1000 watt high intensity discharge systems (HID) are prevalent among all sorts of commercial and industrial lighting applications. These metal halide, high pressure sodium, and mercury vapor systems have been used for decades because they were the only available technologies that could emit enough light to cover large areas. Typically installed above 35 feet or so in the air, they are quite powerful and are used in all sorts of indoor and outdoor applications such as warehouses, parking lots, gyms and sports facilities, stadiums, street lighting, factories, retail, and more. While these systems are historically tried-and-true, they have some major drawbacks. LED is now quickly becoming the standard on the market and we’ll explore why you should be retrofitting these old systems to the 320 Watt LED Retrofit Kit.
1) Energy Savings
Combined with the ballast these 1000 watters actually use 1080-1100 watts combined! This adds another 8-10% onto the stated wattage use, which means your electric bill also goes up. For a quick example on the cost of these systems, assume that we have one fixture running for eight hours a day year round where electricity costs 14 cents/kWh. This means that per year every single fixture costs $441 to operate ($0.14/kWh x 8 hours x 365 days x 1.08kw of power used per hour). In higher priced markets like New York, California, or Hawaii this number can double or triple.
If we run those same calculations with our new retrofitted LED system, the cost per year decreases to $131 per year, a 70% / $310 savings per fixture on the electric bill. Since most buildings or outdoor applications have many fixtures, this adds up really quickly.
2) Light Degradation
These lamps emit a lot of light when they are first installed, but they quickly degrade in brightness until the lamp burns out in about 10-12,000 hours. The technical term for this is lumen depreciation. In reality, after six months of a new lamp burning, it’s only putting out about 60-70% of the initial light output, and continues to gradually decrease down to zero as the lamp burns out.
LED’s last 50,000+ hours and have a much smaller and gradual light depreciation over time, keeping your area lit brightness for years beyond what HID systems can do.
3) Lamp Life
These bulbs only last 10,000-12,000 hours due to the gases burning out inside the bulb over time. In reality this means you’re replacing lamps every 2-4 years at typical operating hours, which means renting lifts, hiring lighting maintenance companies, spending money on the bulbs themselves, or paying a lot in general labor costs.
LED systems are rated to last 50,000 hours or more, which realistically means 10-15 years of operating time before need for replacement.
4) Light Quality
CRI is a term in lighting that stands for Color Rendering Index, and basically is a measure of the quality of light of certain technologies is compared to natural sunlight (as the human eye sees things). It’s on a 0-100 scale and 100 means natural sunlight (highest quality). These old HID systems are anywhere in the 20’s up to the 60’s, which means colors are dull, things look yellow, or generally bland and dark as the human eye sees them.
LED itself is in the 80’s and 90’s now, which is quite a big boost in quality to make those colors pop and approaching very high quality daylight-like color rendering.
5) Little to No Maintenance
Since the HID lamps only last for 2-3 years, you’re replacing bulbs all the time if you want to keep the area bright.
LED’s kits are rated to last 50,000+ hours which realistically mean 10-12 years at 8-10 hours per day, so you’ll be able to forego buying multiple cycles of lamps for the fixtures.
6) Get Free Money With Rebates
To make the change from HID to LED even sweeter, let’s talk rebates. As the demand for energy rises, utility companies want to avoid the costly project of building new power plants or normalizing their power generation needs. When you install LED technology it saves them money and for years they have been passing some of the savings on to you.
Rebates can often pay from 25-50% or more of the product costs, here are some examples around the country:
- PG&E in California gives you $150-$170 per fixture for retrofitting the 1000W HID to the 320W LED Kit.
- Xcel Energy in Colorado gives you $200-250 per fixture.
- conEdison in New York gives $60 per fixture on a 1000W retrofit. *This incentive is lower because electricity rates are so high to start with, that you don’t need a big rebate to get within a 1-2 year payback on your money.
You can search DSIRE USA for the rebates and incentives in your particular area for lighting and other energy efficiency measures as well.
A typical retrofit takes about 20-30 minutes and installation consists of removing the old HID lamp and ballast, and installing the new LED retrofit kit and LED driver in the same place, wired the same way. The kit includes a mounting arm with a mogul base socket adapter that will suspend the plate kit in the fixture. The mounting arm also allows you to swivel/angel the plate in any direction you like as well. You’ll be eliminating the old reflector inside the fixture since LED light shoots directly out of the fixture now, making it very bright and aimed exactly where you want.