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How LEDs Have Changed The Event Lighting Industry


Since 1879, we’ve all been using the same incandescent light first created by Thomas Edison. Until about five years ago. That’s when LED technology popped up, and began radically changing the lighting world.

On a similar note, you’ve likely heard a smattering of information about switching to LEDs at home. Although the focus of this post is on LEDs in event lighting, many of the topics listed below will also apply to how LEDs are used in homes. For that reason, we’ll explore how LEDs stack up to incandescent bulbs as well as CFLs (compact fluorescent lights).

  • An LED has a longer life span. LEDs last longer because they require less energy to work properly. An Incandescent bulb lasts around 1,000 hours before it completely blows out and becomes unusable. In comparison, a CFL bulb averages 8,000 hours of usage while an LED bulb lasts up to 50,000 hours!

{TIP} As your LED approaches the end of its life, the light will become dimmer. Buying bulbs with built-in heat sinks will help your bulbs remain cool to the touch and ensure a long lasting LED.

  • An LED has reduced power consumption. The power consumption of an LED is significantly less than an incandescent bulb, and slightly less than a CFL. A 60 watt incandescent bulb is equivalent to a 13-18 watt CFL and an 8-12 watt LED. The lower power consumption results in a lower energy bill, which means more money in your pocket.
  • An LED has decreased heat output. All light bulbs put out heat. And as anyone who’s touched a working light bulb knows, they can get quite hot! Any additional heat buildup leaks out into the surrounding space, causing your air conditioner to work harder at cooling down the air. Here’s how much heat you can expect from each type of bulb:

One 60 watt incandescent bulb produces 205 Btu’s/hour. An equivalent LED bulb produces 27 Btu’s/hour, and one CFL produces 44 Btu’s/hour. In this real world example, the incandescent is generating 7.5 times as much heat as the LED!

{TIP} You can easily convert any wattage to Btu’s/hour using the equation: 1 watt = 3.414 Btu’s/hour.

  • An LED has fewer cables. LEDs need fewer cables because they need less power. Since each cable is limited in the amount of power it can handle, the only way to add more power is to add more cables. LEDs are a great workaround to this particular problem. Using incandescent bulbs, you can only get 3 fixtures on one cable. With LED bulbs, you can place 30 fixtures on one cable. That’s 90% less cable required for the same amount of light output!
  • An LED has a lower long-term expense. The cost of an LED bulb has greatly decreased since they first hit the market. Although it’s still more expensive to initially purchase an LED, you will pay less over the long-term because you won’t have to replace them nearly as often as a CFL or an incandescent bulb. What’s more, those energy savings we mentioned previously should also be taken into account when viewing your long-term expenses.

At Bay Stage Live, we’re big supporters of LEDs! They’re easier to work with, they save energy and money, and they last far longer! Most companies agree, and are making the change to LEDs; however, some are still hanging onto the old technology.

The next time you need lighting for your event, choose a company that utilizes the newest technology and equipment!

For questions, concerns or guidance – call us at (813) 877-1089.