LEDs vs CFLs: Making the Right Lighting Decision for Your Business

As a commercial property owner, how often do you think about the lighting products you use? Probably not a lot. But the truth is that the type of lighting used throughout your property is more than just a novelty and it can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

In 2014, commercial properties in the United States used 19% of their total energy consumption on lighting alone, equaling roughly 26 billion dollars in electricity costs. With that much at stake it’s amazing more companies don’t take lighting more seriously, but a few are on the right track.

Innovative organizations around the world are finding real value in replacing outdated lighting products with newer, more energy efficient solutions. They are not only improving the light quality within their properties, but also cutting their lighting costs in half and saving millions of dollars in electricity costs every year.

Your company can do the same, and it all starts by knowing your options. Two movements have spawned out of the mass decline of incandescent bulbs: Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL) and Light Emitting Diodes (LED). Both provide significant savings over incandescent bulbs, but only one gives you the most bang for your buck: and that is LED.

Why CFLs Don’t Make the Cut

CFLs were the go-to commercial lighting option for many years. They were originally much cheaper than LEDs, and were 70% more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. However, that efficiency comes at a cost.

In order to operate effectively, CFLs require mercury, a hazardous heavy metal that can cause harm to both people and the environment. There are specific waste management protocols that have to be followed before the disposing of a CFL lamp. This adds additional cleanup costs for you when the lamp goes out, and can be a liability should they break in the workplace.

You might think that with the risks involved, CFLs would be made incredibly durable. But most CFL lamps have a very limited temperature range that they can operate within safely. Temperatures either too high or too low can make them fail, or even explode. Additionally, CFLs are not coated for use in food and technology applications. And they also produce heat when active, which can lead to fire hazards in confined spaces. CFLs might have been cheaper than LEDs a few years ago, but they have on average only one-fifth of the lifespan of most LED products. That means buying more product replacements and paying installation costs every time one goes out.

How LEDs are Rising Above

LED technology is improving at an incredible rate with new advances coming rapidly. These innovations have led to numerous benefits over CFLs including:

  • No mercury or heavy metal usage
  • Average of 200% increased energy efficiency
  • Up to 5 times longer lifespans
  • Adaptability with existing fixtures and applications
  • Improved durability and temperature resistance
  • No heat emission or fire risk in enclosed spaces

These benefits, and many more not included above, are the driving force behind the widespread adoption of LED lighting. And with the explosion of LED manufacturing, CFLs are no longer the only affordable option for efficient lighting. Many of the most common lamps and fixtures used by commercial properties can be found in LED format either at the same or better pricing compared to CFL equivalents.

Making the Switch

No matter how you look at it, LEDs are the right choice for your commercial lighting needs: their comparative price-point, immediate energy savings, long lifespans, and an ability to sense and adjust for daylight harvesting and dimming. LEDs operate at substantially more efficient rates and don’t produce the same heat output of incandescent and CFL lamps. These benefits alone allow your properties to save money overall by not utilizing the HVAC system—letting you knock lighting off your to-do list and save a substantial amount on electricity expenses year after year. So do yourself a favor and start thinking about making the switch today. It could end up saving your bottom line.