When considering lighting for one’s building the obvious choice is to go with the option that is efficient, quality, and cost effective. With a look toward the future the obvious choice is Light Emitting Diodes, or LEDs. LED technology, according to Forbes magazine, is the “third significant lighting invention since fire.” To some this may be an overstatement but the fact is that the data does not lie.
According to Strategies Unlimited (the worldwide leader in market research in photonics) the revenues from use of LEDs in lighting applications will increase at a compound rate of 30% annually. The company says by 2017 LED use will become a $17 billion industry. According to another research company, Lux Research, the industry will go from a $2 billion industry currently to a $25 billion industry by 2023. The ceiling has not been met for this technology and already we are seeing the LED option as the best choice.
To understand why the technology is predicted to take off so rapidly we must compare the product to its competitors. When you look at the comparables of lighting options you want to consider energy efficiency, control ability, and expected lifetime.
According to the US Department of Energy the efficacy of traditional CFL (Compact Fluorescents) tops out at 80 lumens/watt with an average at 60 lumens/watt. The other leading conventional option is Linear Fluorescents (LF) that top out at 110 lm/w with an average of 95 lm/w. Compare this to your LED efficacy which is significantly higher with a ceiling that has not yet been met but according to Strategies Unlimited have reached 200 lumens/watt with an average of 125 lm/w. This essentially means the LED option when looking at pure efficiency is twice as efficient.
Most builders today are looking to have controllable lighting. When considering controls you are mainly thinking of lights that shut off when the room is unoccupied, set times to turn on/off, and light brightness or dimming. With the conventional lighting options this requires a light sensor and a separate occupancy sensor. The LED option produced by Redwood Systems Inc. has the sensors combined in the light fixture itself saving on maintenance and space. The dimming ability is also better with LEDs. According to Redwood Systems Inc. when you dim an LED fixture by 30% the power consumption goes down 50% compared to the conventional lighting’s 20% power reduction at the same dimness. So, the LED dims more effectively and is a more efficient use of space.
After looking at some of the factors it seems obvious you would choose LED fixtures when choosing your buildings lighting option. With the cost of LED fixtures rapidly decreasing each year from $7.5 sq/ft in 2009 to $3 sq/ft in 2012and still falling, the choice becomes more and more clear. To invest in your future when choosing lighting, the future is LEDs, the future is now.
The operating life of your lighting option is an essential ingredient for cost effectiveness in terms of Initial cost and maintenance. The CFL/LF typically has a rated service life from 6,000-15,000 hours according to Energy Federation Incorporated. Compare that to the LED rated service life of 50,000+ hours. It’s a no brainer that LEDs are the clear winner here as well.