Over the last six years, LED lighting has gradually become the hot topic when someone inquired about landscape lighting so I thought I'd share my feelings and experiences regarding the most often asked questions throughout this time.
How much does an LED landscape lighting system cost? Prices have come down dramatically and there is virtually no difference when you compare it to a the typical high-voltage mercury vapor system.
How long will an LED landscape lamp/unit last? They are typically rated for 50,000 hours, so if they are on all night, every night, they should last roughly ten years. This is a bit misleading though, as they typically carry a three-five year warranty and as the years go by it gradually loses it's lumen output (light intensity). Additionally, our installations have demonstrated roughly 5% failure rate during this warranty period.
How is the color going to look on my landscape? They've made significant improvement over the years to give the customer a variety of kelvin ratings to choose. Typically, 2,700k (warm lighting) to 5,000k (cool lighting) is what's found. However, every manufacturer's kelvin is different when it comes to LED, meaning one's 5,000k will look completely different than another. This is due to the different styles and binning of the light source (diode) which can be make things difficult when having to maintain one down the road.
How much money will I save on my energy bill? Again, if compared to a mercury vapor system, you'll see a roughly 60-75% reduction in your electrical usage. This may sound like a lot, but when you look deeper amounts to roughly $40 monthly on a design with 15 units. Of course, savings will increase along with the total number of units in your design.
My personal set of pros and cons for the customer to weigh.
- Energy savings
- Less equipment in trees and landscape
- Variety of equipment to choose from
- Increased ability to create different lighting affects
- Cool to the touch when operating
- Small beam pattern...meaning you need more units to cover an area when downlighting and lighting doesn't fill larger tree canopies when uplighting
- Color is different than what people are used to, but still nice.
- Subtle differences from light to light
LED for your landscape lighting is continually evolving and has its' place in virtually all of our designs today. However, for the majority of our designs, a myriad of circumstances dictate its' use. Contact us if you have questions on whether LED is right for your landscape lighting project.