Those who manage lighting for small entertainment venues such as churches, restaurants, and small theatres know the transition from tungsten to LED fixtures is not an easy move to make. It’s no secret that LED fixtures cost more than tungsten, or that LED fixtures are more energy efficient. Unfortunately, data specific to entertainment lighting illustrating how much more expensive and how much more energy efficient is limited and often irrelevant.
While cost and environmental impacts are important, there are other questions to be asked when considering a change to your fixture inventory.
- How long will it take before I see a return on investment (ROI) from my LED fixtures?
- How will my designers be impacted by my LED vs. tungsten fixture choice?
- What maintenance and operation benefits exist with LED fixtures?
Technology is changing so quickly that the most important questions to ask may be: What cutting-edge products will impact me in the future and what are industry leaders focusing on?
Is the data relevant?
The moment the federal government began discussing the ban of incandescent light bulbs, the entertainment industry was bombarded with LED fixture options, each better, flashier, and shinier than the last. The problem was there was no measured data on why one was better than another. The technology was too new.
In the beginning energy savings was the biggest claim, but as the industry started asking the right questions, it became clear that a fixture that’s only on for a few hours a week – as they are during theatrical shows, special events, religious services, and restaurant hours – cannot be compared to a fixture in a residential or commercial application that is on for 12+ hours a day. When we figure all of the up-front costs, we’re suddenly looking at decades instead of single years before we see a return on the initial investment.