While the world waits for the LED lighting market to take off, one sector of the market is quietly gaining traction. Increasingly, property owners are turning to LED tubes for lighting where they once used fluorescent tubes. An LED tube can typically reduce the electricity by 50% or more over an incumbent T12 or T8 fluorescent tube. In fact, the US Department of Energy recently reported that “most commercially-available T12 lamps are too inefficient to meet the amended standards and can no longer be manufactured for distribution in commerce after July 14, 2012.”
This new T12 fluorescent tube ban sets up a very robust market for LED-based tubes in office parks, retail and industrial environments as well as new construction. According to the U.S. Department of Energy there are more than 2.3 billion fluorescent tubes in America and approximately 600 million fluorescent tubes burn out each year in America leading to maintenance and replacement costs. The fluorescent tubes, like CFLs, also contain highly toxic mercury making bulb disposal and accidental breakage a potentially costly problem.
According to consultancy ElectroniCast, the LED tube subset of the overall LED market is forecast to increase at an annual growth rate of 22% from 2011 to 2016 before increasing the pace until 2021. Further, ElectroniCast forecast that the global consumption of LED linear tube lamps, used in new construction, retrofitting and replacement applications for fluorescent linear tube lamps, will reach $2.89 billion in 2021.
One of the beneficiaries of the trend is Pennsylvania-based Independence LED Lighting, LLC. The company recently announced that its 2011 LED Tube sales grew nearly 300% from 2010. The increase was highlighted by a large order by national auto service chain in Q4 2011. Independence LED delivered LED tubes to retrofit the first 50 of more than 800 locations in the chain, and the project may stand as the largest retrofit to date with “US Made LED Tubes in American History.”
According to a press release about the above average industry increase in LED tube sales, Charlie Szoradi, Chairman and CEO of Independence LED Lighting said, “We knew that we were doing well, but we were surprised we were growing so much faster than the industry. We credit our growth and leadership position to five key factors: Our Shift in Manufacturing from China to America, Thermal Management, UL Classification, Reseller Support, and the overall Recession that has forced Owners and Managers to look harder at their operating costs.”
San Francisco-based NEXT Lighting took a different approach with their retrofit LED lighting. According to a company news release, the NEXTLamp 4-foot replacement lamp is a mercury-free lighting solution that is dimmable, quiet, and flicker-free, delivering an overall more pleasing lighting experience. LEDs Magazine recently featured the new lamps. Unlike other replacement lamps according to LEDs Magazine, the design uses thermoplastics to injection mold the linear structure for the lamp leading to more efficient heat dissipation and a longer life (50,000 hours). The LEDs mount along both sides of the centerline of the structure to reflect more efficiently. The replacement lamps are due out in Q3 2012.
For Further Reading:
Impact of Amended Energy Conservation Standards on General Service Fluorescent Lamps: FACT SHEET, http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance_standards/residential/pdfs/general_service_fluorescent_factsheet.pdf
LEDs Magazine, Linear SSL, http://www.nextlighting.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/120950-1160e-LEDs.pdf
LEDinside.com, American Independence LED Benefits from LED Tubes Market Share over Chinese Imports http://www.ledinside.com/news/2012/3/american_independence_led_tubes_market_20120328
GreenandSave.com News, LED Tube Light Trend Report: The High Performance LED Tube, http://www.greenandsave.com/green_news/green-science-technology/led-tube-light-trend-report-high-performance-led-tube-10077