Category Archives: LED Bay Lighting

Appreciating Lumen Depreciation

You might have heard the terms “lumen maintenance” or “lumen depreciation” or (if you’re more advanced) “L70” in reference to lighting – particularly LED lighting. These terms have to do with lifespan, which is particularly important for lighting for commercial, municipal, educational, healthcare, or industrial applications, where short operating lives come at a higher premium.

Like the metal halide (MH), high pressure sodium (HPS), and fluorescent/compact fluorescent (CFL) technology typically used in these settings, LEDs decrease in brightness over time. L70 is a calculation of when the output of a light source dips down to 70% of the initial lumens – after which point, the bulb or luminaire is considered no longer useful, and should be replaced.

L70 values for LED lighting are determined by testing samples at different temperatures for thousands of hours, then multiplying the damage exponentially. LED drivers/power supplies generate heat, and if not managed properly, they can dramatically accelerate lumen depreciation. This is why we place such heavy emphasis on the heat sinks and other thermal management systems on all products designed and assembled by LED Waves.

Lumen-Maintenance-Curves.allThe above chart maps the typical trajectory of lumen depreciation across many professional-grade lighting technologies compared to LEDs. L70 at 50,000 hours is the baseline for everything we carry; however, most of our newer industrial products such as LED high bays are rated to last two to ten times longer.

(Note that halogen/incandescent bulbs fail suddenly, or catastrophically, rather than slowly fade in brightness. This is because their light comes from filaments, which simply burn out, rather than from the gas-based chemical reactions of the ballasted lighting technologies, or from the electricity conducted through solid state Light Emitting Diodes.)

The slow lumen depreciation of LEDs is significant for several reasons. The most obvious one is that it supplements energy savings towards a return on investment. By saving on bulb replacements and on maintenance workers’ time – which is an especially important consideration for the workplace – LED lights pay for themselves. And the advertised lifespan of, say, a fluorescent T8 tube, is not as relevant if one third of it is spent transmitting dim, flickering light.

Photo by Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

Secondly, lumen maintenance is worth noting when comparing the brightness of different lighting technologies. People are slowly disabusing themselves of the idea that Wattage measures brightness, and instead they are looking at lumen counts.

However, the advertised lumen output of a MH, HPS or fluorescent bulb is not an accurate indication of how bright it will be, since that value declines so drastically and so quickly. Occasionally, fluorescent lighting suppliers advertise a mean (average) value in addition to initial lumen output. When this is not available, one should determine their own value based on their needs and capabilities. For example, if you replace bulbs at the L70 mark, the lumen output at 85% initial lumens (or the halfway point between 100% and 70%) may provide a more accurate picture of how bright a fluorescent, MH or HPS light source will be.

Thus, exact matches in lumen output or advertised lifespans are somewhat irrelevant when comparing other light bulbs with LEDs.
Navigating this information may be a little confusing at first, but satisfyingly powerful with just a little bit of research. And our experts here at LED Waves are happy to help you make the proper lighting evaluations and choices along the way.

LEDs on Fleek? Shifting Trends in Lighting

Recently, Osram released the Socket Survey: an annual snapshot of consumer attitudes and buying patterns related to lighting. LED technology has been growing in popularity due to falling prices, increased awareness, and improvements in quality. Still, we were surprised to see such a significant jump this year, with more Americans recognizing LED bulbs (89%) over any other technology, and the majority of them (65%) reported having purchased at least one example of LED lighting for the home.

2015 Socket Survey findings
Click the image to download the report.

Since our specialty lies more in professional-grade, commercial and industrial LED lighting, you might think these findings are irrelevant to us. However, it is interesting and gratifying for us to read this report because these figures indirectly represent the fruits of our labor here at LED Waves.

Taking on these larger LED lighting projects has allowed us to effect the most change – and not just in mass savings on energy and replacements. By developing products on more ambitious scales, we are uncovering ways to improve the performance of LED lights – and playing a role in the overall advancement of LED technology. As with any technology, these advancements tend to start out in the commercial and industrial sectors before they make their way into consumer products. In this way, LED Waves helped shape the bulbs that so many American consumers now enjoy.

Look at these hipsters. Image via Wikipedia Commons.
Look at these hipsters. Image via Wikipedia Commons.

We can see this correlation when we compare Osram’s demographic data with our own from the past calendar year. 69% of this year’s Socket Survey respondents aged 18-34 had purchased LED light bulbs – indicating that millenials are largely on board with the LED revolution. The remaining 31% may include a certain brand of mustachioed hipsters clinging to their Edison-style exposed filament bulbs while riding their old timey bikes with the big front wheels.

Millenials represent a relatively small portion of our online customers (13% ages 18-34), which makes sense given the types of products we sell. Very few youngsters are in charge of buying decisions at facilities that need, for example, LED high bays.

However, while millenials may not buy a lot from us, the 18-34 age group does represent the largest segment of site visitorship at, at over 28% – presumably browsing the informational articles and guides about LED lighting in our Help section. (And we’re not the “Buy something or get out,” type; we’re glad that people are using us as a resource if it brings them closer to adopting green technology elsewhere in their lives.)

Statistics via Google Analytics

This jibes with the increased awareness about the benefits of LED lighting, which is manifested in the changing priorities of Americans shopping for light bulbs. LED technology reigns when it comes to what Americans consider the most important attributes, including lumen output at 97%, lifespan at 94%, and energy usage at 91%. Produced color is at an all-time high at 85%, which is significant as it is a factor that few lighting consumers could even control before the advent of LEDs.

There are also some weird outlier statistics and interesting social commentary to be made from the Socket Survey report, like 54% of women and 72% of men claiming to be the sole decision maker of lighting purchases in their homes (how…?) so it’s worth a download. And for other lighting-related information, you can always contact LED Waves – regardless of your demographic.

Who’s Who in the Owl Outdoor LED Wall Pack: Heat Edition

Today’s “Who’s Who” is the hottest one yet, as we focus on the two-tiered thermal management system for the Owl Outdoor LED Wall Pack series. From the 10W Owl baby (the Owlet?) to the industrial 200W version, we took special considerations to minimize heat inside each unit. That’s because high operating temperatures creates more stress on the components, which can lead to premature failure in any electronic device.

WhosWho Owl Pack thermal management

On the back of the Owl Pack you may notice a heat sink similar in form and function to the ones on our other American-made LED lights, like the Andromeda high bay or our PAR light bulbs. These heat sinks are composed of many rows of aluminum blades, each finely machined to maximize surface area. It is this increased surface upon which hot air dissipates outwards & away from the electronics inside. (See Fig. 1, below.)

Hidden underneath this is an added defense, exclusive to the Owl Pack Outdoor series: a pair of copper pipes that connect the heat sink to the internal electronics. The liquid core of these highly conductive pipes offers superior thermal transfer rates over any other metal. (Fig. 2, below.)

Owl Outdoor LED Wall Pack Thermal Managment System

Though these raw materials are expensive, the lightweight, malleable qualities of aluminum and copper significantly lower costs for our production team. As a manufacturer AND a supplier, LED Waves is then able to transfer these savings directly onto you!

Thanksgiving 2013 LED Lighting Sale Starts TODAY

LED Waves is celebrating Thanksgiving with a sitewide sale – so you don’t have to sleep outside our lighting showroom or maul your fellow holiday shoppers to participate. And our offer starts today, giving you a head start on all your Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday savings.

Now through December 2nd 2013; coupon code TURKEY gets you 15% off everything at And we mean everything:

Shop our LED sale online today! After all, you’ve got a lot of eating to do later this week.


New Chips & Light Options Coming to Our LED T8 Tube

LED Waves is pleased to unveil some exciting changes coming to our exclusive 4 foot LED T8 tube light. Coming soon: The Genesys 3.0 with Philips LUXEON M Series LEDs.

These chips come to us from the same makers of the LEDs in the Times Square New Years Eve ball. The LED Waves R&D team choose the M Series 3535L for its high lumens-per-Watt and CRI.

It’s also subject to the brand’s “Freedom from Binning” program to provide noticeably consistent flux and Kelvin color temperature from every LED, regardless of bin number.

We’re still using 96 diodes per 48″ LED tube to deliver bright, smooth, unpixellated light. That’s what sets the Genesys, along with our other American-made exclusive products, apart from the competition: It’s LED lighting that is as easy on the eyes as it is on your bank account.

Genesys LED T8 Tube with Philips Luxeon LEDs

The Genesys 3.0 is available with one of two LED drivers of your choice, which is used in place of your fluorescent ballast and comes bundled to the tube for easy installation. Choose your power level depending on your lighting and electricity needs:

  • 20 Watt (for more energy savings over fluorescent lighting)
  • 38 Watt (for higher brightness – over 2,500 useful lumens)

Our new 3535L-studded LED T8 tubes will be ready to ship next month. In the meantime, stay posted for more updates – including a pre-order discount – on the Genesys 3.0!

Mac ‘n Cheese, LEDs ‘n Warranties

Why do we use an extrusion process to make the heat sink for our LED high bay? The same reason that macaroni & cheese is delicious.

A closer look at the heat sink on the Andromeda LED High Bay.

Our in-house LED OEM team designs the heat sink for each of our products to have the most surface area. From the spindly fins of 3D printed aluminum on our American-made halogen replacement bulbs, to the extruded body on the Andromeda LED high bay, it’s easy to see that maximizing surface area also maximizes space for air flow. As all electronics emit some heat, and heat is the leading cause of premature failure, it’s essential that LED lamps optimize channels through which hot air can move away from the light source.

The unique design of the heat sink on our LED high bay can only be rendered by extrusion. That means it’s produced by pushing high quality aluminum through a die to give it a desired cross section – sort of like a high detailed 3D stencil. This is how macaroni (and any other novelty pasta shapes) is made. The result? More exposed pasta – on the outside AND inside of the noodle – primed for cheese coating!

Other manufacturers of LED lights use mold-casting to make their heat sinks. This is similar to how ravioli and other flat pastas are made: the details on the material produced is limited to those of the mold. This process is simpler and less expensive, but yields fewer surface area-creating features.  And, for cheese saucing as well as heat dissipating purposes, this is a bad thing. That’s less vehicle for Bechamel/hot air flow!

Left: Extruded macaroni - perfect for slathering in cheese sauce. Right: Stamped croxetti - lovely plain or tossed with herbs and butter, not a good vehicle for cheese.

Instead of cheesy goodness, however, this added surface area gives our products better thermal management. With reduced heat stress on the electronics inside, our LED lights are more certain to last. Like other LED lighting manufacturers, we will repair or replace a product of ours that fails within its 5 year warranty. Unlike the others, however, our production team takes all possible measures to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Customize Your Own Andromeda XM-L LED High Bay

Two months ago we unveiled the prototype of our USA-made Andromeda XM-L LED High Bay at LIGHTFAIR International, and the feedback we received was great! Today we’re on the road to The LED Show in Las Vegas & we’re excited to show off the new developments to this game changing product at Booth #301.

A quick overview: Built with Cree XM-L chips (specially designed for efficiency in the face of high drive currents) and cradled in a 100% machined aluminum heat sink (the only high bay body of its type) the Andromeda is a 155 Watt replacement for the 400 Watt metal halide or high pressure sodium high bay lamps typical for facilities with high ceilings.

The Andromeda emits 20,000 lumens – all useful, none wasted. All its light is directed down towards the target area without the use of bulky reflectors. That makes this technology even more efficient for this application: The Andromeda LED High Bay puts light where people are.

To further reduce energy usage, facility managers can take advantage of the dimmable Thomas driver inside. We’ve also added an occupancy sensor to maximize energy savings. Since LEDs are solid state, with no striking or startup time, their performance and lifespan are not affected by these on-off cycles.

Since buildings vary so much in dimensions and functions, we designed the Andromeda to be customizable to endless specifications. (As a small OEM and not a huge corporation, we’re not stuck with one branded design.) Call us at 1(800)986-0169 for quantity pricing and help creating the perfect, money-saving lighting solution for your facility.

Cottingham Church Joins the LED Revolution

An LED bulb shows England churchgoers the light.

The congregation at St Mary’s Church in Cottingham, England, is having trouble following the services, but not due to the subject matter. One by one, the roof lights in the church are going out.

St Mary’s Rector Father Paul Smith explains that local code now requires workers to go up on scaffolding to replace a single bulb. That’s £500 of maintenance each time! With one out of 30 bulbs going out every week, it’s understandable that the church is letting the dark spots build up.

The church is turning to LED lights because they don’t burn out as quickly as incandescent bulbs. An added bonus is the energy savings: An equivalent LED replacement will use about a tenth of the wattage!

LED Waves recommends the 7.5″ LED Ceiling Light Bulb, an intensely bright high bay built with CREE XLamp® XPG chips. And with an average lifespan of 30,000 hours, this product will pay for itself in reduced maintenance costs within the year. Glorious!