The future of lighting is built on LED technology. Older lighting systems will be around for a bit longer, but LED lights have demonstrated their superiority in many applications. This pace is likely to continue as LED engineering improves and municipalities adopt LED bulbs at larger scales.
Even a decade ago, you would be hard-pressed to find any commercial building that was fitted with LED lighting. That’s no longer the case. LED lighting is everywhere, in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. There are many reasons for this, which is why the future of LED lighting truly is bright.
LED Lighting is on Pace to Dominate the Lighting Industry
According to the U.S. Energy Information Association (EIA), in 2012, less than 10 percent of commercial buildings were running an LED lighting solution. Just six years later, in 2018, 44 percent of commercial buildings were operating LED lighting. The switch flipped on LED lighting about 10 years ago, and as a result many commercial facilities have made the switch to LEDs.
Also, according to the EIA, as of 2018, LED lights accounted for 30 percent of all general lighting applications. That number is climbing quickly year over year, and more than half of all general outdoor lighting systems are now running on this superior technology. Plenty more industry studies echo this conclusion, that LEDs will be the top option for the lighting industry before long, if it isn’t already.
The question is – how has LED lighting emerged as the number one choice for property owners?
LED Lighting Technology is Superior in Many Ways to Older Lights
The future of LED lighting is so positive because LEDs are a major upgrade over previous lighting technologies. For example, an LED bulb has the following advantages:
- Energy efficiency – LED lighting is the most efficient form of lighting on the market, and in most cases the gap is huge. LEDs are 75 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs and have significant source efficiency advantages over fluorescent and HID lighting like metal halides. This advantage is even more pronounced at the system level, as LEDs are directional and can be aimed for greater effect.
LEDs are so efficient because they waste little energy, producing heat instead of light. That’s the difference between utilizing semiconductors and filaments or gas to generate illumination.
- Lifespan – LEDs are also the longest-lived fixtures available, and the advantage here is huge. Lights are rated according to their L70 mark, or the number of operating hours before a fixture can only output 70 percent of its original lumen volume.
The L70 mark for quality LEDs is around 50,000 hours, so nearly a decade of near-continuous operation (16 hours a day).
The L70 number for fluorescent and high-pressure sodium fixtures is about 20,000 hours, so you’ll burn through 2-3 fluorescent tubes during a single LED lifecycle.
It’s even worse for metal halides, which usually hit their L70 threshold before 10,000 hours, and sometimes by 5,000 hours.
- Illumination quality – What once held LED lighting back was its output quality. LEDs once lagged behind metal halides, halogens, and even fluorescents in terms of brightness and even coverage, but this is no longer a concern.
In fact, LED light is now comparable (or superior) to other lighting options in terms of brilliance and coverage. LED fixtures do not produce hotspots or leave some areas underlit in their coverage area. Further, LED lamps can render color extremely well, which makes them a top option for outdoor applications like parking lots and security systems.
- Durability – Because LED fixtures are designed with inert, solid-state components, they do not sustain damage as readily as other fixtures. If you bump an incandescent or fluorescent tube just right, you can destroy the lamp outright. You can also cause the kind of undetectable damage that results in early failure.
LEDs can be jostled, bumped, and even dropped with little fear of failure. As such, LED-based lighting systems tend to be more reliable and less costly to maintain.
- Controllability – LED technology is designed to be compatible with other technologies, including advanced controls like motion sensors, dimmers, and photocells. With advanced lighting controls, businesses can reduce their lighting waste further while maintaining optimal worker comfort and productivity.
- Safety and sustainability – LEDs emit far less heat and UV radiation than other forms of lighting, so they are safe to use around children, pets, and sensitive artwork.
LED fixtures contain no mercury, either, unlike fluorescent tubes. This means they can be safely disposed of without causing harm to groundwater or local wildlife.
With LED Retrofit Products, LEDs Can Be Installed in Just About Any Building
The above benefits are considerable, but some businesses are still reluctant to make the switch due to perceived upfront costs. It’s true that LED lamps are a little more expensive than older options, but a wave of LED retrofit solutions have made it so every company and every building can take advantage of LED technology.
Retrofit LED fixtures come in a variety of designs to fit a variety of existing systems. They can operate with or without a ballast, or bypass the ballast if needed. Some are designed with plug-and-play functionality while others require extensive rewiring but can be installed without concern for other system components.
There are options, in other words, including options that will likely fit into your organization’s budget.
The Future for LED Lighting is Bright, But You Won’t Need Shades
LEDs are taking over the lighting market and will eventually render technologies like fluorescent tubes and metal halides obsolete. Their performance, efficiency and illumination quality not only costs less to operate, it also means LED lights are comfortable for people to work and live by.
The only hurdle for most organizations is the upfront cost associated with LEDs, but with retrofittable fixtures and their low operating costs, even that will soon be a problem of the past, if it isn’t already.
The future of lighting is powered by LED. The present is, as well.
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