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Why Hotels are Switching (or Should Be) to LED Lighting

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Marcel Fairbairn

More than any other large properties, hotels and resorts can take advantage of the great benefits offered by LED lighting because these facilities have a fixed operating cost for heating/cooling and lighting in all their common areas. While the facility may not always be operating at full occupancy, all the lighting in their lobbies, hallways and other common areas are operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This makes these areas the best place to start either a retrofit or new installation project, as the Return on Investment (ROI) offers the quickest payback.

An LED lamp or fixture will last 50,000 hours—that’s more than five years operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week before it requires changing. On the other hand, an incandescent lamp may only run 2,000 hours, which is less than two  months operating 24/7. This means the incandescent lamps would need to be changed at least 24 times in the same five years as the LEDs. It’s not difficult to see why the LED alternatives offer a very good ROI.

In 2014 our company performed a retrofit of the Chatwal Hotel in New York City reducing lighting energy use by 90 percent. The LED lighting retrofit project involved replacing approximately 1,300 lamps in 80 rooms of the hotel as well as the hallways and common areas, and will result in the reduction of more than 410,000 annual kilowatt-hours, equating to a 90 percent reduction in lighting energy savings. The Chatwal Hotel saved around $124,255 in the first year alone.

Area of Opportunity for Savings

As nearly all hotels have felt the effects of past economic slowdowns, it’s become common practice for them to look into ways they can reduce their operating costs. By looking at these costs, it has been determined that to become more efficient with their use of power and lighting, retrofitting of LED lights is the answer. Not only is this the energy-efficient answer, but less maintenance is needed, changing bulbs etc.

As the areas we are looking normally have high ceilings and high customer traffic, it makes the task of bulb replacement difficult and inconvenient. The task also requires special lifts or towers, or may not be achievable until early morning hours when traffic is at a minimum.

What about fluorescent? Although they are more efficient than incandescent, they still are 50 percent less efficient than LED and the lamp life is five times less than LED. The other negative is that they contain harmful mercury so must be disposed of properly and collected by a licensed company that—you guessed it—charges for their service. Though fluorescent lamps are more affordable and do last a decent amount of time, they have high color temperature, low Color Rendering Index (CRI), are only dimmable with expensive dimming ballasts, have limited lamp types and no spot light or MR16s—which are widely used and have LED alternates.

LED lighting is now a very attractive solution: Most products are dimmable using the systems already in place. They have a good range of color temperatures and high CRIs—which relates to how well colors are seen under the light used. To be able to see the real colors in fabrics and floor coverings, not to mention food and skin tones, a higher CRI is more desirable.

Lastly, with many government incentives available, now is the best time for hotels to look at changing their lighting to a better quality, longer lasting and more energy-efficient system. They may even qualify for a rebate, which makes the ROI all the better.

Marcel Fairbairn is the President and Partner at LED Source. Founded in 2005, LED Source supplies high quality LED lighting products to a variety of spaces, and specializes in design, support, development, project management and financing through its Retrofit, Architectural, Entertainment and National Accounts divisions. In 2012, LED Source launched LouMan Money, a private-labeled finance program that affords companies an LED lighting upgrade without tying up capital or using existing lines of credit. For more information and/or about franchising opportunities, visit www.LEDsource.com/franchising.

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