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LED vs.

INDUCTION
FULL CUT-OFF STREETLIGHTS, ETC.
Stan Walerczyk, CLEP, LC
Principal of Lighting Wizards
July 20, 2010 version

FOLLOW THE MONEY


Before I read an article or a white paper, I want to know who the writer is and who paid for it,
because that helps understand the credibility and any slant of the document. As an independent
lighting consultant, I wanted to write this white paper and sell it through my website, like my other
white papers. But Lumileds, a division of Philips, offered to sponsor a very significant portion of my
personal investment, so this white paper is free by request and on my website. Since Philips and
its divisions provide HPS lamps, starters & ballasts, induction lamps & generators, and LED chips
& fixtures, I did not feel pressure to promote any product family. Please be aware, that my major
message would be the same if I wrote this totally on my own or if a different company sponsored it.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Based on the research for this white paper, the latest generation of high performance LED street
and roadway lights, which the main type is commonly called cobraheads, is quickly becoming a
standard in street lighting and considered significantly better than the latest generation of induction
streetlights.
The recent evolution of LED street lights, including improvements in lumens, optical control, life,
wattage, and pricing is more rapid and pronounced than anything I have seen in 21 years of
experience.
Following shows the evolution of lumens per watt (LPW) of commercially available LED chips and
fixtures, with fixture performance including steady state temperature, driver losses and fixture
efficiency.
Not that long ago, LED chips at about 70 LPW and good fixtures at about 40 LPW
2009, LED chips at about 100 LPW and good fixtures at about 70 LPW
2010, LED chips at about 120 130 LPW and good fixtures at about 100 LPW
Right around the corner, LED chips at 150+ LPW and good fixtures at 120+ LPW
Although induction, which is very mature technology and probably soon to be obsolete, for most
applications, competed quite well against 70 LPW LED chips and 40 LPW LED fixtures, it does not
compete against anything better, especially when optical control is included.
Real useable life for induction lamps and generators is more like 60,000 70,000 hours, not the
100,000 hours listed in lamp catalogs. 50,000 70,000 hours is also a good rated life for LED
systems. 50,000 hour rated life divided by 4200 hours per year is 12 years. LEDs and other solid
state lighting will improve so much within 10 years, that it should be very cost effective to replace
or retrofit existing LED fixtures by then.
Specifiers are encouraged to properly examine the research presented and make their own
decisions for their specific applications and needs.
This white paper, which currently includes an executive summary and discussion, may be
expanded to include substantial detailed information. If anybody has substantiated additional or
conflicting information, please send it. With the on-going research, keep checking for updates of
this white paper.

DISCUSSION
Proponents of LED and induction are competing to replace millions of existing high pressure
sodium (HPS), metal halide (MH), mercury vapor (MV) and low pressure sodium (LPS) street
lighting fixtures in North America and beyond. Although this report focuses on street lighting, much
also applies to other exterior area and garage lighting.
Final decision makers, who are often specifiers, usually need to balance expectations of a variety
of stakeholders (local government, residents, environmental groups, etc.) and these expectations
can conflict. Following are just a few of the issues that need to be evaluated and prioritized in order
to make optimal decisions.
Lumens out of the fixture
Optical control (where those lumens are directed)
Wattage
Standardized reports from certified independent test labs
Kelvin, which ranges from warm white 3000K to bluish white 6000K
Color Rendering Index (CRI)
Control capabilities
Environmental concerns regarding materials, manufacturing, transportation & disposal
Fixture and installation costs
Stature of light source and fixture manufacturers
Where are products made and do they qualify for ARRA (a.k.a. stimulus) funds?
Rated useable life of components, lighting system and fixture
Parts and labor maintenance costs
Warranty (What is the credibility of 10 year warranty from a 2 year old company?)
Retrofitting or replacing down the road

OLD TECHNOLOGIES
HPS
HPS is by far the most common, due to good lumens per watt, 24,000+ hour rated lamp life, low
lamp cost, long ballast life and low magnetic ballast cost. But there are some significant downsides
of HPS, which include 20 CRI and yellow color. For lower wattage clear lamps, which have a
relatively small arc tube, optical control can be fairly decent. Optical control is not nearly as good
with higher wattage and/or coated lamps.
MH
There are probe and pulse start MH lamps and ballasts. Most MH in street lights is probably probe
start, which is not as good as pulse start. MH provides white light, typically 65 CRI. But it has lower
lumens per watt and shorter lamp life than HPS. So MH is not used for streetlights very much. For
lower wattage clear lamps, which have a relatively small arc tube, optical control can be fairly
decent. Optical control is not nearly as good with higher wattage and/or coated lamps.
MV
Mercury vapor was the first high intensity discharge (HID) lamp, and although it has 24,000+ hour
life, lumens per watt is only half of HPS & MH and CRI is only about 45 with coated lamps, which
are by far the most common. Coated lamps do not allow for very good optical control.
LPS
LPS is usually only used near observatories, because they can filter out the narrow band of yellow
light. Lumens per watt and lumen maintenance are quite good. But CRI is zero, lamp life is only
18,000 hours, and the long lamps do not allow for good optical control.

NEWER TECHNOLOGIES
Induction
Philips introduced induction in 1990, and Sylvania introduced their version in 1997. Although there
are several other manufacturers, they are not recommended for reasons listed later. Induction
provides long life, white light and good CRI. Lumens per watt is not that good, and since it is a
mature technology, very little improvement is forecast. Although the life of the lamp and generator
(induction version of a ballast) is typically considered as 100,000 hours, useable rated life is really
more like 60,000 70,000 hours. Since the lamps are coated and so large, they are nothing close
to being a point source, so there is very little optical control.
LED
Nick Holonyak at GE created the first Light emitting diode in 1962, with a whopping 0.001 lumens.
Low wattage and low lumen colored indicator LEDs have been widespread for decades. But white
light LEDs for general illumination has only been cost effective for a few years and is getting better
all of the time. Lumens per watt may increase 20% each year for at least the next five years, and
pricing may come down 20% per year. The three main benefits of LEDs for street lighting are low
wattage, great optical control and long life. LEDs can be aimed to provide light only where it is
needed. Being conservative, an LED fixture, without having to replace LEDs or drivers, should last
50,000+ hours. When doing life cycle cost comparisons, 50,000 70,000 hours can be used for
both induction and LED.

HPS, INDUCTION AND LED COMPARISONS


Since 100W may be the most common for HPS, that is used as the base case.
The following table compares HPS, induction and 100 LPW LED chips in 70 LPW LED fixtures.
Newer LED chips would improve LED fixture performance by at least 30%. What may be the most
important in this table is comparing HPS and induction in the two far right columns. Since induction
has less optical control HPS, induction fixtures should provide at least the same amount of light out
of the fixture at end of life as HPS fixtures. This table shows that 150 or 165W induction lamps
would be required, which would increase wattage. Maybe a 100W induction lamp could be used
with a very high performance cobrahead, but that would not save very much wattage.
Although 6000K LEDs have higher lumens and higher lumens per watt than 4000K LEDs, to be
conservative, only 4000K LEDs are listed. Some of the newer 4000K LED chips designed for
exterior use have about the same lumens and lumens per watt as 6000K chips, but with a lower
CRI, which is usually okay for most exterior applications. Some people think that 6000K is too
bluish in some applications.
End of life (EOL) fixture lumens for LED fixtures is not that important, because high performance
LED fixtures can provide sufficient light between fixtures and to designated perimeters without
providing a blob of excess light directly underneath, like HPS and induction. The blob of light is
wasted light and wasted wattage.

HPS, INDUCTION & LED COBRAHEAD GENERAL COMPARISON TABLE


lighting
source

qualifier

lamp
wattage

HPS

clear
lamp

100

Sylvania

70

Philips

85

Sylvania

100

Sylvania

150

Induction

LED
(100 LPW
chips)

Philips

165

4000K
350ma
4000K
530ma

40 1W
LEDs
40 1W
LEDs

rated life
hours

initial
lumens

24,000 9,500
40,000
60,000 6,500
100,000
60,000 6,000
100,000
60,000 8,000
100,000
60,000 12,000
100,000
60,000 12,000
100,000
50,000+
NA
100,000
50,000+
NA
100,000

EOL lumen
maintenance

EOL
lumens
(approx.)

system
initial
wattage lumens per
(277V)
watt

EOL
lumens
per watt

fixture
efficiency
(approx.)

initial fixture
lumens per
watt

initial
fixture
lumens

75%

7125

130

64%

4160

77

70%

4200

64%
64%

EOL fixture
EOL fixture
lumens
lumens
per watt

73

55

75%

55

7125

41

5344

84

54

70%

59

4550

38

2912

85

71

49

70%

49

4200

35

2940

5120

103

78

50

70%

54

5600

35

3584

7680

156

77

49

70%

54

8400

34

5376

70%

8400

165

73

51

70%

51

8400

36

5880

70%

NA

46

NA

NA

NA

64

2932

45

2052

70%

NA

68

NA

NA

NA

58

3972

41

2780

notes
EOL is end of life. NA is not applicable. Real rated life is discussed in related white paper. HPS and LED info is generic. Induction fixture info is also generic.
100W generator is used with Sylvania 70W induction lamp. For induction EOL numbers are based on 100,000 hours, and EOL numbers would be better at 60,000.
Listed induction fixture efficiency is better than most IES files, because includes when lamps are properly prepared and some recent fixture improvements.
LED fixtures are tested as complete units, not based on components.
4000K includes 4000 - 4500 Kelvin. Although 6000K LEDs would have more lumens, 4000K may be more acceptable. 350ma would provide longer life than 530ma.
Table does NOT include where the available lumens out of the fixture are directed. LED fixtures direct light where necessary, so fewer lumens are required.
Since Induction lamps have same or worse optical control as HPS, their EOL fixture lumens should match HPS EOL fixture lumens.
350ma 4000K LED fixture data should be sufficient for minimum footcandles between fixtures and around designated perimeters, but not for average footcandles.
Stan Walerczyk of Lighting Wizards www.lightingwizards.com 3/1/10 version

Footcandles, especially minimum or between fixtures, per watt is really more important than
lumens per watt. Although following table is based on 100 LPW LED chips and 70 LPW LED
fixtures, performance would be at 30% better with newer and better LEDs.

FOOTCANDLES PER WATT


fixture mounting height
roadway width
pole spacing
illuminance - average
illuminance - maximum
illuminance - minimum
uniformity - avg/min
system power
100 x avg fc/watt
100 x min fc/watt

units
feet
feet
feet
maintained fc
maintained fc
maintained fc
watts

85W induction
28
40
120
0.64
1.6
0.1
6.4
85
7.5
1.2

100W HPS
28
40
120
0.78
2.3
0.3
2.6
130
6.0
2.3

60 LEDs
28
40
120
0.69
1.3
0.4
1.7
71
9.7
5.6

based on the work by Chris Nye at Leotek, www.leotek.com

Following are late 2009 isolux diagrams from a utility for a small city comparing HPS, induction
and LED in typical Type II street lighting distribution patterns. Each of these diagrams should be
considered generic. Specific fixtures could be better or worse, but general distribution patterns and
footcandles would apply for each technology. HPS and induction fixtures have flat bottom lenses.
For these fixtures drop or sag lenses can increase footcandles between fixtures and to designated
perimeters, but since they are not good for dark sky or light trespass, they are not recommended.

100W HPS (130 system watts)

85W Induction

70W LED

The above diagrams show that the 70W LED cobrahead has about the same distribution and
footcandles on the road as the 100W HPS cobrahead, but the 85W induction cobrahead does not
provide enough light between fixtures.
LED cobraheads that were tested before fall of 2009 may not have compared so well to HPS or
induction. Since LED chips, fixtures and pricing are improving so rapidly, it is recommended to
evaluate new LED fixtures every six months or at least once a year. For example, Los Angeles has
decided to replace 140,000 HPS cobraheads over five years. Each year the city plans to test new
fixtures from various manufacturers, so the city does not get stuck with old technology.
Before fall of 2009 cobraheads with Philips or Sylvania induction lamps and generators cost
considerably less than LED cobraheads. But now the pricing can be very similar. For example,
LED cobraheads to replace 100 150W HPS, may only cost $300 each, based on an order of at
least 1000. LED fixture pricing should continue to come down.
In June of 2010 the DOE released a gateway study comparing HPS, LED and induction street
lighting in Palo Alto, CA. This and other gateway studies are available at
http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/ssl/gatewaydemos_results.html.
There is a push to reduce light levels in the middle of the night when there is less vehicle and
people traffic. This is quite easy to do with LEDs. If and when dimming or bi-level drivers become
commonly available, induction could also do this.
Induction is less glary than LED, but that is usually not a major issue.
Although there needs to more details and more issues covered, hopefully sufficient information has
been provided for you to make good general decisions regarding HPS, induction and LED street
lights for typical Type II street lighting requirements.
This document will be expanded to detail issues and will delve into additional issues. Here are
some samples:
40,000 hour rated dual arc tube or non-cycling HPS lamps
Non-street lighting applications where induction may be better than LED
Evolution from average footcandles to minimum footcandles
Light trespass and dark skies
Electronically ballasted pulse start MH
Light emitting plasma
Real rated lives of complete induction and LED fixtures
Other brand Induction compared to Philips and Sylvania
Environmental impacts of various technologies
International Dark-Sky Associations concerns about Kelvin
o Bottom line is that its credibility on this issue is severely questioned

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Stan Walerczyk is principal of Lighting Wizards, an independent energy efficiency consulting firm.
His 21 years lighting experience includes distribution, maintenance, retrofit contracting, 3rd party
review, consulting, design and research. He has been assisting on DOE research on
spectrally/scotopically enhanced lighting. He is a DOE CALiPER Guidance Committee member on
LED products. He has written over 30 published papers and presented over 600 seminars. His
most popular seminars in 2009 and 2010 have been on exterior lighting. He is a Certified
Lighting Energy Professional by the Association of Energy Engineers and is Lighting Certified by
the National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professions. He was a member of the
Illuminating Engineering Society from 1995 to 2008 and is currently on its Visual Effects of Lamp
Spectral Distribution Committee. Complete bio, seminar schedule, testimonials and other
information are available at www.lightingwizards.com.

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