as in a hotel lobby or in the atrium of a building). With landscaping projects, any return trip to the job can be expensive and frustrating to both installers and owners.

Energy Savings

Today as few as 2- to 3-watt LED lamps are replacing 20-, 35- and even 50-watt halogen lamps. For systems that run each night from dusk to dawn, that’s as much as 4,300 hours annually. It’s easy to determine that an LED lamp consuming one-tenth the power of its halogen equivalent can save hundreds of dollars each year in most applications.


There is no glass in most LED lamps to break, they produce very little heat, and they do not contain mercury. A lamp that won’t be in the landfill for years, won’t poison drinking water, and won’t shatter sending slivers of glass flying.

Fixture Requirements

All LED products come with a mention of not using them in totally enclosed fixtures, which causes some confusion and concern. To clarify, the term “totally enclosed” in this instance means that there is no airflow around the LED lamp, and the reason goes back to thermal management. LEDs do generate some heat, and while not as much as any of the other types of light, in a fixture with zero airflow, the aluminum body is unable to act as a heat sink, and reduces the life of the electrical components in the LED lamp.

LED Drawbacks

The aforementioned benefits of LED- based lighting products do not come without a price.

One of the largest drawbacks of LED based products is initial price. High quality LED packages, with predictable and reliable color quality and output, are still more expensive when considering their initial cost on a lumen-per-watt basis. Their long life requires a different approach to considering cost, where cost

of ownership over time considering ener- gy and maintenance should be taken into account the true price of the lamp.

The second main drawback of LED-based products is that they are much more sensitive to heat buildup than many other technologies. One must ensure that the LED lamp and fixture are properly paired so that heat degradation is minimized to guarantee proper performance. Reputable

lamp and fixture manufacturers will have done the testing needed, and will back their products with strong warranties.

Despite the drawbacks or challenges in LED lighting technology, they have signifi- cant potential to change the landscape of lighting forever, and in dramatic ways that far exceed the flexibility of any other com- mercially available lighting technology.

Michael Grzywacz is national sales manager for Halco Lighting Tech- nologies and Sollos Landscape Lighting. Grzywacz has over 23 years of industry experience in the landscape irrigation industry. 35

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