As the age of energy independence kicks off, businesses all over the world are upgrading to advanced, energy-efficient LED lighting systems for their office buildings, warehouses, and manufacturing facilitates. Whether it is to take advantage of controllable, high-quality light, or to save a few bucks on the monthly energy bill, LED retrofit kits are a reliable way to bring a company into this bright new era.
And yet, older lighting systems remain … as of yet unphased by the arrival and proliferation of LED technology. Today, we’re taking a look at metal halide lights. Specifically, how they work, what they’re good for, and why some commercial entities are unlikely to let go anytime soon.
Why People Are Still Using Metal Halide Lighting
Metal halides are forms when compounds of halogen and metal are combined to create a type of ‘fuel’ for lamps. This can include sodium chloride or uranium hexafluoride or other compounds. With metal halide lights, the actual light is produced by passing electricity through a combination of the halide gas and a bit of mercury.
Metal halide lighting is significantly more efficient as more traditional incandescent bulbs and are known to create a much better quality of light. This has made them the common choice for both vehicle headlamps and illumination for most of the athletic fields in Bloomington.
The Difference Between Metal Halide & LED Lights
In terms of performance, the biggest drawback to metal halide lights is that they have the longest ‘warmup’ time of any other type of commercial lighting, sometimes taking a full 20 to 30 minutes to reach maximum brightness. This means that it is always necessary to anticipate when the lighting is going to be needed.
The other primary drawback to metal halide lights is that they produce their light in 360 degrees, forcing the fixtures to reflect nearly 50% of this light back in the desired direction. This leads to ‘spilled’ light and a fast drop in overall efficiency, especially when compared to LEDs.
The Biggest Upsides to Commercial LED Lighting
LED light bulbs, on the other hand, are capable of producing similarly high-quality light output without the extended warmup time. In addition, LED bulbs can last much, much longer than metal halides, sometimes up to 100,000 hours or more depending on the type of light.
In addition, LED lighting is more efficient with the way that it directs the light (180 degrees compared to 360 degrees with metal halides). This extra efficiency saves on more than just maintenance and labor, and often will lead to a significant cut in the energy bill.
Q: Is There a Downside to LED Lighting?
If there is one drawback to commercial LED lighting, it is the up-front cost. Especially in Bloomington, the perceived cost of a new commercial or industrial LED lighting setup might seem unfeasible to many businesses.
By taking a step back and examining a potential LED purchase as an investment, it is possible to see how a business can save many thousands of dollars over the course of only a few years, simply by installing a system that is designed to provide abundant, efficient, long-lasting, and affordable light for all types commercial spaces.