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?
- LEDs are typically rated to last 25,000 hours or more. Some, like HID replacements, are rated for 50,000 hours. This can drastically reduce the time and cost of maintenance especially for bulbs in hard-to-reach locations, like lobby ceilings or parking lot lights. It also cuts down on how often you have to purchase new bulbs.
- LEDs are currently the most efficient lighting option available. Replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs means slashing those energy costs by 80%. But even as you replace more efficient lights, like CFLs, you will gain some efficiencies while getting the other benefits of LED.
- LEDs reach full brightness immediately, unlike fluorescent and HID lighting options.
- Unlike fluorescent lights, LEDs can be turned on and off frequently without doing much to affect lifespan. This makes them a great option anywhere you'll use occupancy sensors for safety and energy savings, especially in places like bathrooms that are used throughout the day.
- Like fluorescent lights, LEDs come in a variety of color temperatures, ranging from at least 2700K (the warm look of an incandescent bulb) to a cool look of 5000K.
- LEDs do a good job of rendering accurate colors, though they may emphasize blue colors more strongly while incandescent bulbs emphasize warmer / red colors.
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
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.
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 Guest Room Lighting and LEDs
Lighting troffers and recessed lighting make their ways into hotel guest rooms for general lighting purposes. But guest rooms have task lighting needs as well.
Usually you'll find a lighting option on a desk and on a wall or table beside beds. And often, this task lighting is provided by CFLs.
But these are different than the CFLs you would find in homes, because many of these bulbs in hotels have a "twist and lock" (GU24) base. (See the image here for a GU24 base.)
Incidentally, why install a light bulb with this sort of base? It has different purposes in different settings. Hotel, however, face a surprising theft problem, including the theft of light bulbs. Presumably having light bulbs with a base that most people cannot use in their homes should help to reduce this theft.
Since LEDs are now available with this type of base, hotels can enjoy the benefits of LED lights in the guest room fixtures they already have.
Hotel Elevator Lighting and LEDs
Elevator lights sure don't make up the bulk of lighting in a hotel, but we still need to mention them. Traditional elevator bulbs run at around 20 watts, which would chew up 480 watts per day. (They stay on 24 hours a day.) That's 175 kWh per year ... if you don't count the several times they're likely to burn out during the year. ("Hello ... maintenance? More work for you.")
When a hotel switches to LED elevator lights, it can save around 150 kWh per year in energy. And that's just for one bulb! That means the bulb pays for itself in about a year (depending on electricity rates), and then lasts for a couple more years. That ignores the cost of buying several halogen bulbs every year and the time and cost of replacing them. So, plenty of reasons to upgrade elevator lights to LEDs.
Although the wattage and replacement options differ, some elevators use fluorescent tubes rather than small halogen bulbs. As mentioned under "Troffers" above, there are LED replacement options for those.
Hotel Exit Sign Lighting
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
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
Every hotel requires parking, and every parking lot requires lighting. In addition, hotels may use spotlights to feature the building or signage at night; wallpack lights to provide general outdoor lighting; walkway lights; and more.
Once again, there are LED options that provide longevity and financial savings for each application, such as corn cob LEDs designed to replace HID bulbs (like metal halides or sodium lights) in parking areas; LED wallpacks; and PAR lamps used for spotlight purposes.
In fact, as we've discussed elsewhere, metal halide lamps will often lose 30% to 40% of their brightness by halfway through their lives, while LED replacements will retain their initial brightness much longer. This is known as lumen maintenance.