Other Benefits of LED Lighting on Billboards
This week Tasty Ad spoke with Brian Kline of Reliable Electric Products Company, and Roland Digital Media, about how LEDs are changing the Outdoor industry. For those of you not familiar with Reliable, they were founded in Los Angeles, CA in 1947. Seventy-plus years and a move to Knoxville, TN later, Reliable Electric Products Company is still the leading supplier and designer of LED lighting for the Outdoor Advertising industry.
Tasty Ad: So by now, we all know LEDs have a great return by cutting energy costs. We’ve seen it first hand at our partner company Roland Digital Media. Can you tell us about the other benefits of using LED fixtures on billboards?
Brian: You’re absolutely right about the energy savings and I’m glad you’ve seen it first hand with the Sign Vue 2 LEDs Roland Outdoor installed. When you switch from the industry-standard Holophane 400 watt HID fixture (which is actually 458 watts when you factor in the ballast), down to a 108 watt Holophane 2nd generation LED, you are using 78% percent less electricity. Typically this results in about a 65% savings on your monthly bill after regular flat monthly fees from your utility company are taken into account. The team and I always want our customers to review the hard savings first to see if an LED conversion is a good fit for them. The math doesn’t lie. Most of the time we see ROIs of 2 – 3 years, depending on your utility’s kW/H rate. From there we can talk about soft savings, which I refer to as “icing on the cake.”
Tasty Ad: Let’s talk about soft savings, how should an operator calculate them?
Brian: It can sometimes be difficult. Every plant is different, as the internal operational costs vary from company to company and market to market. Although LED fixtures are not 100% perfect – nothing is, they certainly cut down on your maintenance costs. No more light bulbs to change. No more ballasts to change. Pretty much the only thing that might be serviced down the road is the driver, and most drivers have a 100,000 hour rating. The savings of not sending a guy out to change a lamp every few years is significant. Over a 10 year period, an HID fixture will typically go through 2-3 lamps and a ballast. If an owner calculated material cost and labor to change 2 lamps and a ballast it would be about equal to the cost of a new fixture over a 10 year period. In addition, the older HID parts are becoming harder to obtain at reasonable costs.
Tasty Ad: How has the technology progressed in the industry?
Brian: The first few years were definitely a learning curve for all manufacturers. In 2014, there were some major advancements in optics and efficiency, providing more uniform lighting and brighter faces. When most of the fixtures went to market with the original technology, they were producing about 80-90 lumens per watt. Today, Holophane LED fixtures produce 120 lumens per watt. That’s a pretty significant jump in efficiency, so I don’t foresee another major jump for some time. We might see 2-3% increases here and there, which won’t be noticeable to the average consumer.
One recent advancement in optics has me very excited. We now can illuminate tall walls up to 180 feet with a new fixture Holophane has developed for us, eliminating the aging 1,000 and 1,500 watt Prismbeam fixtures. The energy savings can exceed 85% in the tall wall sector and the maintenance savings are through the roof! Reliable Electric is the go-to designer for tall walls throughout the country and has even designed layouts in South America and Asia.
Tasty Ad: Thanks, Brian. We’d also like to point out how much better the ads look when lighted with LED vs traditional lighting. The light coverage is much more uniform and the colors look better as well. Which is great for us and our customers!
For more information about LED lighting and its benefits visit: reliable-electric.com