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Commercial Lighting 101: HID or LED?

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In an age of technological innovation, even light bulbs are being revamped and upgraded on a near-yearly basis. Knowing the science behind these bulbs can help you save money when it comes to lighting your business.

High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps use energy arcs between two electrodes to generate heat and light. While using energy arcs can effectively create bright light, it takes longer – about 10 minutes – for the arc to be established (or the light to turn on). Depending on the type, HID bulbs can last 2000-3000 hours, which is a major improvement from the 450-1000 hours of a halogen light. However, HID lamps have a few drawbacks.

Because HID lamps take longer to heat up, they are better suited for situations that require them to be on for several hours at a time. Frequently turning the light on and off within a short period of time can drastically decrease the life of the bulb. HID lamps are fragile, contain moving parts, and do not contain any advanced features, such as dimming.

Light-Emitting Diodes, more commonly known as LEDs, are rapidly replacing older forms of lighting, such as incandescent, fluorescent, and halogen lights. Unlike HID bulbs, LEDs are solid-state lighting (SSL), which means there is no risk of breaking a filament. Due to technological advancements, the lights are brighter and more affordable than in previous years. For example, a 10-Watt LED light bulb (approx. $30) gives off as much light as a 60-Watt incandescent bulb and can last 30,000 to 50,000 hours (up to 30 years).

A common misconception is that LEDs don’t give off any heat. In reality, they do. Larger, more intense LEDs are designed to absorb heat through an internal mechanism called a heatsink. The heatsink prevents the outer part of the bulb from experiencing heat, causing the structure to last decades. Rather than burning out, LEDs dim near the end of their lifespan.

Homes and businesses will always endure energy costs. Investing in LEDs can greatly reduce the cost of lighting your facility, with minimal investment. LEDs are long-lasting and easily available. The technology is continuously evolving and will be around for years. Brandon Industries can help you with your transition to LEDs and cutting your energy costs. Download our free catalog for more information.