/brand that they always have.
3. Is the product provided by your lighting partner dependable?
With all of the options available in the market place comes varying product quality. It is no secret that a majority of LED lighting is manufactured overseas, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to go directly to the source. The best bet (for US customers) is to work with a lighting partner who is based in the US as there are too many unknowns when working directly with an overseas company. Saying that there are still a lot of people who go with low price imports and pay for it in the long run. Here’s one example of a gas station who was sold on converting their gas canopy to LED lighting by a brand new led lighting company:
This picture doesn’t do this project justice for how bad it is, but to give you an idea most gas station canopies with high quality LED lighting installed get between 50-100 footcandles. This one above has less than 10. In addition, half of the lights faded by over 50% or burnt out altogether within 1 year. The company selling the product claimed a 10 year warranty and when the customer requested service they stopped answering the calls and eventually went “out of business”. That company resurfacing a few months later with a new name indicating there was more than one swindled customer and most likely a lot more to come.
4. Are you comparing apples to apples?
As is common place with many investments, there is more than one proposal to consider. With multiple proposals (especially in lighting) comes confusion. Make sure what is being quoted in terms of counts, type of led and quality of product are comparable before making a final decision.
5. Will the proposed lighting investment provide the results you are counting on?
Most often LED lighting investments are done to save energy and last longer. What is often being missed and is the most crucial part is the amount of light. You can always reduce energy costs and often get longer lasting products, but you need to make sure that you are not sacrificing light output. The goal of artificial lighting is to provide the ability to see the task at hand. If your lighting system doesn’t provide that it doesn’t matter how much energy you save or how long they last.
As you can see within the 5 things to consider the term partner is used often. That is an important word to keep in mind as the goal of any investment is to work with someone who is going to partner with you, not just sell a product and move on. Unfortunately, that is too often the case in lighting especially now with the advancement of LED. To ensure that you make the correct choice for a lighting partner please take the time to carefully analyze these 5 items.