The Energy Chronicles

The Future of Lighting in the Hospitality Industry

LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting has been widely adopted in commercial buildings throughout the past 10 years, promoting energy savings and improved light outputs. But, what about the hospitality industry where the look and aesthetic are crucial to each restaurant, hotel, and shop? The original LED bulbs were efficient but not attractive. Today, we can have both efficiency and aesthetics with new generation LED bulbs.

If you wrote off LED bulbs for your hotel or spa 5 years ago, check again. LED bulbs now come in all-glass “vintage” styles that are made to mimic the aesthetic of old incandescent bulbs. You can have both: beautiful lighting and low energy costs. The yellow filaments are LED lighting elements in place of the traditional incandescent filaments. The LEDs can be dimmable and come in all shapes and sizes. Read on to learn more about:

Decorative Bulb Shapes

LED light bulbs come in almost any shape you can imagine. Decorative bulbs shapes include round globes, long tubular t-lamps, old-fashioned Edison style bulbs, and candelabras. Candelabras also come in bent “flame-tip” or symmetrical “torpedo” shapes.


globe style bulb

Globes are spherical in shape and come in various sizes. They can be clear glass with yellow LED filaments or frosted with the LED elements hidden inside. Globes are often seen in bathroom vanity fixtures in homes. In the hospitality industry, these bulbs can be found in many kinds of decorative fixtures. Globes provide a great rounded look for pendants and sconces.


t-lamp bulb

T-lamps are long cylindrical tube-shaped bulbs. These bulbs provide a unique straight aesthetic and typically come in glass with visible filaments.

Edison Style Bulbs

edison led bulb

Edison bulbs are conical-shaped bulbs in the historical style of some of Thomas Edison’s original light bulbs. These bulbs typically come in glass with visible filaments. The glass is often tinted yellow to create a warmer color and to mimic old-fashioned bulbs. These bulbs are good fits for pendants and sconces.


candelabra led bulbs

Candelabras are shaped to mimic an old candle light. The come in many different styles. Torpedo candelabras are symmetrical and rounded at the tip. Flame-tip candelabras have a bent tip that forms a point and is designed to look like the wispy tip of a burning flame. Candelabras come in filament, frosted, or reflector styles. Candelabras also come in E12 (“candelabra base”) or E26 (“medium base”) sizes. Make sure you know which base size your fixture takes before purchasing a candelabra. Candelabras are great bulbs for chandeliers.


The color temperature of lighting is measured in degrees Kelvin, representing the level of “warmth” of the light output. The color temperature of LEDs has a huge range. Color temperatures for LEDs are typically between 5000 Kelvin (blue/white light) to 2700 Kelvin (warm yellow light). Many decorative bulbs now come in color temperatures even warmer, reaching 2400, 2200, and even 1800 Kelvin.
A tint on the glass bulb can create a different aesthetic look. Many decorative LED bulbs come in vintage yellow tinted bulbs or smokey grey-tinted bulbs that can create different aesthetic looks as compared to clear glass.

Soft/Warm White

warm white led bulb

2700K – Smooth and Relaxing. These bulbs closely replicate the light of older CFL and incandescent bulbs. Soft white bulbs are good for living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms.

Bright/Cool White

bright white led bulb

4100K – Whiter and cooler white. These bulbs give a more energetic feel than warm white bulbs. Cool white bulbs are good for kitchens, outdoor security lighting, and workspaces.


led bulb color comparison
Comparison of bulb color; warm(yellow), cool(white), and daylight(blue)
Image via

5000-6500K – Resembles the daylight sky on a clear and sunny day. Good for tasks that require creativity, like projects, art, or writing. These are also great for places that don’t get natural light, like basements.

Additional Benefits of LED Decorative Lighting


Dimming control is an important feature for decorative lighting. Many LED bulbs come in dimmable models.

The Energy Group recently performed a lighting audit for a resort in Missouri that has 10,000 incandescent light bulbs on the property. LED bulbs can maintain the beautiful aesthetic of the resort while saving $70,000 per year on electricity costs alone!

Low maintenance costs

These bulbs are often in hard to reach locations. Switching to efficient LED light bulbs will reduce maintenance costs by reducing the number of burnouts.


When burnouts are common, new bulbs constantly are purchased and installed. New bulbs may be slightly different than old bulbs in size, brightness, or color temperature. Converting to efficient LEDs can bring your facility back to uniform lighting. Because of the long life of these bulbs (3-7 years typically), LEDs will not need to be replaced any time soon.

Improved light quality

The quality of light output is measured using the Color Rendering Index (CRI). The higher the CRI of a light, the more distinctly the human eye can distinguish between colors illuminated by that light. Retail locations pay particular attention to CRI to make their products look good to customers.

How to Choose

Look for bulbs that are rated for commercial use. The most efficient bulbs are rated as ENERGY STAR certified. Check warranties as well; most ENERGY STAR rated bulbs come with manufacturer warranties. Commercial organizations typically purchase lighting through lighting distributors. Purchasing through distribution can streamline the purchasing process, enable easy warranty claims, and ensure consistency and efficiency of the lighting products. We recommend that companies in the hospitality industry purchase lighting through a qualified distributor, rather than a retailer or wholesaler. 

The Energy Group is a third-party energy consulting firm. We do not sell lighting products but we are experienced in the lighting industry and can provide an unbiased look into energy saving calculations and project management opportunities. Contact us today! 

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