In this article, Duke DeJong talks about LED lighting. LED lighting is definitely cool. But what are the actual benefits of LED lighting? Should your church use them?
Over the past 5 years the argument in favor of LED lighting fixtures has become much easier to win as pricing has become more reasonable. That being said, I still regularly get asked for justification from senior level church staff for making the switch to LED fixtures. It’s not that most people don’t think they’re a cooler option. They’re just not convinced that it’s worth the expense to change. While I don’t like LED for all lighting uses, here are five reasons I believe every church could benefit from LED lighting fixtures for set and top/back lighting (and perhaps even house lighting).
1. The Cost Difference is No Longer Great
When LED PAR lights were starting at $400 and a conventional PAR was $75-150, I could see why it was a tough switch to justify. But the fact of the matter is decent, economy LED PAR fixtures start in the $150-200 range today, making the cost jump from a conventional fixture very reasonable.
2. Low Power Consumption of LED Lighting
I wish I had real data for you, but LED lighting fixtures will save you a great deal of power usage which will translate into steady power savings. Let’s say you usually use twenty 500w PAR fixtures for top and set lighting and you can replace that with twenty 50w LED fixtures. You would be saving 9,000 watts of power, which—for the 10-15 hours your lights may be on every week—adds up.
3. Low Heat Production of LED Lighting
I realize we’re heading into the winter months where some of us would like our fixtures to warm the room up. But for many, our worship centers need to be cooled year-round because of the heat our lighting and people in the room produce. Switching over those 20 PAR fixtures to LED could be the difference from a hot day in the desert to a nice 75-degree day. And as an added bonus, if you like putting fixtures on stage, you won’t have to worry about a kid (or a drummer) coming on stage and burning themselves on the fixture.
4. Low Maintenance Cost of LED Lighting
If you’ve been lighting for any length of time, you’ve had to do the last-minute lamp or gel change before service. Lamps cost money, as do gels, and both go out somewhat regularly creating an ongoing maintenance expense. And if your lights are hard to get to, you may have to rent a lift to make that happen. If you have LED fixtures rated for 10,000 hours, you could leave them on for 10+ years before the LED diodes go bad. Unless a fan goes bad on your LED fixture, the ongoing maintenance costs will be much lower.
5. Efficiency – One LED Fixture, Many Colors
I just served as the lighting director for a large worship conference. This year, the budget for rental fixtures was tight so I ended up using the house PAR cans quite a bit. There were something like 36 lights distributed above stage with red, green, and blue gels in them. Unless you’re going for the 80’s rock show look, I could have accomplished the same color wash with 12 good LED fixtures, increasing my efficiency and lowering the amount of stuff in the air. With LED, generally speaking, I can do much more with less.
LED fixtures aren’t right for everything, and we’ll tackle that in another article sometime, but for set and top/back lighting they are fantastic. They provide a low power, low heat, and efficient way to provide a lot of color for your stage and with these five benefits I’m confident the folks on the business side of things will see the benefit too. Happy lighting!
Duke is passionate about equipping the next generation of ministry leaders, especially those serving churches with technology. He serves as Church Relations Director for CCI Solutions, a design build technology solutions provider. Follow Duke on Twitter: @dukedejong