A while back I posted about the various types of lights we were considering putting into our shop to replace the old T-12's tube lightingc and halogen high bays which were obsolete and failing badly. We had put it off as long as we could. The choices were many. We could upgrade to newer style flourescents. T-8's were inexpensive but not as efficient as T-5's. LED tubes were better than the T-5's and contained no mercury. The old sodium highbays also needed replacing with many choices there as well including LED's which were only marginally more expensive if we included the installation costs. We decided to do some tests. We brought in some sample lights and then did the comparisons with the lights in place.
The most expensive option in the short term were LED tubes in place of the old flourescents. But we did some long term math and factored in the cost of purchasing, installing, powering, and maintaining them over their lifetime. We compared those costs with the other style lamps. After weighing all the choices we decided to go with the LED's.
The lighting conversion is now complete and the LED tubes and new fixtures proved to be less than I had budgeted for which was a nice surprise! The workspace is brighter than ever. It is great light to do our painting in as we selected the right temperature for that task. We are confident the electric bill will be less than before and that the lights will brighten the shop for a long, long time with little maintenance.
There were also some surprise benefits too. One was that the LED lights emit no UV and so do not trigger the self-darkening welding helmets we use. When we are welding high structures we aren't frustrated by the helmets continually darkening every time we look upwards, before we strike our arcs. There is no buzzing or flickering which makes the shop a lot quieter and the lights much less annoying. The work studio feels more inviting and brighter.
Like anything on the leading edge of technology the target is moving quickly. There will undoubtably be newer and better models just around the corner. Costs will quickly come down on future products as well as they become more popular but we needed to install new lights now and could wait no longer. After making the jump to light speed we are delighted.
We feel that LED lighting has finally come of age.