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Should I Use LED Bulbs In New Store?

Posted By Robert, 1/10/2013

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We are planning to build a new furniture store in the next six months. In our present store we are use track lighting with compact fluorescent  flood bulbs that are 75 watt equivalent. I have thought about using some 4’ T-8 fixtures thru out the new store for some overall lighting with track fixtures for hi-lighting, using the CFL floods. I have also thought about LED bulbs but don’t know if I want to spend $25.00 per bulb. Whatever I go with I would like a 75 watt equivalent bulb in a 3000K to 3500K color. That are your suggestions considering cost and performance? Thanks


From satelight, 7/3/2014  9:26 PM

PS. If you don't go the LED route, be sure to check out our website for modern pendant lighting ideas. :) 

From satelight, 7/3/2014  9:18 PM

Defintely go for LED. They have saved us thousands. BUT make sure you are using a good supplier. Cheap will defintely cause you problems. I just had a look at the site we purchased our LED lights from. He did previously have a calculator on the website. I can't seem to find it now, but it had cost savings. Maybe shoot him an email and pretend you're from Australia? 

From Robert, 1/10/2013  7:08 PM

Hi Randy,

The short answer is: Use more T8 fixtures and forget installing track if you plan to use compact fluorescent bulbs in your track heads. The only reason for track is to provide accents that cause colors and textures to pop while providing visual excitement to the sales floor. Compact fluorescents don’t do that.

We use a "point source" like halogen or LED for accent lighting because they generate light from a filament or LEDs through a lens to cast sharp, well defined shadows. Shadows show texture. Second, point sources focus light on the target to make it stand out from the background level of light. Halogen and LED do that extremely well.

Compact Fluorescent lamps are a diffuse source, which means that light is generated along the surface of the twist lamp concealed inside the reflector. Light from a diffuse source wraps around objects such that there is little or no shadowing. It is also difficult to round up the light to project to the target.

We use 25 degree (narrow flood) beam in halogen or LED but the CFL is (sort of) 40 degrees. When we put all the variables together, a halogen 8 feet from the target will give something like 80 footcandles on the target. A CFL 8 feet from the target would give something less than 8 footcandles on the target. That quantifies the lack of accent or 'pop' that is important to accent lighting.

Advanced Energy Design Guide for Small Retail Buildings says this about compact fluorescents:
"Compact fluorescent lighting may be used for general store lighting but is less efficient than linear fluorescent and is much more expensive to dim. Compact fluorescent lighting should not be used for accent lighting."
If we decide the sales floor needs no accent lighting then we can use all fluorescent lighting. Office Depot made that determination but Walmart, Target, and Sears use accent lighting to draw attention to products.

Jos Banks stores I have seen are all fluorescent. The store is bright but strikes me as being 'fuzzy' or 'flat' because there are no point sources. Victoria's Secret and the Limited tend to use mostly point sources. Those shops sparkle. These examples are the visual difference between point source and diffuse lighting.

The $25 dollar LED you mention is your least expensive way to get accent lighting on your sales floor. First, LED will last about four times as long as CFL, ten times the life of halogen which saves on purchasing and installation cost. Second, LEDs use less energy than any other alternative. Energy savings are likely to be $24,000 over 10 year service life of the LED when compared to CFL. And, most importantly, they will do the accent lighting job

I hope this helps explain what the issues are. Compact fluorescent PAR lamps are inappropriate for accent lighting.


Service Lamp Corporation
High Point, NC

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