LED Successes - Are You Sitting Down?     

By Eric Strandberg, LC  (LDL Newsletter, Fall 2012)


Anyone associated with the lighting industry can’t help but notice that white light LEDs have been dominating the conversation for the last five plus years. A visit to LightFair International (a major lighting conference and tradeshow), has shown a steady increase in LED lighting products in every facet of lighting. This is not news.

However, what I have been noticing is how good the LED products are becoming. The better manufacturers can deliver the light quality and quantity one expects from a modern lighting system. I like to think of effective lighting as a three legged stool —

Primarily: Does it perform well? The lighting product must deliver light that is as good as, or better than what I had been using.

Second: Does the product save energy over incumbent products? It is not
strategic to install “quality lighting” that is not sustainable.

Third: Does the product save any money? Cost effectiveness - either first cost or over time - is always a consideration.

We’ve been seeing the second leg of the stool for a while with very low wattage fixtures, but they didn’t quite deliver the quality of light that we were used to with fluorescent, halogen, or ceramic metal halide. Lately, I have been seeing quality light across the entire spectrum of LED products; from track and recessed products, integral lamps (PARs and A type), task lights, to exterior fixtures. These products are saving energy and delivering high quality light that we expect. This is particularly the case when the conventional product is inherently inefficient like a recessed can or an  incandescent lamp. There is lots of savings potential with no loss in light quality.

So now we have two legs of the stool. As to the third leg — saving money, that is a moving target. LEDs still have a high first cost, but that is coming down as improvements are made. And with their very long life, maintenance savings will be significant.