In the last five years, LED lighting and controls have been widely used in a broad range of general lighting applications, from residential to commercial, but there are a number of persistent misconceptions about LED lighting – many based on knowledge of legacy fixtures – that do not apply. In fact, for commercial and industrial applications, high-quality LED fixtures offer extremely low energy use, a long lifespan, high-quality light and durability. Additionally, there is none of the maintenance (re-lamping, re-ballasting) associated with traditional incandescent and fluorescent sources and there are inherent controllability aspects (instant on/off, full-range dimming) that create additional energy savings opportunities.

LED lighting is relatively new compared to legacy lighting types, and continue to be misunderstood in a number of ways, writes Digital Lumens in a new white paper devoted to correcting these misunderstandings. One common misconception is that LEDs are so efficient that controls are unnecessary. In fact, while switching to LEDs creates a one-time savings event – typically reducing lighting energy use by up to 50% – integrated sensing and controls can nearly double those energy savings, making controls essential for maximum savings and project economics.


Another misconception is that LED lighting prices will go down so it pays to wait. The truth, says Digital Lumens, is that the major LED chip price drops have already happened; the rest will be incremental. And the energy savings from upgrading to LEDs far exceed any modest price declines in LED-based fixtures. So waiting for a price drop will cost more in energy savings than savings from LED price declines.

There is also a misunderstanding about the environment in which LEDs work, Digital Lumens says. While many believe that LEDs don’t work well in high-temperature environments, the fact is that in temperature tests conducted by independent labs, LEDs performed equally as well as fluorescents and HID fixtures. Of course, the company adds, quality matters, and a well-designed lighting system that carefully manages heat dissipation is a prerequisite for lighting operating at any temperature — hot, cold, or anywhere in between.

Interest in LED lighting is at an all-time high as energy efficiency and corporate sustainability initiatives are increasingly important worldwide. But because LEDs are fundamentally different from other lighting types, it is critical to understand the characteristics, benefits, and opportunities they present, and working with a partner who understands the best and economical lighting design for any particular building and organizational needs can make an enormous difference, according to Digital Lumens.

Digital Lumens has published a white paper – Just the Facts: 8 Common Misconceptions about LEDs and Controls – that explains why these myths are inaccurate and offers advice on evaluating LED fixture quality, information on how granular controls can improve an energy efficiency LED program, cost evaluations, and recommendations on how to choose a vendor and what information to ask for. Download the white paper here.