The Rise of the LED

With EISA of 2007, Congress set forth the rise of the LED. The new standards launched a paradigm shift within the residential lighting market. The incandescent technology in the U.S. will be phased out, and, as per the standards, there are only three alternatives to fill the empty sockets in every American home and business: CFLs, halogen and LEDs.

Each alternative has its good and bad points. CFLs, while more energy efficient than incandescents, also contain harmful mercury. Not many people want to take out an EPA certified disposal kit to clean up a light bulb (yes, you actually have to and can pick up the kits at many home and hardware stores). Then, halogen bulbs tend to cost the same as CFLs, but don’t last any longer. LEDs have improved over the years. LEDs last about 50,000 hours (compared to 1,000 for an incandescent) and are about 30% more energy efficient. They still cost a pretty penny, but the costs are expected to come down to more reasonable levels. Home Depot now offers a proprietary brand of LEDs under the EcoSmart name, including a bulb that retails for $19.97 and is a 40W equivalent.

By 2015, IMS analyst Phillip Smallwood “expects LED lamp replacement installations will greatly increase. Technological breakthroughs will make these lamps look more like general incandescent lamps, all while being cost competitive with CFLs. At the same time, concerns over the mercury contained in CFL lamps and their shorter life will make them less and less appealing to consumers. More rebate programs will be established for LEDs leading to even more replacements being installed.” Here’s what he thinks the market will look like.

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