How long do LEDs last?

Like all light sources, LED sources fade slowly over time.

Well-designed LED luminaires can retain 70% of their initial output for 50,000 hours or more, depending on operating conditions – delivering six years or more of continuous use. Heat generated within the luminaire, drive current, and other factors can cause light output degradation, or lumen depreciation. White light sources used for general illumination are generally considered to be at the end of their useful life when their light output falls below 70% of initial output. Luminaire longevity continues to rise, thanks to technological innovations from leading LED lighting system manufacturers.

There are several industry recommendations about how manufacturers should make claims about lumen maintenance and lifetime. For example, the TM-21 recommendations from the IES encourage manufacturers to use LM80 data by the LED manufacturers to project system life. While Color Kinetics follows these recommendations, not all in the industry comply, leading to potentially inaccurate claims. It’s also important to note that LED system longevity depends on real-world use and operation – such as ambient temperature, duty cycle, and hours of operation.

Ben Franklin Bridge
The Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia has been running Color Kinetics luminaires since 2001

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