Experts opinion for Future of LED Lighting: Cost Vs Life

The conventional lighting systems utilize halogen lights, incandescent lights, compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), general lighting service (GLS), high pressure mercury vapor lamps (HPMV), low pressure sodium vapor lamps (LPSV), metal halide lamps, and so on. There are different forms of lighting systems such as highway lighting, indoor lighting, recessed lighting, track lighting, street lighting, outdoor lighting, flood lighting, automotive lighting, and so on.

Future of led lighting Featured Image
Future of led lighting Featured Image

The conventional lights can be replaced with advanced energy efficient lighting systems by using energy saving LED lights. To understand the comparison of cost vs life of LED lighting and conventional lighting systems, primarily we must know the working of the LED and conventional lights technically.

Consider the working of compact fluorescent lights (CFL bulbs). These are made up of a long glass tube internally coated with phosphorous powder and consists of tungsten electrodes on each end where electricity is supplied into them. There will be a small amount of magnesium and an inert gas (like argon and mercury, which do not normally react to heat or electricity). If electricity is supplied at each end, then the magnesium inside the tube gets excited and releases energy in the form of invisible ultraviolet light. If this ultraviolet light hits the phosphorous coating, then the phosphorous creates a visible light.

LEDs are generally made up of a solid state semiconductor material, which makes the LED more durable than conventional gas or filament based lights. If electricity passes through this semiconductor material, then the electrons starts whizzing and thus LED emits visible light. LEDs works on the principle of electroluminescence in a semiconductor material.

Here, we gathered a few interesting points about the comparison between cost and life of LED lighting systems vs conventional lighting systems from electrical and electronics experts.

Ch. Sampath Kumar
Technical Content Writer
M. Tech in VLSI System Design

In the future, LED makes life more beneficial and masampathintainable. LED technology will provide great assistance for the user  because of their advantages. LEDs can be used in a multipurpose whether it be for home sectors, street lighting, automotive. They offer many advantages over conventional technologies like long operating life, superb color saturation, greater efficiency and complexity. If we use a single  LED for a few hours in a day, that consume 12watts  and that will cost you 1$ per year. But CFl bulbs consume about 14watts and that will cost you about 1.17$ per year. So, these lights represent the most important development in Lighting over other lighting technologies.

Viswanath Prathap
M. Tech in Electrical Power Engineering
Technical Content WriterViswanath

Life Span Of Various Lighting Systems

The approximate life span of various lighting systems is as follows

  • Incandescent lightings: 800 to 1500 hours
  • Halogen lamps: 2000 hours
  • General Lighting Service Lamps: 6000 hours
  • Fluorescent lightings: 10000 hours
  • Sodium vapor lamps: 18000 hours
  • Mercury vapor lamps: 24000 hours
  • Metal halide lamps: 35000 hours
  • LEDs: 60000 hours

The cost of the system not only depends on installation, but we need to consider maintenance cost, replacement cost, cost for changing color of light, cost of disposing safely, cost for the amount of electrical energy consumed by lights, and so on.

Cost Of Various Lighting Systems

The installation cost of conventional lights (fluorescent) is cheaper than LEDs. But, over long term usage, LEDs provide huge potential savings compared to fluorescent lights.

Let us consider cost characteristics of a few lighting systems which is shown below:

As we discussed earlier, the cost of lighting systems involves different constraints that include installation costs, electrical energy consumption costs, annual operating costs, cleaning costs, replacement costs, and so on.

Installation Cost of Various Lighting Systems

If we consider the price of each bulb, the cost of frequently used lighting systems can be given as

  • Light emitting diodes (LEDs): 10 to 25 Dollars
  • Incandescent light bulbs: 1 to 2 Dollars
  • Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs): 4 to 6 Dollars

Annual cost required to operate these different lights can be given as

  • Light emitting diodes (LEDs): 0.84 Dollars
  • Incandescent light bulbs: 4.82 Dollars
  • Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs): 1.32 Dollars

Electrical Energy Consumed by Different Lights in Watts

For 450 Lumens of Light Output:

  • Light emitting diodes (LEDs): 4 to 5 watts
  • Incandescent light bulbs: 40 watts
  • Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs): 9 to 13 watts

For 2600 Lumens of Light Output:

Cleaning Cost of Different Lights

The carbon dioxide emissions of different lights are need to be cleaned for reducing the environmental impacts due to wastes produced by usage of various lights. If we consider the usage of 30 bulbs per year, then the carbon diode emissions of these lights can be given as

  • Light emitting diodes (LEDs): 451 pounds/year
  • Incandescent light bulbs: 4500 pounds/year
  • Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs): 1051 pounds/year

Thus, if we observe that, even though the installation cost of LED lighting is greater than other lighting systems but the annual operating cost is very less. Hence, LED lighting system is more economical for long term usage. Thus, if we consider all these parameters that affects the cost and life span of the lighting systems, LEDs are the best choice for the future lighting systems.

Suresh Kumar. M
M. Tech in Wireless Communication Systems
Technical Content Writer


In the future, the light output of LEDs will continue to increase, enabling mass–market general lighting applications from approx 2016 onwards. Effective general LED solutions to replace incandescent bulbs will appear on the market over the next two to three years, but initially they will be relatively expensive.

The total cost of a 60 watt incandescent bulb over a 30,000 hour lifespan is 2582 INR.

(Incandescent has 1300 hours lifespan, so we require 23 bulbs@34 INR=782 INR +charge 1800 INR@ 1 INR per  1 KW)

The total cost of a CFL bulb over a 30,000 hour lifespan is 855 INR.

(CFL has 8000 hours lifespan, so we require 3.75 bulbs@124 INR=465 INR +charge 390 INR@ 1 INR per  1 KW)

The total cost of an LED bulb over a 30,000 hour lifespan is 1440.49 INR.

(LED has 30,000 hours lifespan, so we require 1 bulbs@1500 INR=1500 INR +charge 245 INR@ 1 INR per  1 KW)

My current advice is to use the CFL bulbs for general lighting purposes, incandescent bulbs for focused reading because immediate light is important, and the LED bulbs will be used in a few very hard-to-reach sockets, since they have a very, very long life span. As the price on the LED bulbs goes down,  we can  replace the incandescent bulbs first, then the CFLs.

P. Vinod Kumar
B. TECH in Electrical&Electronic Engineering
Technical Content Writer


LEDs are more expensive initially than fluorescent and compact fluorescent lights, but they can provide huge potential savings over the long term in now a days. While incandescent lights last for a paltry 800 to 1500 hours, and fluorescent lights last up to 10,000 hours, LEDs can last up to a staggering 60,000 hours. This can provide substantial savings as a result of fewer replacements needing to be bought.

LED technology has been around for a long time and ignored, perhaps because it was not cost effective enough to produce despite its efficiency and lower energy consumption. However, in the last decade or so IP filings around LED technology for lighting systems has drastically risen with nearly all the top lighting companies showing a keen interest in developing more IP within this space. With research around incandescent lighting and to a lesser extent fluorescent lighting system. Patent publication trends show a steady and sharp increase in filings over the recent years and the current year’s figures for the first few months look equally promising for this technology dropped, it appears that LED is quickly becoming very relevant in terms of the future of lighting.

Life Span of LED Lighting System

The amount of time spent replacing bulbs, especially in larger buildings, can be counterproductive. Due to the long life span of an LED bulb over a fluorescent tube, maintenance and replacement times can be reduced markedly when LEDs are used.

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