LED Lighting - An Instant Commercial Overview

Commercial LED Lighting – Where Are We Commercially

The Instant Overview

As 2011 comes to an end, this is a great time to give an instant snapshot of where the LED lighting bandwagon is. Some serious money has been invested into the market Philips for example alone has pumped some 7.8 billion Euro.

Philips say “that a tipping point has been reached in the development of LED lighting that can now be used for general high-quality lighting in almost all applications. A switch to LED lighting will help combat climate change, save energy and improve people’s lives through increased well-being, safety and productivity where they live and work.”  (1)

We say that the benefits of LED are unquestionable but the good things are not universal yet. 

Small Importers

With the majority of LED being made in China there are innumerable small importers bringing in LED technology at a very keen price point. 

For these small companies colour rendition, which (loosely) is the ability of a lamp to produce a spectrum of colours which matches conventional light sources, continues to be a big issue. LED’s are most effective at producing light toward the blue end of the spectrum which means that higher efficiencies and lower costs are achieved with bluer sources -  but this is generally not aesthetically desirable. For example, hands that look green under a light source are not attractive (unless you are a Martian presumably).  Whilst light sources are generally consistent on installation replacements will not be. 

LED’s work most efficiently at low temperatures and heat build up can affect the life, output and efficiency of an LED. Small importers are making improbable and untestable claims about the lifetime of their light sources.

Major manufacturers are able to back up their claims with research, have overcome colour rendition problems and will be around to honour their guarantees should the worst happen.

Our view would be to forego the cost savings offered by these companies and fit LED’s from major manufacturers such as Dextra and Philips, where these are justified on cost payback terms, and to continue to use conventional light sources where they are not.

When and Where Does LED Make Sense?

So here is our view of where and when to adopt LED.

1) Tungsten Halogen v LED. 

  • Definately worth changing and good payback.  
  • Useage Spot lighting so big users hotels, domestic and some leisure.
  • Act Now
  • Beware – colour rendition – only use major manufacturer, such as Philips, light sources. 

2) CDMT v LED.

Don’t change at present LED unable to match CDMT output and colour rendering, no real cost advantage.

3 )Compact fluorescent v LED 

  • Use in new fitting situations
  • Can be worth retrofit where long life is important – especially where colour rendition is not an issue.
  • Where colour rendition is important choose LED’s only from major manufacturers – do not be tempted to save costs by specifying generic LED’s

4 )Fluorescent v LED

  • Fluorescent still wins hands down in general lighting situations.
  • Manufacturers continue to develop T5 with new eco versions of T5 from Philips (TL5 ECO) and GE (Watt Miser) giving an extra 8%-10% saving over standard T5
  • Beware retrofit solutions with LED tubes – colour rendition can be awful, the technologies are all proprietary with no ability to swap one manufacturers tube for another.


Things will only get better, cheaper and more efficient. We think you should proceed cautiously using only components from major companies .