LED Applications – Celebrating the Royal Birth in LEDs

London and the world celebrated the birth of the latest heir to the British throne, Prince George Alexander Louis, in style with LEDs.  A number of landmarks in London turned blue to celebrate the occasion and even a few outside of the UK turned blue in honor of the future king.  For a video, go to this BBC story.

The 600 foot tall BT Tower used more than 500K LEDs for the announcement:

royal baby BT Tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The famous London Eye ferris wheel turned red, white and blue:

Royalblu_381

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fountain at Trafalgar Square marked the occasion in blue:

Trafalgar square

 

 

 

 

 

Even the London Bridge turned blue:

London Bridge in Blue

 

 

 

 

 

Not to be outdone, North America celebrated too with Niagra Falls turning blue:

Niagra Falls Blue

 

 

 

 

 

Toronto’s CN Tower:

Toronto CN Tower

 

 

 

 

 

Christchurch Airport in New Zealand turned blue too.

Christchurch Airport NZ

 

 

 

 

 

For Further Reading and Viewing

The BBC, Royal baby: London landmarks turn blue for birth, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23416932 (video)

The Daily Mail, The world turns a Royal shade of blue, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2374793/Kate-Middleton-gives-birth-Royal-baby-boy-landmarks-globe-illuminated.html

Benefits of LED Lighting for Cows and Bees

CowsMany industries are looking at using LEDs, but researchers may have found some unexpected benefits of LED lighting for cows and bees.

Iowa Farmer Today reported that dairy cows produce more milk with LED lighting.  While it is still early, a 2010 Oklahoma State study comparing LED lighting to traditional light in dairies resulted in a 6% bump in milk production for the cows exposed to LED lighting.

The experiment compared a 500-cow free-stall barn outfitted with LEDs on one side and traditional metal halide lighting on the other.  Researchers found that cows responded positively to LED light with increased milk production.  Researchers observed that the directional light from LEDs provided the cows with a boost in feed intake.  The researchers don’t know if the increase in milk production is from the feed intake itself, or a possible increase in hormones that promote milk production. In order to prove that LED light increases milk production researchers will need to study further.  They’ll need to determine the effects of increased light, intensity and other variables as well as replicate the study at different facilities.

Pollination by bees is a necessary part of growing flowers and crops.  But bumble bees suffer from poor vision and sensitivity to certain wavelengths of light. In fact, northern climates have shorter growing seasons in part due to the lack of available natural light for pollinator bumble bees.  Use of artificial light sources in horticulture has been an issue due to the bumble bee’s limited vision under UVB, blue and green light.  Finding an artificial light source that works with pollinator bees will help horticulture in areas with limited natural light.

LED grow-light manufacturer Valoya demonstrated the functionality of their lights in a tomato trial at PlantResearch in Made, Netherlands.  The company compared pollinator bee activity in two compartments: one with LED lighting and another with only natural light. The bees in the LED compartment started flying out to flowers immediately when the AP67-LED lights were turned on.  The bees in compartments with high pressure sodium lights on (and an open hatch) only started to move 4 hours later when some natural light became available through the open hatch.  More study is needed, but LED-grow lights may prove effective to increase pollination time in areas with limited amounts of natural light.

For Further Reading

Iowa Farmer Today, Milking lighting to boost production, http://www.iowafarmertoday.com/news/dairy/milking-lighting-to-boost-production/article_4b824b94-028a-11e2-8a2d-001a4bcf887a.html

Valoya Press Release, Valoya’s Horticultural LED Lights Enable Pollinator Bees to Operate without Natural Light, http://www.valoya.com/document-repository/press-releases/document/valoyas-horticultural-led-lights-enable-pollinator-bees-to-operate-without-natural-light?format=raw

LEDs Magazine, Valoya claims additional benefits for LEDs in horticulture, bees like SSL, http://ledsmagazine.com/news/10/6/13

The Art of Light – James Turrell Brings LED Light to the Guggenheim

Aten Rein

A rendering of James Turrell’s ‘Aten Rein,’ which uses LED lights and make use of sunlight from the museum’s skylight. (Source: James Turrell/Andreas Tjeldflaat/Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation)

One of the world’s most renowned artists working with light, James Turrell, is transforming New York’s Guggenheim museum with LED light.  The exposition, “Aten Rein,” opened on June 21 and runs through September 25.  The exhibit, six years in the making, will transform the museum itself into an exhibit of light using LEDs.

Aten Rein uses LEDs to light the rotunda of the iconic architectural landmark designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  Turrell takes the natural light from the museum’s huge glass skylight and the museum’s unique shape to bathe the central rotunda area of the museum in a mixture of natural and LED light.  LEDs illuminate the five rings of the rotunda in bands of changing colors.  You can see how the column of light forms in the photo.

According to Turrell in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the name Aten Rein comes from the ancient Egyptian deification of light.  During the reign of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten, the Aten became the principle god of ancient Egypt.  Aten was the name for the sun itself. Turrell, world famous for his exhibitions in light, is also the subject of simultaneous retrospectives at The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, TX and The Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, CA.

For Further Reading

Wall Street Journal, Iconic Museum Seen in a New Light, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324688404578543720866432566.html

The Architectural Record, James Turrell at the Guggenheim, http://archrecord.construction.com/news/2013/06/130620-James-Turrell-at-the-Guggenheim.asp

The New York Times, How James Turrell Knocked the Art World Off Its Feet, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/16/magazine/how-james-turrell-knocked-the-art-world-off-its-feet.html?ref=jamesturrell

Lightfair 2013 – Observations about LEDs from Philadelphia

The LFI Innovation Award went to Philips BoldPlay  for Most Innovative Product of the Year

The Lightfair International trade show and conference was recently held in Philadelphia.  According to the organizers, LIGHTFAIR International (LFI) is the world’s largest annual commercial and architectural lighting trade show and conference.  Sponsored by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), the 2012 show had more than 24,000 registered attendees from 73 countries. It is clearly a big deal in the lighting industry.

Here’s a round-up of some analysis of LEDs at the show and a quick look at industry awards from LFI.

The engineers from Groom Energy made their annual trek to Lightfair and included an analysis of their trek in their blog.  This year, they noticed a difference in the quality of light from LEDs on display.  The light the LEDs on display put off was the more familiar, warmer light similar to the light put out by an incandescent. LEDs also got smarter with lighting controls evolved from being add-ons to being embedded. Jon Guerster, the author of the blog, speculates that California’s Title 24 that requires lighting controls may be a driver for all of the new smart lighting controls.  Finally, the Groom Energy team found that LED fixtures no longer looked distinct like LED fixtures, but sported the familiar look of incandescent, HID and fluorescent fixtures from the past. Now, you can’t tell that there are LEDs inside.

The LED analyst team from IMS Research traveled from London to Philadelphia and posted an analysis about the show on their LED blog.  IMS Analyst Jamie Fox noted that the show no longer featured that “Wow” moment.  He said this is due to the relative maturity of LED lighting.  The maturity and evolution of the LED market also led to two key observations from IMS.

According to Fox, there’s no clear winning sector in the American LEDs general lighting market.  Fox and his colleagues were told by LED manufacturers that residential, retail, outdoor, hospitality and others all have a “significant” part of the pie but none of them dominates. This was supported by IMS observations of the product mix on the show floor.  As for LED manufacturers, Fox noted that the “big three” — Nichia, Cree and Lumileds — are leaders in the American LED market and while global LED players like Samsung, Seoul Semiconductor, Osram and others play a role in the US, the “big three” are consistently mentioned as clear leaders in the market.

Finally, Fox noted that industry price decreases versus quality was an issue for many at the show.  According to Fox, “there is a significant worry though, both from my own observations of product, and from show floor conversations, that it is becoming too much of a lowest price fight at the moment, and not enough advancement on quality.”  Fox says low price may not ensure that a customer will be happy with the light quality from an LED bulb that doesn’t compare well to an incandescent bulb.

The LFI Innovation Awards program honored lighting vendors for innovation and design. Here are a few of the top winners:

  • PHILIPS (BoldPlay): Most Innovative Product of the Year—the program’s highest award, recognizing the most innovative new product
  • COOLEDGE LIGHTING (Light Sheet): Design Excellence Award—recognizing outstanding achievement in design
  • DOW CORNING CORPORATION (Dow Corning® Brand Moldable Silicones): Technical Innovation Award—recognizing the most forward-thinking advancement in lighting technology
  • PHILIPS (hue personal wireless lighting): Judges’ Citation Award—special recognition of an innovative product at the judges’ discretion

For Further Reading

Groom Energy, LightFair 2013: LED Lighting Is Warm, Smart and Looks Like What You Know, http://blog.groomenergy.com/2013/04/lightfair-2013-led-lighting-is-warm-smart-and-looks-like-what-you-know/

IMS RESEARCH, LED Blog, LEDs Continue to Evolve At LIGHTFAIR, http://www.ledmarketresearch.com/blog/leds_continue_to_evolve_at_lightfair

Street Lights of the Future that Can Fight Crime

Chattanooga’s Coolidge Park (credit: John Bamber)

Street lights in Chattanooga, Tennessee are very smart and they can fight crime too.  A Chattanooga company, Global Green Lighting, has developed the smart street light of the future.  As described in a profile in The Atlantic Cities magazine, the city of Chattanooga was having gang problems in Coolidge Park, one of their city parks. The situation got so bad in 2011 that the city was facing a decision to close the park at dusk or light the park with gigantic flood lights for safety.  Along came Global Green Lighting to save the day!

Global Green Lighting installed a new smart LED lighting system in Coolidge Park.  Not only does the new LED lighting system provide better, less expensive lighting for the park, but the new wirelessly enabled LED lighting system offers the city the ability to work smarter.  Each light can be controlled specifically to turn on at dusk and turn off at dawn. Each light also can turn into a crime fighting tool like a search light or brighten to illuminate a crime scene or trail a suspect as he or she sprints down a road.  While park goers can’t activate the changes in the LED lighting, the lights can be controlled right from a police cruiser on site.

The LED lighting system also brings other advantages for the city.  They can flash warning signals in emergencies like weather alerts. Further, they’ll be wired into the city’s power system and broadband network so the city can plug in devices like air quality sensors, video cameras, or WiFi routers.

After a successful test of 350 lights last year, Chattanooga worked with Global Green Lighting to replace the city’s 26,500 streetlamps at a cost of $18.1 million.  The city estimates that the new lights will save $2.7 million each year when the project is completed in late 2013 and the system will pay for itself within seven years. Further, the system is so smart that it will alert the city when one of the LED lights is having a maintenance issue, letting them know which one needs service.

For Further Reading

Global Green Lighting, www.globalgreenlighting.com

The Atlantic Cities, The Streetlight of the Future Will Do So Much More Than Light Your Street, http://www.theatlanticcities.com/technology/2013/03/streetlight-future-will-do-so-much-more-light-your-street/4958/

BusinessWeek, Chattanooga’s Radio-Operated Streetlamps, http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-05-10/chattanoogas-radio-operated-streetlamps

 

The Bay Bridge – LED Light Art Beacons

“The Bay Lights” on the Bay Bridge that crosses San Francisco Bay from San Francisco to Oakland.

In honor of the 75th anniversary of the Bay Bridge, the city of San Francisco and non-profit Illuminate the Arts unveiled a new light exhibition, The Bay Lights, a 1.8 mile-long installation of 25,000 white LED lights along the West Span of the bridge that spans San Francisco Bay from San Francisco to Oakland.  The LED lights are on from dusk until 2:00 a.m. for the length of the two year exhibition.

The project was created by world renowned light artist Leo Villareal.  Known internationally for his light sculptures and site-specific architectural work, Villareal’s art is in permanent collections of prestigious museums including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum in Kagawa, Japan.

According to Villareal in LEDs Magazine, “This isn’t about just lighting another bridge with white or colored light. The Bay Lights emphasizes the use of intelligent lighting, fully utilizing individual control and the ability to create 255 levels of brightness per node.”

The project uses Philips Color Kinetics eW Flex SLX product in a 4200K CCT. These LEDs are made up of flexible strings of individually controllable white LED nodes that are attached at 1-ft intervals on the suspension cables. Each cable features LEDs that light up in specially programmed patterns including animations moving across the span, multi-dimensional waves of movement, and light-level changes for impact.

For the energy conscious, The Bay Lights is estimated to cost $11,000 in energy a year. The Bay Lights organizers believe that the project will bring upwards of $100 million to San Francisco in tourism revenue.  While not visible to travelers on the bridge itself, San Francisco’s Mayor Ed Lee believes that an estimated 50 million people in San Francisco and the North and East Bay will eventually see the lights.

For Further Reading

The Bay Lights, http://thebaylights.org/

San Francisco Examiner, Leo Villareal’s ‘Bay Lights’ set to sparkle Bay Bridge for next few years, http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2013/03/leo-villareals-bay-lights-set-sparkle-bay-bridge-next-few-years#ixzz2NWm7XSqB

LEDs Magazine, Philips LEDs convert Bay Bridge to light sculpture, http://ledsmagazine.com/news/10/3/6

 

Tipping Point 2: Finally, A Sub $10 LED Light Bulb

Cree’s new sub-$10, 40-watt equivalent LED light bulb

This past week, Cree introduced a brand new 40W LED light bulb that will be available at Home Depot for less than $10. The $10 mark is very important.  As we mentioned in the blog before, the $10 mark is the tipping point where many analysts and vendors believe mass adoption will occur.  According to analysts at IMS, “It’s not just the psychological impact (i.e. $9.99 vs. $10.00); it also just happens that this is around the point where the payback arguments make sense.”

Cree agrees. “The Cree LED light bulb was designed to offer consumers a no-compromise lighting experience at a compelling price,” said Chuck Swoboda, Cree chairman and CEO.  “Over the last couple of years we recognized that the consumer is instrumental in the adoption of LED lighting, but we needed to give them a reason to switch. We believe this breakthrough LED bulb will, for the first time, give consumers a reason to upgrade the billions of energy-wasting light bulbs.”

According to Cree, Cree LED bulbs save 84 percent of energy compared to traditional incandescent light bulbs.  They have calculated that consumers can save $61 per year on electric bills by replacing incandescent bulbs with Cree LED bulbs in a home’s five most frequently used light fixtures. Their calculations are based on Cree LED bulb 60W replacements at 9.5 watt, $0.11 per kilowatt-hour, 25,000 hour lifetime and average usage of 6 hours per day.

In addition to the new $10 LED light bulb, Cree will have two other light bulbs available exclusively at The Home Depot. Here are details about all three:

  • $9.97, a “warm white” 40-watt equivalent, with 450 lumens of light for 6W of electricity
  • $12.97, a “warm white” 60-watt equivalent, providing 800 lumens of light for 9.5W of electricity
  • $13.97, a “day light” 60-watt equivalent, with 800 lumens of light at a cost of 9W of electricity

Consumer Reports announced that they’ll be putting Cree’s LED light bulbs through the test. We’ll keep you posted on their testing in Clearlysapphire.com.

Further Reading

Cree, Cree Introduces The Biggest Thing Since the Light Bulb™, http://www.cree.com/news-and-events/cree-news/press-releases/2013/march/bulbs

Consumer Reports, LED prices drop as competition heats up, http://news.consumerreports.org/home/2013/03/led-prices-drop-as-competition-suddenly-heats-up.html

MIT Technology Review, Once-Pricey LED Bulbs to Dip Under $10, http://www.technologyreview.com/view/512236/once-pricey-led-bulbs-to-dip-under-10/

The Verge, Cree’s $13 LED light bulb is the best yet, looks and feels incandescent (hands-on), http://www.theverge.com/2013/3/5/4068174/cree-10-dollar-led-light-bulb-incandescent

Clearlysapphire.com, Tipping Point: Earth Day, 100W Light Bulb Reprieve and Alexander Hamilton, http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=169

IMS Research, DOES LED LIGHTING HAVE A TIPPING POINT?, http://www.ledmarketresearch.com/blog/Does_LED_Lighting_Have_A_Tipping_Point_270

Industrial LED Lighting Gains Momentum

 

LED lighting in an industrial location (source, Greenbiz.com, http://bit.ly/YZFMbE)

IDC Energy Insights reports that the industrial market for LEDs is picking up momentum as companies looking to build new “smart” facilities or retrofit old ones choose energy efficient LED lighting.  Adoption of LEDs for industrial lighting is good news for the commercial sapphire market and others in the LED supply chain. More LED lighting means more demand for sapphire.

First, let’s start with some background.  Warehouses are particularly fertile ground for LED lighting since instant-on LED lights provide virtually no cycle time compared to traditional industrial lighting sources like HID (high-intensity discharge lamps) along with lower lifetime costs (including maintenance), higher efficacy and local utility incentives among others.

For those who watched the recent Super Bowl in New Orleans, the HID lights may be familiar.   After the electricity loss during the second half, the lengthy delay in the game – more than 20 minutes — was partially due to the cycle time of the HID lighting for the interior of the stadium.  In a warehouse situation, HID cycle time becomes a big issue as no one wants to wait for the lights to cycle and as a result, many warehouses just keep the lights on, running up energy costs.

IDC Energy Insights research analyst Casey Talon commented in her clean energy blog that LED lighting and “smart building” will be the disruptive technology for energy efficiency over the next three years.

Talon highlighted two big announcements in early January 2013 that demonstrate the momentum of smart building with LED lighting.  First, lighting leader Acuity Brands acquired Adura Technologies.  Adura’s Zigbee wireless mesh architecture enables individual fixture controls for cost and energy savings.  Secondly, Digital Lumens, a leader in the industrial lighting solutions market, announced new growth numbers and funding, that demonstrates the viability of the emerging smart building technology segment.  The company secured a new round of $10 million in financing and reported a footprint of 500 ‘large-scale’ installations representing 150% growth.

She notes in the blog that “fundamentally this news demonstrates that end users are increasingly aware of the benefits of energy efficiency to both their bottom lines and corporate goals.  The activity in these markets illustrates a growing acceptance of upfront costs to achieve longer term benefits.”

LED lighting combined with lighting control and management software offers the ability to track and manage the benefits of LED lighting.  Wireless controls and analytics help building managers understand when to have lighting on or off when employees are present, measure “free” ambient light from outside to cut down reliance on lighting, and know when and where to adjust brightness in areas when high precision work is needed.

Using analytics already is paying off.  According to one case study from Digital Lumens, Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services North America, a worldwide leader in helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul for Sikorsky, Eurocopter, AgustaWestland and Boeing helicopters, saved more than 72% on their annual energy costs with a Digital Lumens retrofit.

According to Talon, “If these early announcements are a signal, then 2013 may mark a tipping point in the smart buildings marketplace as customer awareness and investment begin to converge for broader adoption of intelligent energy management solutions.”

Further Reading

IDC Energy Insights, Illuminating the Smart Building, https://idc-insights-community.com/energy/clean-energy/illuminatingthesmartbuilding

Greenbiz.com, LED lighting gaining traction in commercial retrofits, http://www.greenbiz.com/news/2013/02/05/led-lighting-gaining-traction-commercial-retrofits

LED Lighting Growth Update

This week, LED lighting market research firm Strategies Unlimited announced some very positive research about LED lighting as well as the LED industry as a whole.  Strategies Unlimited measured the LED component revenue for lighting applications and noted that it reached $3.11 billion in 2012, just beating out the large area display backlight segment at $3.06 billion for top LED application.

This is good news for sapphire, as the substrate for more than 80 percent of the world’s LEDs. The more demand for LEDs and LED lighting, the greater demand for sapphire. Examining lighting further, Strategies Unlimited said that the total illumination market for 2012 is estimated at $14.52 billion.  LED lighting, including LED replacement lamps and luminaires, is estimated at $11.72 billion—an increase of 26% between 2011 and 2012—and it is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 12% over 2012-2017.

Another interesting area of growth is the automotive market.  Beyond the Audi A8s with their signature eyebrow LED headlights, LEDs are catching on with other auto makers.  Strategies Unlimited puts the total market for LEDs in the automotive segment at $1.4 billion in 2012 and estimates that it will grow to $2.1 billion in 2017. Where’s the growth?  The firm says the number of cars with LED headlights nearly doubled in 2012.  LED daytime running lights also contributed to the growth.

Here’s a look at how LED applications break out according to Strategies Unlimited:

Strategies Unlimited, Worldwide LED Revenue Forecast by Market Segment (Source: Solid State Technology)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further Reading

Strategies Unlimited, WORLDWIDE LED COMPONENT MARKET GROWS 9% WITH LIGHTING RANKING FIRST AMONG ALL APPLICATION SEGMENTS,ACCORDING TO STRATEGIES UNLIMITED, http://www.strategies-u.com/articles/2013/02/worldwide-led-component-market-grew-9–to–13-7-billion-with-lig.html

Solid State Technology, Worldwide LED component market grows 9% with lighting, http://www.electroiq.com/articles/sst/2013/02/worldwide-led-component-market-grows-9-percent-with-lighting-.html?cmpid=EnlLedFebruary132013

 

 

 

 

LED Light Bulbs Grow in Popularity

Philips 12.5W LED A19 bulb on sale on Homedepot.com for $22.97 US.

A big part of the market opportunity for sapphire is LED lighting.  When the LED lighting market grows, the demand for sapphire, one of the main building blocks for LED chips will increase too.  We’ve been tracking the LED lighting market and take a look at a recent report by Diane Cardwell in The New York Times, LEDs Emerge as a Popular ‘Green’ Lighting.

Cardwell examined the growth in popularity of LED lighting in the piece.  Cardwell notes that the energy-efficient replacement LED bulbs are popular with consumers despite being more expensive than traditional incandescent bulbs.  She also looked at the marketing success of LED lighting at retailers like Home Depot and technological improvements by manufacturers like Philips.

Cardwell reported that the growth of LED sales outpaced other lighting technologies in the residential market even though the market share still is small at 3 percent.  She attributes the growth to price decreases and the appeal of saving money on energy to consumers.

Brad Paulsen, from mega home retailer Home Depot, told Cardwell that he anticipates that LED technology will become the most popular lighting technology that is out there.  Home Depot has been selling LED light bulbs since 2009 according to information Bill Hamilton from Home Depot shared at a Department of Energy, 2012 Solid-State Lighting Market Introduction Workshop.  The retailer now sells 104 options online and in-store.  Consumers are seeing healthy price decreases.  For example, a Philips 12.5W LED A19 bulb (a 60W equivalent) decreased in price 37% to $24.97 between 2011 and 2012 at Home Depot and now sells on the Home Depot website for $22.97.

The Times article highlighted some interesting market statistics about LED lighting.  A-type LEDs, the most common bulb size that fits in home light sockets, will outsell incandescent bulbs in North America in 2014, according to market research firm IMS Research.  The firm also maintains that LEDs will become the most popular A-type technology by 2016 with North American shipments reaching almost 370 million, more than 10 times the roughly 33 million shipped last year.

Light bulb manufacturers are seeing LED lighting growth as well.  Cardwell noted that Philips, a major manufacturer of light bulbs in the US, saw LED light bulbs contribute to 24 percent of lighting sales in 2012. Overall LED-based sales grew by 51%, and now account for 24% of total lighting sales for Philips in Q3 2012. Philips took in over EUR 500 million, that’s around $650 million in US dollars, in LED-based sales for the third quarter.  That’s a lot of LEDs.

For Further Reading

Bill Hamilton, Home Depot presentation, Department of Energy, 2012 Solid-State Lighting Market Introduction Workshop, http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/publications/pdfs/ssl/hamilton_trends_pittsburgh2012.pdf

New York Times, LEDs Emerge as a Popular ‘Green’ Lighting, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/22/business/leds-emerge-as-a-popular-green-lighting.html?_r=0