How Many LED Watts Do I Need to Replace my Existing Lighting?

We hear this question all the time. The unfortunate reality is “watts” is the wrong way to shop when you are replacing your existing lighting. You need to be focusing on “lumens”. In the world of Industrial LED Lighting , a watt is consumed by the LED product and light is produced, that light is called lumens. Some LEDs products are better at doing that than other products. So it is important to understand that not all LED products are equal in terms of how efficient they are at converting watts to lumens. In technical terms, we call this lumens/watt.

Here is a practical example. Our Commercial LED Lighting Retrofits are built to run between 130 and 150 lumens per watt. This means that for every watt consumed, they will produce 130 to 150 lumens. So our 105W retrofit kit at 138 lumens per watt produces 14,528 lumens. In contrast, a competitive retrofit product that uses older LED Chips is designed to run at 97 lumens per watt. This competitive retrofit kit produces slightly over 13,000 lumens but needs 135W to do produce that amount of light. So clearly watts is a poor gauge to determine what you would use to replace an existing light source. If a customer called both companies and asked the “watts” question, we would say 105W, they would say 135W. How is that customer supposed to make a decision? But even then, my 105W produces more lumens than their 135W product.

So when customers ask us how many ‘Watts” do I need to replace an existing light source, we always convert them to lumens.

However, there is one large elephant still left here that we need to talk about. And that is the discussion of efficiency. In the above example, our retrofits produce more light while consuming 30 less watts per unit. This is important, because this is 30 less watts that you are consuming and paying for on your electricity bill. So efficiency does matter, because it means your electricity bill will be significantly less using the 105W retrofit kit than our competitors 135W retrofit kit. So as with the discussion above, there is a vast difference between LED products being offered on the market today. Read the specs, and educate yourself on lumens. The less watts you consume saves you money, the more efficient the light is means it will produce more light using less energy than less efficient models.
Should I Buy New fixtures or retrofit my existing Industrial Lighting Fixtures?
This is another interesting question. And over the years, we have seen some pretty interesting answers coming from some of our competitors. Those that sell new fixtures claim new fixtures are the way to go. Those that sell only retrofit kits claim that retrofitting is the only way to go. Who is the LED Consumer going to believe?
Fortunately, MyLEDLightingGuide sells both new Commercial LED Lighting fixtures and metal halide replacement kits and so we are not biased in helping our customer make this decision. Keep in mind one point as you make your decision. Retro Kits are less expensive than a brand new fixture because you are not paying for the cost of the fixture. You are also not paying for the disposal of the existing fixture. We have heard the stories about how LEDs perform better in a new fixture than they do if you retrofit an existing fixture. That’s an interesting argument. Fortunately, we have had cases where we have sent both new fixtures and retrofits to customers to “test” the different options. Based on our experience, we have not seen evidence where the new fixture “always” performs better or is preferred over the retrofit solution. In more cases than not, the LED solution wins because they do a great job and the cost is better.
Also, some “new fixture” vendors would like for you to believe that retrofits do not last long or as long as their new fixtures. Some vendors like to claim that all product coming from overseas are cheap and made poorly. Here is what we believe to be true. Our kits are currently in their 4th generation of production. They come with a 10 year warranty. They are built with brand name LED Chips and Drivers.
Here are some points of discussion you should consider if you are debating whether you should retrofit or replace your existing fixtures.

If your fixtures are in relatively good shape, retrofitting is typically lower cost, all things considered. New fixtures are not cheap, and using your existing fixture will save you money, plus a retrofit kit is less expensive to ship than a new fixture.

•  If you have a large investment in your Industrial LED Lighting fixtures, then retrofitting allows you to keep your fixtures but move over to the new technology. A good example of this is area lighting at car dealerships where the pole and light head are an architecturally matching pair. Replacing the head with a non-match led head does not make sense.

•  If your fixtures are old and deteriorating, then you should replace your fixtures. Our LED Retrofits are not water proof, and you could damage them if they get wet. The LED Drivers are typically waterproof (look for the IP rating on the label, it needs to say IP65, IP66 or IP67).

•  There are instances where we would always recommend new fixtures over retrofit. One instance would be for High Masts and most 1000W MH High Bay applications.

•  It takes slightly longer to retrofit a fixture than it does to replace it.

•  You have to account for the disposal of the bulb, ballast and fixture when you replace a fixture and account for the disposal of the bulb and ballast when you retrofit a fixture.

•  Retrofit solutions perform as well as new fixture solutions.

•  Retrofit solutions will last as long as new fixtures as long as the retrofit kit is installed properly.

•  Regardless of what solution you choose, you need to review the specifications of the LED components.

•  You should always determine how many lumens you need to replace your existing fixture, NEVER purchase based on watts. Not all LED solutions produce the same lumen per watt output.

•  Pay special attention to the lumens per watt of a fixture. IT DOES MATTER. A LED product at 135 lumens/watt will consume far less energy than a LED product producing 97 lumens/watt. Not all LED solutions are the same. (remember, always buy on the lumens you need, never on the watts you think you need.).

•  To calculate lumens per watt, take the total number of lumens a product produces and divide it by the watts it consumes.

For indoor fixtures, figure on:

250W HID 10,000 – 14,000 LED Lumens
400W HID 15,000 – 25,000 LED Lumens
1000W HID 38,000+ LED Lumens

 

For outdoor fixtures, figure on:

250W HID 7,000 to 10,000 LED Lumens
400W HID 12,000 to 16,000 LED Lumens
1000W HID 38,000+ LED Lumens

•  Our most powerful retrofit kit produces over 47,000 lumens, our most powerful new fixture produces over 103,000 lumens.

•  We have new Industrial LED Lighting fixtures that can replace from 100-1000W HID, we have LED retrofits that can replace from 100-1000W HID.

•  Pay special attention to the lumens per watt of the LED fixture or retrofit. IT DOES MATTER. A LED product at 150 lumens/watt will consume far less energy than a LED product producing 97 lumens/watt. Not all LEDs are the same. (remember, always buy on the lumens you need, never on the watts you think you need.)

•  To calculate lumens per watt, take the total number of lumens a product produces and divide it by the watts it consumes.

•  You can get rebates for both new fixtures and retro fit kits. Make sure they are DLC Qualified. That is the key to getting rebates with your utility company. You can check if a product is DLC Qualified on the DesignLights Consortium website. DLC has rebates for Commercial LED Lighting and Industrial LED Lighting

•  Rebates with DLC Premium should be higher than rebates with DLC Standard. Your utility company is typically who provides the rebates and sets the rebate amounts.  Check their website.

•  All DLC Products are warrantied for at least 5 years.

•  All our Commercial and Industrial LED Lighting are either UL Listed or ETL Listed.

•  Replacing the light parts of an existing fixture with the a Retrofit unit will not void the UL/ETL Listing of the fixture. However, the exception to this rule are explosion proof rated fixtures (ie. Class I Div 2). Never retrofit a certified explosion proof fixture. UL1598C does not cover these types of retrofits.

•  ETL Listing is the same as UL Listing. They perform the same test, and the certification is the same. The only difference is that the company who performs the test.

For the most part, you should consider using a retrofit kit if your existing fixtures are in good shape.
MyLEDLightingGuide has been in the business of educating and selling Commercial LED Lighting and Industrial LED Lighting since 2008. If you have any questions about our products or LED in general, feel free to contact us or call us at 1.888.423.3191


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