The Lighting Revolution is Taking Place Now. Here’s What You Must Know.
Innovation and change means survival. Constant incremental change, developing new solutions and meeting customers’ control needs are engines of commerce. It is undeniable that we are moving towards lighting products that are more energy efficient, low environmental impact, and longer life among many other factors. All of these sound great, but the lack of clarity on the final destination of this revolution causes the masses to become uncomfortable with making a move to a new light source. Where will the industry be in 10 years? Will I waste money if I buy a new system now or should I wait? What new regulations will affect the industry? Our goal is to bring clarity and understanding to the LED Revolution at large. The LED Revolution is moving fast. We are here to keep you up to speed.
What we are likely to see over the next few years:
- The phasing out of incandescent lighting in all its forms. This will continue across the world. Most countries will regulate this technology from the marketplace.
- The phasing out of technologies that have substances in their manufacture that are hazardous or poisonous to the environment, such as mercury. This may start to be legislated out of the marketplace as technologies are replaced by others that are more efficient and effective.
- We are also likely to see the phasing out of technologies that are difficult to recycle and reprocess into new products.
- With the rising cost of energy, we are likely to see greater use of daylight as a mechanism for lighting buildings. This can be from a variety of sources and methods, including light wells or light tubes, and the greater use of glass on roofs and for walls. Daylight is free: the challenge is to control it and to reduce the impact of heat.
- We are likely to see greater use of controls in buildings, more intelligent controls and greater use of integrated controls across building systems.
- We are also likely to witness a reduction in the cost and use of energy for lighting in the public realm with the greater use of off-grid systems using solar wind energy to supply the power, initially in remote locations but eventually across cities. This will also improve security of supply.
- The public realm is likely to make greater use of networked lighting systems offering greater flexibility, together with low-energy switching, dimming and the use of absence or presence detection.
- Public realm and commercial lighting will move into the managed services sector as lighting becomes more predictable, and building managers and lighting manufacturers will share responsibilities, technology updates and energy savings.
- With the adoption of Solar Panels (PV), it is easy to see the move to DC lighting systems reducing the need for drivers and all the transforming losses associated with AC systems. Coupled with the integration of PV in glass building skins, it is possible that the window will be the PV panel and even city office systems could be off-grid, including computing. This would offer resilience from grid electricity failures and cheaper bills.
- As we are already seeing a drop in unit price for LED replacement lighting, we are also seeing the market grow. This will continue, especially as consumer electronics and TV manufacturers with chip-making capacity enter the marketplace. This is already evident with Hitachi, Samsung, Panasonic, Verbatim and Toshiba.
- LED has a while to go before it meets its fundamental limits for lighting so it will become the lighting of choice as it is highly controllable and very energy efficient, and will only become even more so in the future.
- oLED will have applications in the general lighting sectors if it becomes more robust and efficient and the unit price drops. It may never supersede LED but could become complementary. It may be more widely accepted if it becomes printable using plastic electronics, and research is advancing in this area.
The lighting revolution is taking place right now and is set to continue. It will be a combination of:
- Not lighting some things we do now
- Using more daylight
- Controlling lighting with intelligent systems
- Replacing light sources and systems with more energy-efficient technologies
- Truly smart lighting products
- Moving towards DC-based, off-grid systems
- Locating individual luminaires with GPS to reduce maintenance cost and improve lifetime management
- The development of LED technologies such as GaN on GaN and finding solutions to any public health concerns with AC LEDs (we are watching this one to see where it goes…)
There is a lot of innovation and change in the world of sustainability/energy savings. I suppose thats the point and a good thing to see. The world we know today will likely be very different from the world we know in 10 years. The “quickening” of technological innovation can make it hard to keep up, especially as our lives become more dynamic and complicated. Staying on top of the lighting tech curve gives insight into the world of tomorrow as well as an understanding of the direction we are moving and what changes be must be prepared for. Everyone will end up benefitting in countless ways by this much needed lighting revolution. Let’s not resist, rather understand the changes and ride the wave to a higher, less costly, quality of life. Viva la revolution!