The User’s Guide to Choosing LED Lighting

In recent years, the lighting industry has gone through some very big changes. With revolutionary new moves towards embracing technologies that are brand new, there has been a total transformation in the way that lighting is used and chosen.

LED, or light-emitting diodes, is one of the most exciting technology shifts that we’ve seen lately. For the industry, it means an entire world of brand new options, with tailor-made customization choices – giving the user the most control over their lighting out of every type of lighting that exists. The applications for LEDs are so far and wide that it’s nearly impossible to name an area where they aren’t being used. LED lighting has become a go-to in the areas of residential lighting, commercial lighting, industrial lighting, traffic lighting, architectural lighting, and many more.

One very exciting thing that we’ve seen since the evolution of LED technology is the way that Australia has not only embraced this technology but has become one of the leading players in shifting to this from traditional lighting sources. Everywhere from the east to the west coast, people and businesses are taking advantage of the lower maintenance and reduced running costs of LED lighting in their homes, business offices, and other areas.

While the industry is charging ahead with LED lighting, embracing the advancements in as many areas as possible, consumers may still be unsure about choosing LED lighting over the familiar, traditional lighting sources. Current lighting sources that we’ve been using for years may be familiar, but they aren’t necessarily the best choices. There are a number of key benefits of quality LED lights and lamps that can help you make the decision to switch. Being informed is the best way to choose the right LED lighting, so this guide is designed to help you understand the key benefits of LED lighting:

Energy Efficiency

One of the key benefits of LED lighting is the fact that it is highly energy efficient. In fact, studies have shown that switching to LED fixtures can save more than $12,000 per year for businesses, and more than 80% of your average lighting energy costs in residential settings. The difference comes because of the necessary wattage to produce the same level of lighting. Traditional lighting needs to be around 440 watts to produce the same brightness as a 160-watt LED light.

Compared to traditional halogen downlights, LED light bulbs are far more efficient. LED lights that produce 40 lumens per watt can replace 50-watt bulbs without a noticeable difference in your lighting level at all, and that spells out more energy savings for you.

LED lighting has been criticized because it can be expensive to purchase initially. In fact, some companies offer payment plans for replacing an entire residence’s or business’s lighting with LED. However, the cost is quickly recouped in the extreme savings that are offered through the reduced energy bill, as well as in maintenance. Let’s take a look at the lifetime of LED lighting next.

Longer Lifetime

The next key benefit of LED lighting is how long each lamp lasts. LED lamps have a lifetime of more than 50,000 hours, and they have a solid reputation for being very reliable throughout that entire 50,000 hours. To understand just how revolutionary that lifetime is, consider that a standard incandescent light bulb will only last 1,500 hours before it needs to be replaced. That means that an LED light has over 33 times the lifetime of a traditional bulb.

LED bulbs also last about 10 times longer than fluorescent bulbs, which is great news for businesses that have bulbs in hard to reach locations. The ability to avoid lamp changes for years or even decades in the right setting makes LED bulbs more cost-efficient in many ways. You’ll spend less on replacement bulbs and less on maintenance labour; the significant decrease in costs makes the initial investment much smarter when you consider these facts.

Low Maintenance

Speaking of maintenance, LED lighting fixtures are also low maintenance in other ways, which is yet another key benefit of choosing this lighting source. LED lighting is a solid-state light, which means that the light is produced by solid-state electroluminescence. This is different from incandescent bulbs which use thermal radiation, for example. The difference between the two is how much heat is generated by the light production, and how much energy dissipates during the light production. Solid-state lighting sources don’t suffer from extreme temperature, vibration, or shocks. So not only do they use less energy, they are less susceptible to the unstable conditions that cause lamps to need to be replaced.

With the extended lamp life of an LED, they are becoming the go-to choice for hard-to-reach environments. Warehouses, where it can cost a lot in labour to have employees climb around changing light bulbs, can really benefit from changing to long-lasting LED lighting. Traffic lighting is another area where it can cost a lot to have lamps consistently being changed; by switching to LED lights, townships and cities can save on their department of transportation budgets.


LED lights run very cool, which makes them not only last longer but also makes them safer. This is another key benefit of choosing LED lamps, especially in areas where children may be close to lights such as in schools, nurseries, and residential homes. There’s another big benefit to LED lamps running cooler in the summer: it means you can lower the use of your air conditioner in many cases because your lighting isn’t creating ambient heat in the space. It costs far more to run the air conditioning at a higher level each year than to switch to low-heat LED lamps and save in multiple ways.

Traditional lamps are extremely inefficient in this regard. They only turn 20% of the energy they use into light, while the rest becomes heat and dissipates. LED lighting not only requires less energy, but it also turns 80% of the energy it uses into the light. Only 20% of the energy from an LED lamp becomes heat and dissipates, which is what makes them so efficient.

Instant Switching

One major benefit of LED lighting for businesses is the fact that LED lamps do not need to warm up to reach maximum light production. Many other lights can suffer from being over switched, meaning that over time, they will take longer and longer to reach maximum production. Halogen lights and fluorescent lights are particularly prone to this issue. Over time, switching these lights on and off can also reduce their life expectancy.

LED lamps on the other hand reach maximum production instantly, the moment they are switched on, and don’t experience any loss of longevity due to many years of switching on and off. The instant shine of full lighting is great for almost every environment. In your home, in a business, in a warehouse, and in many other settings, having plenty of lighting the moment you need it is important for safety and convenience.


One of the biggest benefits of switching to LED lighting is that these lights are healthier for the environment. LED lights are made from non-toxic materials: gallium arsenide, gallium phosphide, or gallium arsenide phosphide. These are the semiconductor materials that primarily create the light in an LED bulb. On the other hand, fluorescent bulbs are made with mercury, which is toxic and terrible for the environment when these bulbs go to a landfill or waste dumping location. In fact, in order to responsibly get rid of fluorescent bulbs, you must use a registered waste carrier who will dispose of the chemicals correctly. That is a bigger waste of your time and money, yet another reason to consider the switch to LEDs.

The casing of LED bulbs is 100% recyclable as well, which means that, in combination with the fact that you change the bulbs less often, you’ll reduce your carbon foot print heavily by switching.

Reducing the energy that is needed to produce the same amount of light is another way that LED bulbs are better for the environment. By using up less natural resources to give you the light you need, LED bulbs help preserve our resources and cut down on the need to create more energy.

Test Reports

Now that we’ve discussed some of the biggest benefits of moving to LED bulbs, let’s talk about one important way that you can educate yourself when it comes to doing so.

Because the technology is evolving so quickly, and with so many new companies entering the market, it’s important to carefully consider your LED bulb before jumping in. With the fast evolution of this product, not all bulbs will be of the same quality. This can be a big concern when you are considering the investment in switching to LED lighting.

Luckily, there are certain tests you can access that will help you make the best decision for buying LED products that are considered “fit for purpose”. Any reliable supplier of LED lighting fixtures should be willing to offer test reports for the following tests:

  • TM21
  • LM80
  • LDT/IES files

These will provide the information to back up and support the performance of the products you are considering buying. So let’s jump into each one of these tests so that you better understand what you are looking at when you see the reports.


The LM80 is a standard that was created by the IESNA, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. It measures the lamp as a whole, and it will provide information on:

  • The total luminous flux
  • The luminous intensity distribution
  • The characteristics of the electrical power
  • The luminous efficacy
  • The colour characteristics

To put it in layman’s terms, this test will determine the temperature of the LED, to ensure that it is performing at the energy-efficient temperature level that LEDs are required to in order to be considered fit. The five information points listed above are all used to determine if the luminaire within the bulb is performing at the correct temperature. This tells us how efficient the light will be – basically, what we learn from this test is how long the light will work before the output diminishes to 70%, and the heat output becomes greater than the standard 20%.

This test should always be performed by an EPA-recognized laboratory, and the vendor should provide you with the test results. The result that you want to see is that the LED light will maintain a standard of more than 70% light output for longer than 6,000 hours.


The TM-21 picks up where the LM80 test leaves off. This test establishes the way that we can take the data from the LM80 and translate it into lifetime projections. Basically, the LM80 tells us the temperature of the LED, and the TM-21 helps us translate that data into lifetime projections. That way, we can use the data to put a cap on guesstimates and truly tell you how long an LED will last. This helps you avoid wasting money and time by ensuring that you can choose a light that works for your needs.

Although these two tests can vastly improve our ability to understand the lifespan of an LED light, there are other factors that also have to be considered when the LED light is sold – for example, whether it is a package or just the module. The design of the light itself makes a huge difference, as well as how the fixture is being used. If a fixture is used in an environment that it was not designed for, it can drastically change the lifespan expectancy.


The data that is gathered from the tests described above come in specific file formats, called LDT/IES files. These are primarily used by lighting designers and engineers, but may be useful in certain industrial situations as well. Any vendor should be able to offer you these files upon request. Having these files can help you better understand how to design the lighting in a space so that it is the most efficient and so that it is saving you the most money.

Choosing LED Lighting Fixtures

Knowing how to choose the right fixtures is the key to benefiting from the many positive features of LED lighting fixtures, including:

  • Environmental friendliness
  • Instant switching capability
  • Heat reduction
  • Low maintenance requirements
  • Energy efficiency
  • Longer lifespan

Compared to traditional lighting methods, it’s very clear why LED lights are evolving to become the go-to lighting option in Australia and the world. Using the test results from quality manufacturers and vendors helps ensure that you choose the right LED bulb or fixture for your environment. In order to get the energy savings and longer lifespan, you need to be careful to choose the right type of LED fixture. Those include:

  • Miniatures, used for cellular phones, remote controls, and other small devices
  • High power, used for scientific or industrial purposes
  • Flash, used for things such as neon signs and vehicle lights
  • Bi-colour and tri-colour
  • RGB, used primarily for show lighting and accent lighting
  • Alphanumeric, used primarily for clock displays
  • Lighting LEDS, used for bulbs for residential settings

Using a bulb in place of a high-power LED lighting fixture, for example, could mean that you won’t get the best energy savings due to your increased lighting needs.

Making the Switch

There are many other reasons that LED lights are great options. For example, they are more flexible when it comes to directing light. Incandescent bulbs throw light in every direction, and must be directed with the use of shades or other tools. LED lighting has a directional focus, so you can better illuminate specific things or areas. LEDs are also frequently dimmable, and come in a variety of colour and temperature combinations.

These are just some of the reasons to make the switch to LED bulbs. Be sure to pay close attention to the test results of any LED fixtures so that you know you’re getting a quality product that will save you money, labour, and help meet your environmental protection goals. These lights can be used in nearly any setting, when you choose the right fixture. Making the switch can be an investment, but the savings in all other areas means that you’ll see a return on your investment in no time.

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