The future is bright

The future is bright

ECN and Newey and Eyre take a look at the growing potential of LED lighting

Lighting in homes, commercial properties and even historical buildings have many different requirements when it comes to functionality and aesthetics. However, in the next decade we will see a paradigm shift where energy efficiency and operating costs are also factored into the basic level requirements. LED lighting technology is already proving to be popular with electricians, contractors and clients and once some of the technological features are ironed out and price reaches a competitive level LED lighting will become the standard not the extraordinary.

LED lighting is poised to be a ‘clearly dominant technology’ as the market prepares for extraordinary growth, currently the market penetration for LED lighting is three per cent at best, said Sullivan senior research analyst Neetha Jayanth. However, skip five years and the whole landscape will change. By 2017, the global market estimates for LED lighting technology products will be as big as $1.89bn up from $491m in 2010. This growth will be primarily driven by product improvements such as light quality, colour rendering and temperature management and pressures from government energy consumption targets.

In the UK the introduction of the Energy Related Product (ErP) Directive and legislation such as Part L have brought the use of intelligent control and LED technology to the fore with the planned phase out of incandescent bulbs and establish efficiency criteria in lighting technology.

The feedback from electricians and contractors at the wide network of Newey and Eyre branches and a survey carried out on admit they have benefited greatly from the commercial opportunities the ErP has presented. When putting together quotes for customers, cost is always a big factor so it is important that contractors and electricians not only find a supplier who can provide energy efficient products at a competitive price but also educate the customer on the long term benefits which offset the long term costs.

‘As long as there are no economies of scale for LED lighting, the market conditions will remain difficult,’ Jayanth explained. ‘Vendors could focus on bringing higher quality products to the markets—that is lamps with more lumens per watt at the constant price level. This will reduce the payback period for the consumers, and LEDs will become more competitive with regard to other energy efficient technologies.’ Driving the acceptance is the fact that due to its better energy efficiency LED lights lead to lower operating costs.

Along with other manufacturers, Newlec has introduced T5 battens and modular fittings which have intelligent controls built in which help with meeting legislation. An example of the kind of energy savings possible can be shown with the use of an on/off sensor luminaire in a break room. A standard installation of 10 x 1x58W battens replaced with 1 x 35W on/off luminaires can result in lighting only running for an average of 3.5 hours per day, rather than 10 hours per day, giving an overall saving of 2,473 hours per year.

The upfront investment however is still rather high, while the price difference will narrow in the long run, it will delay broader acceptance among consumers. With legislation undoubtedly set to further drive technical innovation. However, with the vast number of manufacturers and suppliers entering this relatively new market, great care must be taken when choosing a product to ensure that legislation (such as Part L) is met.

Chris Tranter, product manager, lamps and lighting for Newey & Eyre, said, ‘From the consumers’ perspective, there is still a certain amount of confusion, but this has only increased reliance on the electrical professional for advice and the best equipment and techniques to use for a project. LED is fast becoming the norm, enabling contractors and electricians to provide their customers with modern equipment that will meet legislation, help keep their energy usage and costs down while reducing carbon emissions.’

Commercial LED bulbs can typically last about 10-15 years once they’re installed, which provides significant cost savings in cases of a large industrial facility or a warehouse when you consider the amount of replacements and manpower that is wasted in maintaining tungsten bulbs or other forms of lighting. –

Looking to the future, it would appear that LED technology is beginning to meet many requirements for professional lighting installations and the industry is on the verge of some exciting new developments with talk of OLED – organic LED – being the next trend. Highly technical, many of the leading manufacturers are working on developing OLED lamps from pure theory into products for regular applications to provide lower capital outlay and running costs. While such products aren’t available off the shelf just yet, we can be confident that with the pace of change it won’t be too long before they are as common as LED is now becoming.

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