Switching to light-emitting diode (LED) lighting could help businesses and households across the UK eliminate an estimated 3.9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. We’ve produced this guide to help lighting installers understand the key considerations for a business looking to switch to LED lighting, increasing confidence in LED technology and your ability to deliver as a supplier.

The LED market is seeing a surge in demand amid the UK’s net zero transition, with the UK National Highways beginning a five year £132m programme in February 2022 to retrofit 70 per cent of road lighting with LED lighting. The advantages are clear. 

“LED lighting is a quick, easy win for businesses looking to decarbonise. Most properties will have the infrastructure in place to swap light-for-light or in most cases reduce the number of fittings required which will bring instant results, such as increased lighting levels which improve working conditions.

“LEDs produce much less heat than their filament counterparts, meaning less energy is wasted, and once you have your LEDs in place the maintenance costs are low due to their long-life span.”

Ash Hulme Green Economy Advisor and LED lighting specialist

Why LEDs?

Switching to LED lighting creates a 50-80 per cent reduction in energy use and cost savings from the moment of installation. It is also a long-lasting, simple and cost-effective means of decarbonising which can be simply integrated into commercial and domestic buildings with limited ongoing maintenance.

Lighting currently accounts for five per cent of global CO2 emissions and switching to LEDs improves the environmental credentials of a building and business instantly. The global switch away from incandescent bulbs, will create new market opportunities for installers, suppliers and manufacturers of LED lighting as businesses and consumers with look for accessible, low carbon solutions.

Switching to LEDs can also mean less fittings are necessary. Good quality LED lights have an output of around 170+ lumens per watt, compared to up to 70 lumens per watt for fluorescent bulbs. This means LEDs are “brighter” than other bulbs so a building may require fewer fittings to achieve the same level of light coverage.

What is an LED?

LEDs produce light by passing an electrical current through a microchip, this then illuminates the chip. To dissipate heat and maximise performance, the microchip diodes are placed on a thermal heat sink material. LED lights use up to 90 per cent less energy than traditional light bulbs, which typically waste 90 per cent of their energy as heat.

LED Lighting

What are the different LED technologies customers can consider?

Surface Mounted Diode (SMD) LEDs

SMDs are one of the newer generation LED types. The LED chips they use are the brightest and most common type, making them a popular choice for lighting large spaces. They are also more compact than other LED types making them well suited to smaller electronics and strip lighting. If colour options are important to you, SMDs are a good choice as you can put three diodes on a single SMD chip which creates a range of different colours.

Chip on Board (COB) LEDs

COBs provide a denser amount of light and can typically pack nine or more diodes onto a single chip, making them the brightest option. COBs are also adaptable to a range of different lighting types and emit a consistent beam of controlled light, providing clear optics. However, they represent much older LED tech and aren’t used as often due to their high manufacturing costs.  

Dual In-Line Package (DIP) LEDs

DIPs se the original LED chips. Despite being an older LED option, they are still in use today. Their miniscule size make them ideal for built-in electronics, but their limited power mean they emit low levels of brightness.

Technological innovations in LED lighting 

Bluetooth and Smart Lights

An increasing number of LED manufacturers are now designing their products with Bluetooth and Smart capabilities. Bluetooth LED lighting strips give users hands-on control over their lighting. By installing a Bluetooth LED lighting strip system, users can alter the brightness, colour, and timing of their lighting, offering a viable solution for businesses that need variable lighting solutions for their day-to-day operations, such as dimmer lighting for office spaces, coloured lighting for leisure spaces and brighter settings for boardrooms.

Smart Lighting LED systems are able to be programmed to turn on and off at a given time, or even sense the presence of a person in the room. This is useful for businesses who can use Smart LED systems to ensure lighting is only being used during working hours or while a room has people in it.

Human-Centric LED Lighting

Human-Centric LEDs (HCLEDs) represent one of the more exciting progressions in LED technology. Since LEDs are able to emit a broader, smoother colour spectrum than fluroescent and incandescent bulbs, scientists and LED developers are working to match LEDs with the natural circadian rhythms of human beings.

Quantum dots

Quantum dots are a nanotechnology hailed as a breakthrough for LED efficiency. They can be fine-tuned to emit light throughout the visibility spectrum which is significant since this technology leads to more colour options alongside improvements in the quality, uniformity and tonal colour of LEDs.

What will your customers want to know about LEDs?

Buyers of green technology and services will want to be aware of costs before signing-off on retrofit projects. Estimates have shown that the average cost of running a single 3W LED bulb per year is roughly £3.72, roughly £0.001 per hour. This is significantly lower than the £14.89 price tag associated with a fluorescent bulb.

In terms of initial costs, analysis from the Renewable Energy Hub, an LED bulb will cost roughly £15-£20 per unit compared to £1-£2 for an incandescent or fluorescent bulb. However, the lifespan and efficiency of an LED bulb compared to its incandescent and fluorescent counterparts, so while the initial outlay is higher, the lifespan savings make LEDs a far more cost-effective option.

Tube LED lights also cost more than a standard LED bulb. LED tube lighting may set you back £20-£50 per tube, and businesses with large office or factory spaces expecting to replace upwards of 30 bulbs can expect a price tag in excess of £400.

LEDs promise better cost savings and efficiency compared to incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. Using the example of a 6W LED bulb which equates to a 60W incandescent bulb or a 14W fluorescent (CFL) bulb, the following savings could be achieved:

Over a 60,000 hour period, an incandescent bulb will cost roughly £700 to run while an LED will cost in the region of £80-£90. A CFL bulb costs roughly £180 to run which, though significantly lower than an incandescent bulb, is still higher than the costs of running LEDs.

Taking into account a 60,000 hour period with 30 LEDs and 30 incandescent bulbs, the incandescent bulbs will cost a whopping £23,000 to run, while LEDs cost around £2,600 to run over the same period, providing obvious savings.

LEDs promise better cost savings and efficiency compared to incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. Using the example of a 6W LED bulb which equates to a 60W incandescent bulb or a 14W fluorescent (CFL) bulb, the following savings could be achieved:

  • Over a 60,000 hour period, an incandescent bulb will cost roughly £700 to run while an LED will cost in the region of £80-£90. A CFL bulb costs roughly £180 to run which, though significantly lower than an incandescent bulb, is still higher than the costs of running LEDs.
  • Taking into account a 60,000 hour period with 30 LEDs and 30 incandescent bulbs, the incandescent bulbs will cost a whopping £23,000 to run, while LEDs cost around £2,600 to run over the same period, providing obvious savings.

What will customers want to know about your business

Help your customers get to know and trust you

Build confidence with potential customers by demonstrating your expertise and experience through your online presence. Ensure that your website and any other digital channels showcase client testimonials, feedback and case studies that demonstrate your knowledge of the technology, and high-quality customer care.

  • Green Economy delivers workshops to help you develop a successful marketing strategy. Find out about our Green Leaders workshops below.
  • Join Green Economy and create a free profile on our Marketplace to showcase your experience and credentials for potential customers. 

Customers will also be keen to see any valid credentials your business has which makes you a suitable supplier. For instance if you’re working with contractors, you can ensure they are Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) or National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC) approved contractors.

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Understanding of the technology

Providing information guides about LED lighting to your customers will demonstrate your knowledge about the technology and manage some of the frequently asked questions. This can also be used as a marketing tool to signpost your business as experts in the LED field.

Ensure your customers are aware of what is involved in the process of LED installation, from start to finish, to build a solid partnership.

Lighting survey

Lighting surveys give you a complete picture of the project, the scale of work involved and provide an opportunity for you to demonstrate your knowledge and make recommendations to the client.

Lighting design scheme

Following the survey, a detailed lighting design scheme can be produced which will allow you to position lights in the most efficient way, apply any controls and maximise lighting levels. This level of detail/data can then be used to inform any energy saving analysis, return on investment and additional outputs to your clients.

Energy saving analysis

Providing your client with energy saving analysis further strengthens evidence of your knowledge, experience and understanding of their needs. Additionally, this data can be used towards your clients net zero targets. 

In order to ensure your customers that investing in LED technology is a viable net zero solution, explain the aftercare process to them, including maintenance costs and procedures, lifespan, and monitoring tips. By making a customer aware of what is needed after the installation of LEDs, you will instill confidence in them and your business.

Maintenance and guarantees

Maintaining the lighting will prolong the life span and vastly reduce any potential breakdowns, reduction in lighting levels and save money on unnecessary replacements.

Future proof you clients lighting scheme, by offering product guarantees and a strong and robust warranty will provide your customers with confidence that your support and assistance will continue for years to come.

If there are supporting technologies that could improve the efficiency and reliability of LEDs, make your customer aware of this so they can get the most out of their LED installation. Inform customers of your business model and the ongoing support you offer, to build long-term relationships with them.

Clearly highlight the period of guarantee and develop a maintenance plan in order to retain existing customers, improve market knowledge, and attract new buyers with ongoing support.

Diversifying from traditional lighting to LED lighting installations

Diversifying from traditional lighting to LED lighting should be a simple choice to make for an existing light fitter or designer. Older technologies are coming off the market, for instance retailers are selling old Halogen bulbs stock and will not being able to replace them. Fluorescent tubes are set to be removed from shelves this year. This will see the increased production of more efficient LED lighting, meaning customers who have fluorescent lamps will require new lighting, providing your business with new sales opportunities.

Offering LED Lighting will bring you in line with your competitors and provide your existing clients with the opportunity to start their journey to net zero if they have not already.

Further advantages include evidence that as a company you are conscious of your environmental impact, and by offering your clients a more efficient product, you will be able to save your customers money on their energy bills.

Switching to LEDs also provide customers with a product with numerous benefits and features, such as colour temperature, high energy efficiency, long life span and increased lighting levels.

Our partners at the Green Skills Academy offer a range of training options to upskill in green technologies. 

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How can Green Economy help LED suppliers to scale and grow their business?

Green Economy provides LED installers, manufacturers, suppliers and tradespeople with connections to domestic and commercial customers who are on their journey to net zero. Green Economy members create a free profile on our Marketplace, which customers can use to find your business and approach you directly. 

In addition, we share exclusive sales opportunities with our members each week and invite our members to exclusive business development, networking and meet the buyer events. 

LED installers based in Bury, Bolton, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan

You are eligible for fully-funded business growth support from Green Economy in addition to the other Green Economy membership benefits. Create a free profile on our website and we’ll be in touch with next steps.

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Further reading on LED Lighting

Lighting to way to net zero

Ligero Design is a manufacturer and designer of bespoke, energy saving LED lighting solutions for industrial, commercial and architectural projects. The business prides itself on helping clients to do better by the planet, as well as make significant cost savings and deliver better lighting conditions for building occupants.

Search for a lighting specialist

To find a local LED lighting supplier, visit the Green Economy Marketplace and search by your project specification. 

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