Shop lighting has a different purpose compared to domestic or industrial lighting. The purpose is not only to light up, but to make things look attractive and pleasant to the customer. However hard a shop owner may try, it is really hard to phase out the cheap and easy option of fluorescent shop lighting. For such lighting fixtures come for less than Rs. 100 and a bulb replacement may cost a mere Rs. 50. However, such fluorescent lighting albeit cheaper, comes with many drawbacks. For one, the running costs are high, the bulbs are fragile, and there is this difficulty of disposing them off properly.
So what about LED bulbs? Is it a viable option?
Internet will tell you that for each variant of fluorescent tubes, there is an LED alternative. LEDs have a few other advantages from the shop lighting perspective. They turn on instantly, work with a wide range of fluctuations, they are flicker-free and are buzz-free, not to mention that they save about 60% power compared to traditional fluorescent tubes. Moreover, they look better and come mostly in two row designs making them look like standard tubes.
LEDs as of today will burn a hole in pocket, but not as deep as they did 3 years ago. That’s the scarier part.
Today, you will spend about Rs. 50 for any of the standard 48″ fluorescent replacement tubes and you will be spending anything between Rs 400 and Rs 800 for the LEDs of the same rating. You could say that the existing fluorescent tubes are not such bad options considering the price and you will be right. For example, if I am going to replace the set of a dozen tubes in my store room which are eight years old and still going strong, I am going to shell out an extra Rs. 3600 (the difference in price for the 12 lights) which I have no use for currently. That would be a tough decision for me considering that my showroom uses over 300 fluorescent tube fixtures. A tough call and it doesn’t spell god for LEDs, if all shop owners thought like me. I am sure they would, after all it is about bottom-lines.
LED’s actually add more aesthetics and you can create a better ambiance in spaces that need lighting. They are absolutely wonderful for homes and even patios. Let me tell you a secret, my home is fully adorned with LED lights. And, my experience with them is that you install and forget about them. No maintenance, lower consumption, cooler lighting and they look good. Of course, the numbers are lesser, so the damage is lower, but talking about 300+ lights to be replaced can be a setback for me.
The flexibility that they add to the interior designer’s toolbox is just awesome. Owing to their size and shape they can create much better living spaces than traditional or incandescent bulbs can. This leads to better cutting-edge designs and focused lighting that can actually set the mood.
Although, I feel nocturnal life will be much nicer with LED lighting, however, I will think in those lines when the existing tubes that I own fail permanently. That way, I need not shell out Rs 3600 or more at one go and it would be a phased transformation. What do you feel?