Everything you need to know before upgrading your lighting to LED

Everyone is looking at LED lighting. It’s low maintenance, cost saving, energy saving, long lasting and eco-friendly.

It sounds too good to be true, well, it isn’t. If you know what you’re doing.

That’s the key — you can buy LED lighting from anywhere, neatly boxed, supplied and delivered to your door, but are you getting it right?

To help you make the right decision, here’s a straightforward guide:

1.Find a good lighting electrician — A qualified electrician with experience in LED is invaluable.

2.Carry out a lighting survey of your premises — This will help you find out how many lights you have now and how much they cost you to run.

3.Decide on the type of LED — LED lights come in all shapes and sizes including down lights, panel lights, spot lights, high bay lights, battens, flood exterior LED lighting and wall lights. Your lighting electrician will give you a design that ensures correct lighting colour levels, the right look of fittings and the best level of light.

4.Calculate how much your new LED will cost to run — After deciding on your new LED, your electrician will then be able to calculate how much they will cost to run and how much you can save by switching to LED.

5.Check your existing energy usage — Fit an electricity consumption monitor into your lighting system. Allow the monitor to run for two weeks in a small test area, it will tell you how much electricity your lighting is using and when.

6.Calculate how much you can save — Analyse the data with your electrician. Then multiply the test area figures across the total number of lights you have to find out how much you can save by switching to LED.

7.Don’t take risks — Only use approved NICEIC registered electricians Ensure BS7671 17th edition standards for electrical safety are met. Make sure your electrician plans a schedule of work that causes minimal disruption to your business.

8.Consider the occupants — If your buildings are occupied, your electricians first priority should be to respect the privacy and property of others. They should also keep the job clean and tidy and make good any damaged paint work, ceilings and walls.

9.Remove and recycle all old light fittings — Not all light bulbs can be tossed in the bin. Proper disposal is important because some bulbs contain hazardous materials that can be harmful to people and the environment. Recycling also makes use of the valuable materials from the dead bulbs.

10.Get it certified – Once your LED lighting is installed, get a certificate from the electrician to confirm they’ve it tested and it complies with the relevant standard — BS7671 17th edition. Also test your emergency light systems and get a certification for those too.

11.Insist on LED lighting product guarantee — Good quality LEDs are guaranteed for five years and can have a life of upto 40,000 hours, which means you don’t have to touch it or do any maintenance. It should include all parts and labour.


After all these steps you’d be justified in asking if it is worth it. Let me give you an example and you can judge for yourself:

 The Pavillions – Lincoln

The Student Housing Company

Before                                                              After

The project completed by Lighting Electricians Ltd, a company that has been running for over 20 years and has installed over 25,000 LED lights, into student accommodation last year alone, was to upgrade ageing lighting in ten blocks of student housing at Lincoln Pavillions. The site accommodated over 1,000 students from Lincoln University.

With 15 year old lighting in poor condition and expensive to run, their total lighting cost for this site came to £68,832 per year.

By upgrading the lighting to LED, The Student Housing Company could slash their lighting electricity consumption by 80% and make a saving of £54,869 a year, with a payback of only 27 months.

 1,733 LED fittings were installed in kitchens, lounges, corridors, lobbies and stairwells across the students accommodation buildings over a two-month period and all the old fittings were removed and recycled.

Motion sensors in lobbies and corridors were put in to activate lighting in these areas only when needed — reducing operation time by 95%. Emergency lighting was also installed in case of power failure.                                             

LED Lighting: Facts

  • Today’s LED lights can be six to seven times more energy efficient than conventional incandescent or fluorescent lights and cut energy use by more than 80 percent.
  • LED has fallen in price to the point at which it’s become the economical choice in almost every application. It’s estimated that the global shipment of LED lights is expected to grow to more than £4.1 billion by 2024, as 74% of the world’s light fittings are upgraded. (Navigant Research)
  • Quality LED lights can have a useful life of 40,000 hours or more – meaning they can last more than 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs. That’s a life of more than 10 years running 10 hours a day 7 days a week.
  • Unlike incandescent bulbs which release 90 percent of their energy as heat, LEDs use energy far more efficiently with little wasted heat.
  • LEDs are 100% recyclable. Unlike fluorescent counterparts and high intensity discharge (HID) technologies, LEDs contain no toxic materials, hazardous mercury, or halogen gases.
  • Retrofitting to LEDs reduces your carbon footprint.
  • LED improves the look of your building.
  • LED gives you a better working environment.
  • LED increases your asset value.