The first commercially viable light-emitting diodes (LEDs) shared a decade with The Beatles’ debut, Mickey Mantle’s Hall of Fame career and Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon.
Mankind and LEDs have taken quite a few large steps since then.
“LEDs are replacing HID lighting and other lighting sources because of their superior quality and rising value,” said Bob Smith, a professional engineer and director of energy marketing solutions for Eaton’s lighting division. “LED technology is improving so quickly, things that historically took 12 to 15 years to progress are now taking only two to three years.”
Here are Smith’s top 10 technologies and trends in LED lighting:
Modern LED technology makes optical control easier and more precise compared to its HID and compact fluorescent counterparts. This is especially useful for outdoor and roadway lighting.
And, there’s no light lost. Today’s LEDs are just as luminous as their energy-hungry counterparts.
LED lighting can be dimmed in large-scale systems (during daylight hours, for example). Integrated controls make it easier to score big energy savings with little to no commissioning.
Because we can control the light more effectively, we can move the light closer to the ground–and reduce the wattage.
The lumen depreciation factor for the average HID lamp is 0.6. For LEDs, this number surges to above 0.9. This means you’d have to add 40 percent more HID luminaires and power over time to go head-to-head with comparable LEDs, which would only require 10 percent or less additional power over time.
This unique, integrated set of components creates a luminous, glare-free plane of light that can be designed to fit almost any residential, commercial or industrial application. As a result, architects, contractors and others are thinking about lighting environments in an entirely new way.
Most LEDs take 50,000 hours to reach 70 percent depreciation, at which point they should be replaced. In that amount of time, you’d have to do about 13 traditional relampings for a 10,000 hour lamp.
Controls systems reduce the amount of power used, which is a primary cause of lumen depreciation. By dimming your LED lights, you can widen the gap even more.
A gold mine for data hounds, network systems capture analytics that will be particularly useful in retail environments. For example, which store aisles get the most traffic, and how do traffic patterns fluctuate at certain times of day?
Remember when a phone was just a phone? Now you can count steps, pay bills, book flights, watch movies, order pizza and more–all on a device that fits in the palm of your hand. LED luminaires are headed that way, too. Lighting engineers are enhancing the value of already-advanced LEDs by adding functions like cameras, occupancy sensing and wireless networking.
The evolution of LED technology will only continue to speed up from here. “All of these things are working together to multiply the value proposition of LEDs, underlining why they’re the source of today and the future,” Smith said. “We have a very long runway.”