Thursday March 14th, 2013 The Viewpoint
For most of us, a light is just a simple light source. We buy a light, turn it on and expect it to serve us until it fails and is then thrown away and replaced. And the cycle repeats itself. We see a light as a pure expense item which must be functional and meets the required aesthetic requirements.
However, with the collective conscious dictating that we now strive to save precious energy resources, reduce carbon footprints and eliminate material wastage, the availability of new lighting technologies has opened up new possibilities and ideas.
We can now cut our energy consumption by up to 90% in some cases while improving the quality of lighting at the same time. With LED, induction and plasma technologies, we now have lights which do not dim as quickly as before, do not cause eye fatigue through flickering and render colours very accurately. Why then would one not want to switch out our old lights and invest in new technologies?
When asked such a question, the knee jerk response is often that the price of new technologies is high, it is too expensive, there is no budget – etc etc. All it takes is a simple shift in mindset to realise that there is a lot more to new lighting technologies than just the technology, the lumens output, the degradation and the lifespan. In totality, there is a strong business case to consider too.
The lighting technologies available today actually generate a return for the asset owner. The lights can pay for themselves. This rate of return far outstrips the benefits of leaving surplus cash on fixed deposit or other similar low yielding investments. In fact, if one were to now look at lighting as an investment and not just as a light, the decision to use new technologies makes lots of sense.
Just imagine, you get to reduce your energy costs by at least 50%, reduce the heat load on your air conditioning system and eliminate the never-ending and rising costs of maintenance (comprising labour, time, inconvenience and material costs). These savings are significant.
New technologies can pay for themselves within a matter of months and with their long life spans reaching 100,000 hours, the remaining years of use after the initial pay-back period represent pure savings. This is not an accounting trick but a real reduction in cash outflows.
Put in perspective, if the return on investment of a new LED, Induction or Plasma lamp is, for example, 2 years, this represents an annual return of 50% of the capital invested. Such a spectacular yield is a much better than most investments. So, when is a light not just a light? I would suggest that when it is also an investment which generates superb returns.