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An article in Forbes verified what Stouch has been telling sports facility managers for years: you will save a lot of money by switching your lighting to state-of-the-art LED technology. For a long time this was thought to be impossible, but now it seems we’re finally moving past the early adopter phase of the technology adaptation curve. Hundreds of sports teams across the country are retrofitting their stadiums with LED sports field lighting. And they’re saving bundles of money by making the switch.


The Miami Dolphins have two of the world's largest HD LED Displays.

Amazingly, there’s still a huge market for savings. Nearly 95% of stadiums still haven’t made the change to LED. So for those of you out there wondering if you should jump on the LED bandwagon, here’s a look at just how much can you save by making a change. First, the big picture - LED lighting saves you money in two principal ways:

  1.  Energy Costs – The exact savings depend on the particular LED light you are choosing and the specific type of bulb it is replacing. Most sports stadiums have been using what is called a high intensity discharge bulb (a type of arc light that has been around for decades in sports facilities). These HID lights are very powerful and they produce a high quality light, but they have some tremendous downsides – the most relevant being that they require significantly more energy to operate than LEDs. For a full comparison of HID and LED lighting read here. One of the first things you should notice when replacing an older technology bulb (incandescent, fluorescent, CFL, HID, etc.) is that the new LED light will produce the same light output (lumens) at a significantly reduced power level (wattage). Since most people are familiar with the standard 60w incandescent household bulb, it’s a good example to use for comparison. That 60w bulb might produce 750 lumens meaning its lumen/watt output is around 12.5.  When shopping for an LED replacement that produces the same amount of light, you would want to find one that also generated 750 lumens. What you would notice, however, is that instead of requiring 60 watts (energy per second) of power to operate, the LED light would probably be rated around 6 watts. That means it uses roughly a tenth of the energy of the incandescent bulb it is replacing. Note that HID is also more efficient than incandescent, however, it still vastly under performs when compared to LED. When you’re talking about lighting up an entire sports facility, you’re multiplying these energy savings by the number of bulbs in operation; the savings can be very significant.Reduce Your Energy Footprint With Energy Efficient LEDsImage From Robisonoil.com
  2.     Maintenance Costs – Believe it or not, reduced maintenance costs is actually the most amazing aspect about LED lights. Although your energy savings will be significant with LED, they will be offset somewhat by the purchase price of the new technology. LED prices are falling quickly but they are still a little bit higher than other bulbs. Where you will really make a lot of money back on an LED retrofit is on the lifetime value of the purchase. The fact of the matter is that you might have to purchase a HID bulb four times before you ever have to replace an LED light. LEDs are a solid state technology that can last for more than 100,000 hours. Compare this to HID, which is actually next best. You’ll be lucky to get between 10,000 and 25,000 hours before needing to replace a HID bulb. This being the case, even if the LED light costs twice as much to purchase the first time around, you will end up spending half as much just by virtue of not having to repeatedly make the replacement bulb purchase. That is to say nothing about the labor costs of replacement, the fact that HIDs often need to be replaced before their useful life is over due to degradation, and the tremendous waste disposal issues with HID. Again, for a full comparison between HID and LED lighting read here. LED wins in almost every single category.

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In addition to the natural advantage LED already has over the competition, it’s getting a boost from a large number of state governments trying to incentivize their citizens to make a smart investment in energy efficiency. Most states have rebate programs designed to return up to 25% of the investment back to the investing organization.

At Stouch Lighting we often coordinate this effort through our ESCO partners whose sole purpose is to help customers procure and finance their LED retrofits and conversions with the energy and maintenance savings inherent in the technology. In our experience, the typical payback period for an LED retrofit project is between 12 and 36 months. For a list of different financing options available read here or contact us.


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