In the January feature, “Light investment for big impact,” Group Editorial Director and Editor in Chief Rich DiPaolo discusses how LED technology can not only help carwashes improve their sites’ lighting, but it can also boost their bottom lines.

When making the light switch to LEDs, carwashes should keep in mind the following considerations:

Installation costs: Installation cost can vary by lighting system and can often be as or more costly than the actual products being installed. Consider the labor required to install an LED lighting system when making a purchase because some light systems can be dramatically easier to install than others.

Lumens per watt: Lumens are a measure of the amount of light. Watts are a measurement of the amount of power being used to produce the light. The higher the lumens per watt (or efficacy) of a light fixture, the less the product will cost to operate. Over a five-year period of time, the operating costs can be the largest cost of LED lighting (or any lighting,) so future-proof your investment and ensure the largest return on investment by looking for 100-130+ lumen per watt products.

Product durability: Many different types of light systems are available. Be sure to ask how each light system will work within a carwash’s caustic chemical environment, handle high-pressure rinsing and if the product can withstand the rigors of use.

Quality of light: For general area lighting, know what type of color rendering (CRI) you need to achieve to enable your location to look and feel inviting. Lower CRI values (<60) make a location look pale, and it’s hard to see depth of colors. Higher CRI ratings (80+) enable better colors and make places look cleaner.

Color LED lighting: LED chips generally are designed to spread light at a 120-degree angle. For color lighting application, consider what is being highlighted before making a purchase. For general room ambience, a 120-degree throw pattern works. However if highlighting specific areas or objects (e.g., presoak, foaming arches, building facades), look for a narrow-focused LED chip (60 degrees or less); these chips will appear at least twice as bright as a 120-degree chip at the same power draw and lumen per watt basis.

Read the January feature on investing in LEDs here.


These five LED considerations were provided by Michael Call of Mile High LED Systems.