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How the L70 Rating Helps When Comparing the Lifespan of LED Lights

HOW TO COMPARE THE LIFESPAN OF LED LIGHTS

A major benefit of LED lighting, apart from the massive energy saving, is its long lifespan.

How long?

A high quality LED high bay, dimmable LED batten or floodlight has zero maintenance costs for the term of its working life, and this has major implications for maintenance planning in production facilities.

When you buy LED lighting you need to know how long it’s effective life is, and this is where the L70 standard comes in.

All aspects of a building must meet the standards set by authorities, and lighting is no exception.

If a workspace isn’t sufficiently lit, it could be hazardous to people. So the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) establishes standards to promote safety and quality in the lighting industry.

An LEDs’ efficiency can be measured by lumen maintenance and L70 is one of the standards set by the IES.

Here’s what the L70 rating means

Lumen maintenance measures the light produced by a light source when it’s brand new. The light source’s “brand new” light output is then compared with its future light output. So a light source which emits 1,000 lumens when new and 700 lumens after 50,000 hours of use at an average ambient temperature, has a lumen maintenance of 70% at 50,000 hours.

In other words, it has an L70 of 50,000 hours. While other lumen maintenance ratings exist, L70 is now the most widely used.

Why? Because the human eye generally can’t detect the difference in a light’s output until it’s down to around 70% of the original brightness.

So how many years will they last in the average warehouse or production facility?

To put it in perspective, if your L70-rated warehouse lighting is used for: 10 hours a day, for 5 days a week, for 50 weeks in a year, it will last 20 years; that’s 50,000 hours to decay to 70% of its brand new

At that point the lights may still be working, but their output is only 70% of the light they emitted when new! That’s what an L70 rating tells you.

What are the factors that can affect the lifespan of LED lights?

You might have already invested in a specialty high bay light or dimmable LED batten. That’s a wise decision on your part. But the lifespan of LED lights may be cut short if you don’t anticipate for the following factors:

Environment and Heat Management

LEDs might overheat if the ambient temperature is unusually high or there is little airflow around the metal heat sink.

Heat will also become a problem if heat sinks do not have the appropriate design (e.g. the heat sink may not have the right amount of surface area or the gaps between its fins can’t facilitate enough airflow). The LED chip might overheat in such a scenario.

Ensure optimal airflow and manage the heat around the LED.

Electronics

Due to the more complex design of LEDs, different electronic components like electrolytic capacitors need to be of reliable quality. While the overall LED system may prove to be robust, its individual parts such as the capacitors might not be able to handle high temperatures as a result of poor quality materials.

Consider getting LEDs whose capacitors are made from ceramics. These can last you much longer than ones made from plastic.

LED Fitting

Edison or MR16 fittings, for instance, maintain a very compact design while housing several electronic components. LEDs are highly sensitive to heat and gathering all these components in a tightly packed space may give way to some thermal management problems later on.

So carefully consider fitting type when choosing LEDs. The ones that have external drivers are in a good position to better manage heat build-up.

Technological advancement – You might need to upgrade your LED lights to a more efficient lighting system. Just like how incandescent bulbs eventually replaced by LED lights, we could witness the emergence of a lighting system that is even more energy-efficient.

With the rapid pace of technology in an age where businesses are more conscious about reducing energy consumption, it’s not impossible. But until then, LED lights are the gold standard.

In Summary

The L70 rating system highlights just how energy-efficient LEDs are, and how this efficiency makes them last for a long time. Factors like heat, electronics composition, and fitting type can potentially affect LED lifespan in different ways.

So the next time you’re planning a lighting upgrade or facility extension, make sure you check the L70 ratings (and luminaire warranty), to maximise your building’s energy efficiency and minimise your maintenance workload!

It’s also important to find a lighting contractor that can provide you with lighting solutions that will last over 50,000 hours and help you achieve a strong positive return on investment.

Here at Leitech, that’s exactly what we do. Call us on +1300 466 088 or email us at sales@leitech.com.au to learn more about our different lighting solutions.

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