Category Archives: LED High Bay

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.

An LED Merger Mystery

Some of the biggest, brightest names in the LED business may be merging – and while it’s unclear how this would affect the global lighting industry, we can already tell its impact on LED Waves‘ OEM operations will be huge.

Philips announced their intention to spin off Lumileds – which covers LUXEON, the line of LEDs built into the Illinois PAR30, the New York 3.0 PAR38, the Genesys 3.0 T8 tube, and a growing number of more industrial LED lights we are developing – into a separate company, after making an impressive $1.91 billion in sales last year.

Will Philips Lumileds enjoy more success than this other spinoff?

This news coincided with Cree announcing their intention to grow through strategic acquisition. The makers of the LEDs in our Midtown recessed lights, Andromeda high bay, the California MR16 and other bulbs made in the USA by LED Waves; Cree is a direct competitor to Philips Lumileds, having shown comparable success with $1.4 billion in 2013 sales.

Our Cree LED PAR30 alongside our Philips LED PAR30.
Our Cree LED PAR30 and our Philips LED PAR30.

What this merge would mean for affiliated LED lighting OEMs such as ourselves in terms of administrative operations remains unseen. However, with strengths on both sides – Cree is known for envelope-pushing innovation and efficiency (their bulb was the first to break the 100lm/W efficacy barrier), while Philips stands out for providing the quality and consistency large scale lighting specifiers need (Lumiled’s “Freedom from Binning” policy was a game changer for us all) – we foresee only great things to happen with LED technology itself.

via Trefis



Our COO Ayn recently unearthed some photos from her childhood – a large part of which was spent in the offices of Light Waves Concept (the mostly-halogen predecessor to our current LED track lighting and cable kits). We couldn’t pass up this opportunity to share a couple of these throwback moments in New York City lighting history.

Here we see lighting specialist Charlie with specialist-in-training Ayn.

TBT.Ayn.Andromeda LED High Bay
“hey charlie? don’t you think these lights could one day be, i dunno, longer lasting and energy efficient?”

The LED Waves showroom looks very different now, as we’ve hopped over to Brooklyn and shifted focus away from the decorative lighting market. But we like that, despite being decorative, that red downlight fixture from the ’80s bears a resemblance to a modern, industrial downlight: the Andromeda LED high bay.

Another similarity can be found in this action shot of Teddy (RIP old boy) strolling through the Light Waves Concept office, alongside Willow, who now resides over LED Waves.

Willow, right, models an LED T8 tube, while Teddy models his boss self.

While our love of dogs remains the same, our passion for lighting has grown as LED technology emerged and continues to change the game, improving our quality of life – and quality of light – beyond baby Ayn’s wildest dreams.

An Ounce of Prevention for Facility Managers

FM inspectionsRecently, LinkedIn’s Facility Managers Group swapped workplace horror stories in an illuminating  discussion titled, “Stories of Neglect: What have you seen as a Facilities Manager that has been a result of poor maintenance or complete lack(there)of?” We noticed that a recurring theme in the responses was mass shortages of lighting due to failing fixtures that went unreported. These shortages can pose a huge danger for litigation and human life in general.

In these cases, those responsible for facility-wide inspections were often contractors who were unfamiliar with lighting terminology and standards – cleaning professionals, for example. Since many of the LED lights supplied by LED Waves are designed specifically for commercial and industrial buildings, this was of particular interest to us. How can lighting be effectively monitored by untrained personnel?

With filament-based lighting technology – halogen/incandescent – failure is pretty straightforward; the bulb suddenly burns out after a few thousand hours and stays dark until a maintenance worker gets around to replacing it. With gas-based, ballasted lighting technologies, however, failure can be trickier to diagnose.

LED vs MH vs HPS L70By industry standards, a luminaire is considered failed once it produces less than 70% of its initial output (thus the “L70” references you may see on lighting literature). The ballasted lighting technologies most commonly seen in large buildings – fluorescent, HID, sodium, metal halide – decrease in lumen output exponentially shortly after being installed. (Fluorescent lights are especially bad, strobing and changing color noticeably as they near the end of their useful lives.)

Like the above lighting technologies, LED lights decrease their lumen output over time. Unlike the above, however, they don’t hit the dreaded 70% mark for 30,000 to 50,000 hours of operation – so inspections by qualified personnel, using proper equipment, can be scheduled fewer and farther between.

As LED lighting and controls get smarter, these inspections may fall out of human jurisdiction altogether in our lifetime – freeing up time for facility managers to prevent other stories of neglect.

Independence Weekend Sale on American-Made LED Lights

We’re celebrating the 4th of July with a patriotic sale on our best LED lights! Today through Sunday, July 7th 2013; take 15% off our entire line of LED lights made in the USA. These exclusive products are all designed and assembled in-house in Brooklyn, using the most dependable components in the industry (like Cree LEDs) to ensure the highest quality. That’s why we back each one up with a 5 year warranty!

Enter coupon code 15JULY at checkout for your 15% discount on the following selections:

…Or simply look for these logos accompanying every American-made LED lighting product at

For special orders or answers to your technical questions, call us at 1(800)986-0169.
LED Waves be out of the office on Thursday, July 4th in observance of the holiday. We’ll return the following Friday, July 5th, before taking off for the rest of the weekend.

We wish you all a happy and safe Independence Day!

LED Waves in Boston for NEBFM13

LED Waves is pleased to be back in Boston for the Northeast Buildings & Facilities Management Show & Conference. Today and tomorrow, we’ll be presenting exciting new LED lights for facility managers and other building professionals at Booth 611, Hall B-2 of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

In addition to the latest developments in solid state lighting – including a powerful outdoor LED wall pack that isn’t on our site yet (pending LM-79 reports) – we’re also unveiling a new member of the LED Waves team. Meet Taimur!

Taimur‘s name is pronounced, “timer.” We think he’s pretty neat so far. We hope Boston is showing him the time(r) of his life!

LIGHTFAIR 2013 Recap

LED Waves has a lot of exciting news to share, which we’ll spread out in the next few posts. We still have to settle in and catch up after LIGHTFAIR International, which took place in Philadelphia last week.

The LFI show floor was bigger than ever this year, with visitors and manufacturers alike buzzing about the industry’s “lumens race”. We stood out with these new LED lights, each the brightest in their class:

The California™ LED MR16 No other MR16 at the show offered this kind of efficacy.
The Rio Grande™ Waterproof LED Strip Superior indoor or outdoor visibility at over 300 lumens per foot! On sale this week at 15% off.
The Andromeda™ LED High Bay We had our brightest version (5700K 40 LEDs) on display. Visitors were encouraged to not look directly into the light.

California-based LED makers Bridgelux showed some of their latest developments, including the soon to be released Vero. A little over 4,000 hours of test data in, this chip-on-board diode promises high lumen output and reliability at high drive currents.

LED Waves was pleased to offer a sneak preview of the highly anticipated Vero inside a fixture – the Owl™ Outdoor LED Wall Pack. This series of floods (10W, 20W, 30W, 50W, 70W, 100W and 200W versions) will be available online soon – once the performance specs at 6,000 hours are confirmed.

If you didn’t get to attend LIGHTFAIR this year, make sure to come back to our site for more on the Vero and other exciting developments in LED technology!

The LED Show 2012 Recap + High(LED)Lights

At last week’s LED Show in Vegas, representatives from the top three worldwide leaders in quality chip manufacturing (all of which, incidentally, have some involvement with LED Waves) opened the conference with a sort of “State of the Solid State Lighting Industry” address.

Jason Posselt, VP of channel marketing for Bridgelux, cited high costs as the main roadblock to LED lighting ubiquity. His company is aiming towards the retail sector, improving light quality and color rendering for high end fixtures while also developing gallium on silicon (GaN-on-Si) substrate technology to reduce costs. Traditional LED substrates of sapphire were more expensive to produce, which is why Posselt declared that all LED manufacturers were working with silicon.

Abdul Aslami, regional sales manager for Nichia, shot this down, asserting their loyalty to gallium on sapphire technology. The company’s focus is on high quality phosphors (which adjust the color temperature of an LED from a chilly blue to virtually anything) and developing a 1-step binning process to promote consistency and quality for LED lamp manufacturers.

Cree makes no secret of the fact that they are indeed pursuing silicon substrates. The name of their latest line, SC³, is a reference to the silicon carbide technology they’ve been developing to push down prices of LED lights for manufacturers and, in effect, end users. LED Waves supports this goal of universal adoption of energy efficient LED lights, which is why our engineers sourced various SC³ chips for our exclusive line LED lights.

LED Specialist Tim uses his body to bravely shield visitors' eyes from our bright selection.

Examples of Cree’s SC³ technology could be seen at the LED Show, just steps away from the conference, at LED Waves booth #301. Highlights included:

These products are all designed and built in LED Waves’ Brooklyn headquarters. This further cuts production costs while also increasing quality control – which speaks to a theme introduced at the conference by Richie Richards, manager of applications engineering at Cree. Richards emphasized a comprehensive system evaluation for LED lamp manufacturers – optimizing performance tests at all levels of production, not just ending with the chip.

LED Waves had a great time at the show, and we thank these chip manufacturers for their insights and for helping us deliver these quality LED lights.

*Eligible for this month’s Free Shipping promotion.
^Currently on sale, 10% off.

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.