MR16 halogen vs 3- or 4-inch LED, energy savings not a factor?

ClayMan28January 20, 2013

I am remodeling a 1000 sq.ft. condo (8-ft ceilings) and plan to use some recessed lighting. The unusual factor is that electricity is included in my management fees so I wouldn't realize any of the long-term LED energy savings.

I am aware that the EcoSmart CR4 LED seems to be all the rage here, but couldn't find them in Home Depot (Canada). Instead I came home from Home Depot with a couple things to try:
-$40 Commercial Electric 4-inch retrofit LED (561 lumens, 3000K, 11.3W, 83 CRI)
-$50 HALO 4-inch retrofit LED (637 lumens, 3019K, 13.7W, 83 CRI)
-$40 Commercial Electric 3-inch LED kit, includes housing! (465 lumens, 3000K, 7.7W, 83 CRI)

How come nobody talks about the latter kit, it seems like a great deal? The only downside is that the trim is not the prettiest, with 3 gaps around the rim of the recessed area. (google to see them)

After trying all of them, I still feel like smaller aperture of the low-voltage halogen MR16s look better, both on and off. I'm aware they put out less light, so I'd need more of them (correct?). But am I correct that they currently cost a lot less per unit than the LED options? My logic is that the halogen MR16s look better and are cheaper now so I can afford to wait until MR16 LED retrofits improve and come down in price further.

If you didn't have to pay for electricity or adhere to T24, would you do the same?

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There may not be any savings if you end up with more cans which are installed by someone else. In addition, the lifespan is shorter.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 10:36PM
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Oviously, Your MR16 halogen is less expensive than the LED MR16, if consider the unit price only.But you halogen lamp will consumpt more power, and have shorter life span, while 1W LED can offer you the brightness of 70 Lm which equal to 5W halogen lamp, and with life span of 35,000 hours. Thus there are two factors for your consideration: power cost and repair cost of your halogen lamp.

Here is a link that might be useful: LED spot light

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 10:27AM
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Thanks for the replies - what I'm saying is that I don't pay for power / utilities, so I wouldn't realize any of the LED electricity savings.

Given that, are the cons of LED (higher initial cost, larger apertures, no gimbal aiming, limited selection, arguably not as "pretty") still worth it?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 12:45PM
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That all depends on the number you will purchase (led vs MR16 halogen), who's installing and the replacement costs of the lamp over time.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 6:15PM
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There'll be around 30, and assume proportionally more if I go with MR16 halogen to meet the same lighting requirements.

How come the installer makes a difference in this decision? Just to be clear here, all of the recessed lights have to be installed from scratch so we can assume it's the same installer regardless of the type.

Your guesses are probably better than mine re: costs of the lamps over time.. If I go with the Ushio Ultraline Titan MR16 with "up to" 18000 hour life, they'll have to be replaced at least twice as often as LEDs... So assuming the same # of cans, I'm winning until LED prices come down to double of halogen, or less.

What about a pure aesthetics perspective? If we take cost out of the equation, what would you recommend?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 10:20PM
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The typical way to charge for a recessed light installation is to calculate on a per can basis. There may not be a discount for a larger number of cans.

Discuss this with your electrician. The number of cans that can be installed is also limited by the obstructions above the ceiling board.

From a pure aesthetic point of view, too many holes should be avoided. Having some variety in lighting fixtures wouldn't hurt.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 10:57PM
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