How can switching to LED save me money on my sports lighting energy bill?

Of the many questions that we get asked about sports lighting, one is undoubtedly more common than any other: “will I save money by switching to LEDs?”. And, while issues of quality and performance are critically important too, it’s only natural that sports clubs are keen to understand the cost implications of a move to LEDs.

The answer to that question, of course, is a resounding “yes”. In this blog, we’re going to look at what it is that makes LEDs such an excellent way for sports clubs to save money on their energy bills – and in a few other areas, too.


Lower energy costs


One of the most powerful arguments for making the switch to LED lighting is the resultant saving in energy costs. Already a driving force behind many lighting system upgrades, this factor has become all the more important due to recent increases in electricity prices: data from the Federation of Small Businesses suggests that costs rose by 349% between 2021 and 2022.

The key differentiating factor here is efficiency. Many sports clubs continue to use outdated metal-halide and sodium-vapor lamps, which are significantly less efficient than LED alternatives. Much of the energy used by those systems is converted into heat, and a lot of the light produced isn’t directed in the right way to make it “useful”. Wastage is very high as a result.

LEDs, on the other hand, turn much more of the energy they use into light, and focus it more effectively. Because of this, they require less power to produce the same – and usually much better – levels of quality and uniformity. LEDs typically use 50% less power than alternative lighting systems, but those savings can often reach as much as 70% or 80% as well.

Real proof from real Midstream customers:


Lower running costs


As important as energy efficiency may be, it isn’t the only consideration when looking to streamline running costs. As well as making sure that their lights are helping to minimise power consumption when they’re switched on, clubs should also think about how they can reduce their lighting system’s overall running time as well.

Once again, outdated technology is the primary obstacle here. Metal-halide and sodium-vapour lamps both need to “warm up” before reaching peak luminance. In most cases, this will take somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes, adding a significant amount of running time to your bills over the course of a year.

Another problem here is the fact that older lighting systems cannot be dimmed. This means they’re always running at peak capacity, regardless of whether you’re hosting a high-profile cup match or simply a weekday evening training session. LEDs provide an effective solution to both of these issues, switching on and off immediately and offering a range of dimming options.

Real proof from real Midstream customers:

Lower maintenance costs


One last ongoing expense that sports clubs need to budget for when it comes to floodlighting is the cost of maintenance. Like any electronic device, lighting systems require regular upkeep to ensure that they’re performing at their best. That can necessitate everything from simple cleaning through to major repairs and replacements.

One of the major differences between LEDs and other lighting systems is that the lifespan of the latter tends to be dramatically shorter. Metal halides deteriorate around four to five times faster than LEDs, meaning that they need to be replaced much more frequently. As well as the material costs, that means that more needs to be spent on maintenance contractors too.

Bulb burnout isn’t the only difference between LEDs and the alternatives, however. Older lighting systems make use of something known as a “ballast” – a device that controls energy flow within the luminaire, and one that is equally susceptible to failure. Combined, these issues mean that maintenance costs for older lighting systems can often be in the region of £6,000 every three years.


Real proof from real Midstream customers:

Lower installation costs


There is an important distinction to be made here in the fact that, unlike the three points above, this is only a potential saving. At the same time, when it does apply, those savings can be enormous – and so it warrants mentioning. 

From a manufacturing perspective, one of the key differences between LEDs and older lighting units is that LED luminaires tend to weigh much less. In truth, even similar LEDs can vary in terms of weightage: Midstream’s own luminaires are appreciably lighter than competing systems. This can be a critical factor when it comes to installation costs.

The less that a lighting unit weighs, the more likely it is that it can be affixed to a club’s existing masts, even if they are fairly dated. Masts can add as much as 75% to the cost of a new lighting system, meaning that it makes financial sense to use existing ones wherever possible. Metal-halide and sodium-vapor lamps, due to their weight, often make that difficult.

Real proof from real Midstream customers:


To start saving money with your own LED lighting system, why not find out the best ways to secure funding or simply get in touch?

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