When it comes to hotels, there's no easy way to talk about lighting because there's such a variety of needs. On the one hand, hotels can choose from an incredibly wide selection of fixtures, from bedside table lamps to bedside lights embedded in the wall; from close to ceiling fixtures or lighting pendants in guest rooms and hallways to wall sconces to chandeliers, like the one pictured here in the lobby of a local luxury hotel.
Then you have the many needs for that lighting: bright and usually white (higher color temperature) lighting in meeting rooms; warmer color temperatures often at lower lighting levels in guest rooms; mood lighting in restaurants; security lighting outdoors; etc.
One thing all of these lights have in common is the use of energy to power them. And given how many lights are used in a hotel, and how long many of them are on every day, the move to LED technology is an important one. It can drastically reduce both energy and labor costs, as well as the repeated cost of buying bulbs.
At Lighting Supply, we focus on replacement lighting for industrial and commercial enterprises like hotels. So while we don't carry fancy fixtures for design purposes, we do carry bulbs, ballasts, and functional fixtures like fluorescent troffers, LED ceiling panels, outdoor wallpacks and spotlights, and more.
In this blog, we'll briefly discuss the benefits of LED lighting, then talk about several different hotel settings and the lights that serve them well.
Why LED Lighting for Hotels?
For a more detailed look at the benefits of LED lights, you can explore our article: 14 Reasons It's Time to Switch to LED Lighting.
Hotel General Lighting and LEDs
From lobbies to hallways to meeting rooms, business centers, and offices, general hotel lighting is often addressed by recessed lighting and fluorescent troffers / light panels. Let's take a look at both:
You're probably familiar with recessed cans from household or office settings, commonly with bulbs that have a BR shape for general lighting. In some settings where a specific area needs to be lighted, PAR lights may be used.
These downlights normally use 65 to 75 watts if they're incandescent lights, though in higher ceilings, bulbs with higher wattages are used. Halogen bulbs cut the wattage down a bit, and many hotels have cut wattage down even more by installing fluorescent BR lamps. But today, the most efficient choice for recessed lighting is LED.
There is another option to know about however, and that is an LED downlight retrofit kit. Rather than replacing an old BR bulb with an LED bulb, you remove the old bulb as well as the old trim. You then screw the base of the kit into the socket and slide the entire kit into the hole in the ceiling, using the kit's springs to lock it into the original can. This leaves you with a flush look against the ceiling and efficient LED technology to light the room. This is a wonderful option for aesthetics.
Finally, many hotels opt for plug-in CFLs in cans rather than BR style bulbs. In some cases, two are used horizontally in a single can, producing a great deal of light at an energy cost far lower than a high-powered incandescent lamp. Once more, though, LED has an answer. Plug-in LEDs can now replace those CFLs, driving energy and replacement costs down even further.
TROFFERS / LIGHT PANELS
2x4 fluorescent troffers are a common sight in hotels, lighting lobbies, hallways, and common areas like breakfast rooms. These remain a popular option because fluorescent lamps are cheap enough up front, compared to LED tubes, that the LED payoff may happen more slowly than when replacing other fluorescent lamps (like BR bulbs).
Still, LED tubes that replace fluorescent tubes continue becoming more affordable and the payoff period is becoming shorter all the time. Couple that with the other benefits of LED compared to fluorescent lights and you'll understand why more and more businesses -- hotels included -- are making the switch.
But replacing fluorescent tubes with LED tubes isn't your only option. These are ways to retrofit your current fluorescent fixture with an LED kit; or you can remove your old fixture and fully replace it with an LED lighting panel. These options are more fully explained in this blog.
Hotel Elevator Lighting and LEDs
Hotel Exit Sign Lighting
Outside of Jean-Paul Sartre's play, "No Exit," most hotels we know of do have exits and therefore exit signs. And every one of those needs to be lit up.
Exit signs are, of course, lit 24 hours a day; traditional signs with incandescent bulbs running between about 24 to 40 watts could then chew through $24 to $40 in annual energy costs at .15 per kWh, while a sign retrofitted with LED bulbs might cost only $3 to operate. Since the only function of LED in this case is to light up the letters of a sign (no need to consider beam spread, color temperature, CRI, etc.), there's truly no reason not to upgrade incandescent exit sign bulbs to LED exit sign bulbs, since they will pay for themselves in a matter of months and last for many years.
In new construction settings, of course, you can bypass LED upgrades in directly install LED exit signs like the one shown here.
Hotel Restaurant Lighting and LEDs
Many hotels have restaurants, and lighting can set the atmosphere through color temperature, brightness, and overall positioning. Casual restaurants may have brighter and whiter lights while high-end, more formal restaurants use warmer color temperatures and dimmer lights.
That said, some restaurants struggle to balance mood with practical reading levels for menus. General recommendations suggest anywhere from 5 to 20 footcandles of light at table level for dining; but those same recommendations suggest a minimum of 20 footcandles for comfortable reading. Because of this, restaurants wanting to keep lower lighting levels for ambiance may wish to use larger print in their menus or offer some other solution, especially for an older clientele.
Once again there's a strong reason to upgrade restaurant lighting to LEDs because of their range of color temperatures, brightness, ability to dim, and overall cost effectiveness. With more smart LED lighting options becoming available, it would even be possible for restaurants to control light levels at individual tables, perhaps providing more lighting until ordering has taken place, then dimming the lights for mood.
Hotel Outdoor Lighting and LEDs
It's not so long ago that LED technology was expensive in the world of lighting. And while it's still more of an upfront cost than other forms of lighting, it's reached the point where it's typically a short payback period, and represents a fantastic way for hotels and other businesses to save on energy, maintenance, and the regular purchase of light bulbs.
Maybe you've heard this quote: "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."
We could write a corollary to that: "If you think LED bulbs are expensive, try incandescent bulbs."
This isn't to say that it's ignorant to use incandescent bulbs. They're still needed in some applications, and some people's preference for the incandescent experience is so strong that it doesn't come down to money. So we're being more literal here.
With LED bulbs now replacing incandescent A19 bulbs for $5 to $10 each, an LED bulb used for 3 hours a day will generally pay for itself in 1-2 years. (Saving approximately $6 in energy costs per year, depending on local rates. And yes, LEDs can cost less, but we recommend caution with unknown brands or short rated lives due to quality issues, including changes in the color consistency and amount of light produced.)
Never mind that you'll have to replace the incandescent bulb about once a year while the LED could last for 20 years or more. In fact, based on those simple numbers, over 20 years you'd probably have to buy 20 incandescent bulbs ($20 or so in today's dollars?) compared to the one LED ($5 to $10) and you'd spend more than $100 extra dollars (today's dollars and rates) on electricity with the incandescent.
Maybe you already knew all of that. But did you know this? The first commercially available light bulb was sold for about $1. Adjusted for inflation, this was over $20 in today's money. By around 1920, the price had fallen to about 30 to 50 cents ... or roughly $4 to $7 in today's money.
So what we're paying for LEDs today is similar to what people were paying for incandescent bulbs in 1920! Yet what we get for our money is a bulb that could last 25 times as long and costs about 1/6 as much in terms of energy usage. That's a pretty good value for LED!
You can find all of our quality LED replacements for incandescent A19 bulbs here.
There are plenty of technologies that provide us with lighting, from HID bulbs to fluorescents to incandescents and halogens. But more and more, these are being replaced with the newest technology, LED lighting. While specific applications may still call for non-LED options, there are plenty of reasons why it's a good time to switch most lighting to LED. Here are some we've come up with:
1. LED Bulbs are Affordable
Not long ago, LED lighting options were beyond the reach of all but the most ardent early adopters, with standard A-shape LED bulbs for homes and offices running at $50 each or more.
But these days, prices have plummeted, and while LEDs are still more expensive than other technologies, sometimes the difference isn't much. That's definitely the case with A-shape bulbs replacing your typical household bulb. And when you factor in the other benefits, the initial price difference becomes a moot point.
2. LED Bulbs will Save You Money
This was harder to say when LED bulbs were expensive. But as they continue to approach the costs of the bulbs they're replacing, it's easier to be sure they'll save you money before long. In many cases, they'll pay for themselves within 1-2 years, depending on usage. After that, they'll represent money you keep year after year.
This is because they're the most energy efficient bulbs available. Replace a 60 watt A19 incandescent used for 3 hours a day at 11 cents per kWh and you're likely to save around 55 kW and around $6 per year. Now imagine the savings against an HID bulb used in a parking lot for 12 hours per night. (We've estimated those savings to be close to $200 per year in some cases.)
Additional savings come from the longevity of LED bulbs. See the next point for details.
3. LED Bulbs are Rated to Keep Going ... and Going ...
While some low-end LED bulbs are "only" rated to last 5000 to 10,000 hours, many are rated to last 25,000 hours and more. Compare this to 1000 or 2000 hours from most incandescent and halogen bulbs, or a maximum of 5000 to 10,000 hours from CFLs. Also compare a 50,000 hour high-power LED to around 20,000 hours from HIDs (and see "Lumen Maintenance" below). This gives you two big benefits from LEDs:
1) You'll have reduced costs from buying additional bulbs.
2) You'll have reduced costs from replacing bulbs. Replacements aren't difficult at home in table lamps or low-hanging chandeliers; but what about bulbs in flush mount ceiling fixtures or hard-to-reach foyer chandeliers? Now consider what it takes for a business to replace high bay or parking lot lighting. Real time and costs are involved, but less so when using LEDs.
BONUS: Using fewer bulbs means producing less waste when lamps reach life end.
4. Lumen Maintenance
This is a fancy way of saying "keeps shining like it did when it was new." This is an important factor in lighting. Lights lose their brightness over time, but some lose it far more quickly than others. Metal halide lights, for instance, may lose 30% to 40% of their brightness after 1/2 their rated life, even though they're still using the "like new" amount of energy.
So while they cost less than LEDs up front, the lumen maintenance of metal halides is important to understand if you're trying to control lighting levels. You may need to purchase based on "mean lumens" rather than initial lumens, which means buying bulbs with higher wattage to address the light loss (and continuing to pay for that extra energy).
Meanwhile, LEDs are known to maintain close to 90% of their initial lumens at half their rated lives, and more than 70% throughout their lives, so you can choose a lower wattage and rely on initial lumens for light output, never paying more than you need to in energy costs.
5. LEDs Provide Directional Lighting
Most light sources are omni-directional and use reflectors to steer their light. Part of the efficiency of LEDs is that they provide directional light, placing it where it's needed. So depending on the application, even fewer lumens may be needed when compared to other lamps. (Yes, saving you even more money.) In outdoor settings, this also means controlling the light so it doesn't spill onto neighboring properties while helping to reduce light pollution and keeping our nighttime skies darker.
6. LED Bulbs are Instant On
8. LED Bulbs Usually Dim Well
Some LED bulbs are non-dimmable, so you should check the label before buying LEDs if you need them to dim. But most dim (in applications where dimming is common). Now it's true that not all dimmers are compatible with LEDs, and could cause them to flicker, buzz, or simply not dim much. In this case, a new dimmer switch would be needed. But overall, LEDs dim better than CFLs (which rarely dim).
9. LED Bulbs Don't Emit Much Heat or UV
Most light bulbs emit a lot of heat and, as you know, you would never replace them without first giving them a period to cool down. But LEDs remain cool to the touch on the front of the bulb. You'll still want to be careful about the base, however, as the bulbs wick heat into this area. These can be plenty hot.
Also, LEDs do not emit much or any UV radiation, which was a point of health concern for many people when it came to CFL lighting.
12. LED Lights Come in a Variety of Color Temperatures
With most lighting sources you're stuck with a single color temperature. (The visual warmth of the bulb.) Fluorescent lamps have long been an exception to this rule, providing office environments with relatively warm 3000K lighting all the way to daylight coolness of 6500K.
For comparison, incandescent bulbs are around 2700K and halogens are typically between 2700K and 3000K.
LEDs, though, provide options from a warm 2400K to a cool 5000K. And select LEDs will even get warmer as you dim them, similar to the way an incandescent bulb does.
13. LED Lights Render Colors Well
Every lighting source comes with a measurement from the CRI scale to show how well it renders colors. Full spectrum light from the sun gives us a 100 rating, and halogens and incandescents score nearly as high. But this is a complex topic that is being looked at by experts, because while most LEDs only score in the 80s on this scale (though some score in the 90s), you can't really say that LEDs render colors worse than incandescent or halogen lights. They render colors differently. They bring out certain colors a little better and some a little worse.
The bottom line is that LED lighting can rank well on the CRI scale, but that all LEDs do a very good job of rendering colors. And when you're comparing LED to HID lighting options, LED is the hands-down winner when it comes to CRI.
14. LED Lights are Durable
LEDs don't have glass bulbs and they don't have delicate filaments that can break from vibration. This makes them the most durable light bulbs available!
We know, our name "Lighting Supply" might have you thinking "light bulbs." And we have an awful lot of those, including many hard-to-find bulbs that others just don't carry.
But when you remember the "Supply" side of our name, you'll know we have a lot more in the way of fixtures, accessories, and of course lighting ballasts. What you might not know is just how many ballasts we carry, and how competitive our pricing is. In fact, we have some of the best ballast pricing around.
Our range includes everything from HID and CFL ballasts to the ubiquitous fluorescent light ballast, and familiar brands like Advance and Universal to the extremely flexible Fulham brand and on to others like Robertson.
When it comes to replacing a lighting ballast, going by part number is often the easiest approach. But if you're replacing a ballast that's no longer made or sold, or need help matching a ballast to your lighting setup, that's why we're here. Give us a call and we'll help you find the right ballast and get your order placed on the spot. Even better, our in-stock orders ship out the same day, so you'll get them as quickly as possible.
At some point you may want to install lights in a ceiling or outdoor soffit where there's almost no room above the new light. In this case, traditional recessed lighting cans won't work.
One option is to drop the lights into the room itself. You'd see this with track lighting, close-to-ceiling fixtures (i.e., flush mount fixtures), chandeliers, or even just a bare bulb sticking out of the ceiling.
These options definitely don't make sense in a soffit outdoors. And even indoors, you may prefer recessed lighting. Luckily, there is an option, which is to use a thin recessed light designed for this purpose.
A traditional term for this is a "shallow can," but this suggests still needing space for a can, which is what you got with older lighting technologies. These cans were typically around 3 to 5 inches deep. But today, with LED technology, you can get truly thin fixtures that are less than 1" in height, and need less than 2" above the ceiling for installation.
We carry the Lotus line of ultra thin recessed lights to give you this recessed lighting option.
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