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Why Retrofit Metal Halide to LED?

Updated on March 31, 2016

LED Lighting: What are the Benefits?

When upgrading metal halide fixtures to LED, the main benefit obtained is energy efficiency. In simple terms, LED lighting provides an increased luminous output per watt consumed, which means the required lighting level will be achieved at at lower energy cost.

However, there is more to LED lighting than just saving energy. The technology also helps create safer facilities, while having reduced maintenance needs when compared to traditional lighting technologies.

A metal halide bulb.
A metal halide bulb. | Source

1) LED Lighting Saves Energy

A typical metal halide fixture has a power consumption of around 460 watts: the light bulb itself consumes 400 watts, and the ballast that provides power to it may add around 60 watts of consumption.

LED fixtures, on the other hand, may achieve the same lighting effect for 200 watts or less, which means the energy savings achieved are above 50 percent!

2) LED Fixtures Have a Long Life

Metal halide bulbs have a rated life of 12,000 hours on average, and they may lose as much as 30% of their rated luminous output over the first 5,000 hours of use, greatly reducing the quality of lighting.

High bay LED fixtures, on the other hand, tend to have a service life in the range of 60,000 to 100,000 hours, which is 5 to 8 times longer than than of metal halide bulbs. Over its service life, an LED fixture will provide considerable maintenance savings by avoiding lamp replacements.

3) LED Lighting Has No Cooldown Period

One of the main disadvantages of metal halide lighting is that, whenever the lights are turned off, it may be necessary to wait up to 10 minutes or more before turning them back on. Even models that are designed for a rapid restart may require from 2-4 minutes. If an industrial facility is left in the dark even for a few minutes, there are high risks involved.

LED fixtures completely eliminate this issue, since they can be turned back on instantly after a service interruption. Their low power consumption also allows them to run for a much longer time on backup power in case the electric supply is gone for a longer time.

4)LED Advantages in Special Applications

The benefits described above apply for all facilities with high-bay lighting. However, LED lighting offers additional benefits in some special applications:

Cold Storage Facilities

Metal halide lighting has a considerable heat footprint. When an LED retrofit is carried out, much less heat is released into cold storage rooms, which can reduce the load on refrigeration equipment by several tons.

Oil and Gas Facilities

These facilities tend to have a lot of heavy machinery operating around the clock, which creates a lot of vibration. This can be very damaging for electrode-based lighting technologies such as MH fixtures, since the constant vibration damages internal components. LED lighting, being a solid-state technology, is unaffected by vibration. Another advantage of LED lighting in these scenarios is that the technology is less likely to cause an explosion, given that it doesn't use incandescence or gas ignition to produce lighting.

Keep in mind, however, that LED lighting for Oil & Gas locations must have the adequate Class/Division or Zone rating! If a lighting fixture is not rated for hazardous locations, it must not be used under any circumstance!


LED lighting offers a wide range of benefits over metal halide fixtures. Energy efficiency is probably the first that comes to mind, but the technology also simplifies maintenance while enhancing work site safety. LED lighting also offers application-specific benefits when implemented in locations such as cold storage rooms or oil & gas facilities.

Benefits of LED Lighting

Which benefit of LED lighting is more appealing to you?

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