Wednesday, January 23, 2013
NYT: LEDs emerge as a popular ‘green’ lightingHere is an article by Diane Cardwell from the New York Times:
LEDs emerge as a popular ‘green’ lighting
"The lighting industry has finally come up with an energy-efficient replacement for the standard incandescent bulb that people actually seem to like: the LED bulb.
Although priced at around 20 times more than the old-fashioned incandescents, bulbs based on LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, last much longer and use far less electricity, a saving that homeowners are beginning to recognize. Prices for the bulbs are falling steadily as retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s sell them aggressively and manufacturers improve the technology.
And because the light in LED bulbs comes from chips, companies have been able to develop software applications that let users control the bulbs, even change the color of the light, with tablets and smartphones. Apple sells a three-pack of such bulbs, made by Philips, with the hardware to operate them for about $200.
“You’re seeing all of your growth in the LED category,” said Brad Paulsen, a Home Depot merchant. “We absolutely expect LED technology in four or five years to be the most popular lighting technology that’s out there.”
Last year, LED sales, though small at about 3 percent of the residential market by some estimates, grew faster than those of any other lighting technology, according to retailers and analysts.
Among A-type bulbs, the most common, LEDs will outsell incandescents in North America in 2014, according to projections by IMS Research, an electronics research firm that is now part of IHS Inc. And LEDs will become the most popular A-type technology by 2016, with North American shipments reaching almost 370 million, a more than tenfold increase from the roughly 33 million shipped last year, the firm estimates.
Already at Philips, LEDs were responsible for 20 percent of lighting sales last year, according to Ed Crawford, general manager of the lamps division.
Incandescent bulbs, while cheap, are very inefficient, wasting most of their energy as heat as they pump electricity into filaments to make them glow. The government has been pushing consumers to other technologies for several years, in part by phasing out the manufacture or import of the least efficient bulbs.
The first big alternative to emerge, compact fluorescent bulbs, has left many consumers dissatisfied. The light quality is seen as harsher, the bulbs can be slow to warm up and difficult to dim, and they contain toxic materials.
LEDs are more expensive, but offer better light quality and more flexibility. And thanks to heavy marketing by retailers, customers are beginning to discover their appeal.
“The LED you buy, even though you pay even $25 or $30, it’ll last like nine or 10 years,” said Tariq Syed, a machinist at an electrical utility who was eyeing LEDs at the Home Depot in Vauxhall, N.J., on Thursday. “And environmentally, it’s safe, too.”
Bulb manufacturers are rushing into the market, sending prices falling. Home Depot sells some 40-watt-equivalent bulbs for about $10.
“Most of the manufacturers are moving toward new designs in solid state lighting, as are we,” said Jim Crowcroft, vice president for market development at TCP, a company based outside Cleveland that manufactures energy-efficient lighting under its own brand as well as the house brands of several mass retailers.
Although the company still sells far more compact fluorescent lights, growth in that business has slowed, while demand for LEDs is skyrocketing, he said. “In the long run, solid-state lighting is going to make a whole lot of sense for almost every lighting application.”
For the manufacturers, LEDs pose a new challenge. They offer higher profit margins, but because they can last for decades, people will be buying fewer bulbs — of any sort. The Energy Information Administration estimates that total light bulb sales will fall by almost 40 percent by 2015, to just under a billion from 1.52 billion bulbs, and continue their decline to about 530 million by 2035, with LEDs making up a steadily increasing portion of the market.
As a result, many companies are competing to establish themselves as popular brands.
“The company that can dominate will make a lot of money,” said Philip Smallwood, senior lighting market analyst at IMS Research. “So it’s a big push to get into it early.”
With demand growing for LEDs in other uses — like backlighted phone and computer screens, automotive lights and street lamps — manufacturers have been able to develop their technologies and benefit from economies of scale to help bring the price down, said Thomas J. Pincince, the chief executive of Digital Lumens, which sells LED systems to businesses.
In the commercial and industrial sector, use of LEDs is more common than in homes, analysts say, because companies are more likely to do the long-term cost-benefit analysis of buying lighting than homeowners, who are still largely driven by the upfront price.
Goldman Sachs estimates that in the residential sector, penetration of LEDs will rise from 3 percent last year to 16 percent in 2015, still lagging the commercial and industrial sector as well as outdoor applications like parking lots and billboards.
But as the cost of an LED approaches $10 — a tipping point that would speed mass adoption, according to Mr. Smallwood — retailers have been stepping up their efforts to market the lights, often with proprietary brands like Home Depot’s EcoSmart jostling for shelf space with established names like Philips and General Electric.
“One day I randomly walked into a Home Depot and thought, ‘LED — when did that happen?’ ” said Clayton Morris, 36, a host of “Fox & Friends Weekend,” who was buying the bulbs in Vauxhall as part of his project to slowly replace the incandescents in his Maplewood home. “It’s a hefty investment upfront,” he said, “but it just seemed like a great savings.”
At the same time, in an effort to transform light bulbs from a cheap, disposable product into something that consumers might show off to their friends, manufacturers have been adding functions that could ultimately fit into a larger home automation system. Often Bluetooth- or Wi-Fi-enabled, a new generation of LED bulbs offers all manner of new remote controls and automatic responses. The Philips Hue, sold exclusively at Apple stores for the next month, can change colors along a broad spectrum and offers settings that can mimic sunrise in the morning or use a special “light recipe” intended to raise energy levels. The bulb has been a big hit, executives say, attracting a host of software developers who have created free apps for new features, like making it respond to voices or music. The bulb can also tie into the Nest thermostat, a so-called smart device from Apple alumni who helped develop the iPod, that learns consumer heating and cooling patterns and adjusts to them automatically.
“For me, it was, ‘Wow, this is really cool, this is piece of futuristic technology that I could have,’ ” said Jonathan Crosby, 25, who works at an Apple store in the Bay Area and learned about the Hue because of all the customers asking about it. He bought starter kits for himself and an uncle, purchases he might not have made without the hefty employee discount.
The bulbs, he said, offer a hint of the lifestyle of people like Bill Gates of Microsoft, who lives in a house loaded with high-tech conveniences. “It’s amazing, like the futuristic Bill Gates is now me,” Mr. Crosby said".
Posted 9:25 AM by Matt Prescott
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
LUX magazine : Are commercial LED tubes safe?LUX magazine has produced a timely and useful video explaining the controversy surrounding the safety of commercial tube LEDs.
It appears that buyers still need to take considerable care when sourcing their tube LEDs as electrical fittings are likely to need rewiring and several of the designs on the market could easily give electric shocks to anyone touching them!
As with anything electrical, it is clearly important to take great care when making purchasing decisions and to talk to people who know what they are talking about that you can trust.
As things stand, always make sure that you are fully briefed on all of the relevant safety issues.
Posted 6:57 AM by Matt Prescott
Waitrose Ipswich Store : 100% LED lightingLux magazine has produced a report on the new Waitrose /John Lewis store in Ipswich, which is the first all-LED store for the partnership and the first to hit the magic 10W/m2 for lighting.
This report has lots of interesting points including the warm, bright and even lighting that commercial LEDs can now provide and the ability of LEDs to work especially well in refrigerated areas.
Ban The Bulb believes that this is the future of retail, and congratulates Waitrose on blazing a trail.
We look forward to them rolling out this use of energy efficient LEDs across all of their stores.
Posted 6:42 AM by Matt Prescott
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Guest Blog : David Kennedy : Light Rabbit LEDsAs an experiment, Ban The Bulb has invited David Kennedy of Light Rabbit (www.lightrabbit.co.uk) to write the following guest blog about the energy and money savings that LED lighting can offer homes, offices and shops.
"Lighting goes clean, green and lean"
By David Kennedy
Most people know that they can make savings with energy efficient lighting - but do business owners?
LED lighting = 70% energy savings
Here are the fast facts - LED lighting typically uses 70% less energy than like for like traditional commercial lighting - so why is business so slow to make the switch?
Well it could be that business owners are just not aware of the savings that can be made. Fluorescent tubes have long been considered energy efficient but times have moved on and when compared to the advantages of LED lighting it is quite surprising to discover how much energy business owners could save - vital in this time of austerity.
Keep it simple : Retro-fitting
Depending on the sector, lighting accounts for at least 30% of all energy consumption. You just need to drive around a city in the middle of the night to see offices and shops with lights left on 24/7. As most energy consuming devices don't have a lower energy alternative such as computers, fridges or air conditioning - the installation of retrofit LED lighting can facilitate this leading to atypical energy saving of at least 20%. With such great saving most retro fit installations will see a return on investment of under 12 months with the benefit of those saving lasting well into the future.
Stay cool, for longer
LED lights don't get hot which also reduce the energy required to cool office buildings - A major issue in warmer countries but also the UK.
LED lighting lasts longer, much longer. LED chips being manufactured today will lat 50,000 hours. To put that into perspective that is 11 years of 12 hours per day use of maintenance free lamps. This eliminates re lamping and associated labour costs. The old joke of how many people it take to change a light bulb seems to be less funny with modern health and safety regulations requiring training, supervision and equipment to access lights in rooms with high ceilings. The joke is now on those who don't start to think of sustainable alternatives to the traditional lamp.
Quick and simple
The reduced carbon footprint is instant, but that’s not all... Modern lighting control systems can further reduce energy consumption. As you probably know, florescent tubes take a while to start up and will flicker when switched on. There is a lot of energy consumed during this process and it has been argued that leaving these type of lights on all the time uses less energy than switching them on and off. LED tube lights turn on instantly without the need of a starter or ballast, which present the opportunity for movement/occupancy sensors to save further energy.
A perfect example of this is car parking where the lights are left on 24/7 - The lights will only come on when there is somebody in the car park. In a job recently undertaken by my company Light Rabbit Ltd, we managed to save the management company 95% on their energy consumption for a residential underground car park with the use of LED lighting and PIR sensors.
Make a difference... to the bottom line and the environment
Find out more at www.lightrabbit.co.uk
Posted 2:26 PM by Matt Prescott
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Ban The Bulb : The End of the Beginning...
Creating A Goal and Deadline for Action
This is a big day for the Ban The Bulb campaign, which was started via this blog in early 2005.
When this campaign was founded, the idea of phasing out and banning incandescent light bulbs after 120 years of loyal service appeared both laughable and almost impossible.
However, the case for action was compelling and the Ban The Bulb campaign set out to make this case.
Initially, the Ban The Bulb campaign concentrated on making the case for using compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) which cost more to buy, but then use 60% - 70% less electricity over the whole of their 5 - 10 times longer lifetimes.
As others technologies have been refined it has also become possible to start recommending other technologies, such as LEDs as viable alternatives... and in many ways it is amazing how much has been possible in so little time!
A Virtuous Circle
Interestingly, once politicians started to show an interest in phasing out incandescent light bulbs, retailers started to demand better energy saving designs from manufacturers and governments started to encourage energy companies to subsidise compact fluorescent lamps in shops rather then distribute unrequested lamps directly to households.
A virtuous circle of individual, mutually supporting measures started to alter what looked possible for everyone.
These early stirrings of action were crucial and helped to show that another world was possible and that different players were willing to act.
No-one likes to change the way they do things on their own, and this momentum and mutual support played an important role in enabling the bigger moves which quickly started to look possible.
Success Breeds Success
In Feb 2006, the BBC News website invited the Ban The Bulb campaign to outline why phasing out incandescent light bulbs was a good idea and to address some of the common questions that frequently arise.
By mid 2006, countries with chronic power shortages such as Cuba and Venezuela had started to swap incandescents with CFLs in poor suburbs, as a way of keeping their lights on.
These moves were important national scale efforts, but did not involve bans.
As far as we can tell, the use of a light bulb ban was first seriously floated by a politician in early 2007, when Prime Minister Tony Blair asked the European Commission to consider a light bulb ban as a way of meeting ambitious goals to cut carbon emissions by 20% by 2020. This request carried relatively little political risk, as any success would be bigger and any failure the EU's fault, but still mattered at the time.
While all of this was happening an Assembly Member in California called Lloyd Levine and an Australian Environment Minister called Malcolm Turnbull announced state and national plans for light bulb bans, which were supported by Philips.
All of sudden, politicians were racing to claim the credit for banning light bulbs, a truly incredible state of affairs given this was only a couple of years into the Ban The Bulb campaign.
Fortunately, the EU has gradually come through and put in place the most widespread bans to have actually been delivered anywhere in the world.
Interestingly, the Chinese have also been especially bold, perhaps in ways that have proven pivotal, and announced plans both to stop producing incandescent light bulbs and seize the emerging business opportunities associated with light emitting diodes (LEDs) - thereby turning what had been seen as a negative into a commercial imperative.
Changing the Rules of the Game
Almost every household appliance, including fridges, TVs and ovens, already exists in a form that uses 50% - 80% less energy than the most common designs... as was the case with light bulbs, when this campaign was founded.
This means that we do not have to wait for any new technologies to be invented or decades for the next generation of power stations to be built, we simply need to bring existing technologies into widespread and cheaper use.
As light bulbs have shown, markets do not change by magic, they change as a result of laws being made.
However, once you decide to change the rules of the game, manufacturers will innovate, retailers will offer new products and economies of scale will allow prices to drop.
Without changing the rules, players will carry on playing to the established parameters and very little will ever change.
The End of The Beginning...
The process of phasing out light bulbs has had its fair share of ups and downs, but now bans have been put in place in 30 countries around the world, the next generation of technologies have plummeted in price and it has become normal to buy LEDs which use 90% less electricity to make the same amount of light... are fully dimmable... and produce a daylight spectrum of light.
None of this would have happened for many more years, if it were not for the bans that have forced all manufacturers, retailers, consumers and thus markets to change and to adapt.
This single fact should give us all hope that we will face up to the even bigger energy challenges that remain to be addressed - particularly in relation to mainstreaming energy efficiency and driving innovation.
Now we need to build on this success by using laws to ensure that within our lifetimes all cars, houses and household appliances will use 80% - 90% less energy to meet our needs, and ensure that more energy efficient products are made affordable through mass adoption and economies of scale.
We also need to make sure that every single CFL now in use is properly recycled!
Over the years, a large number of impressive people have emerged in every sector and organisation BTB has dealt with, and Ban The Bulb would like to acknowledge the efforts of Jon Dee in Australia and Greenpeace in India.
The Daily Mail even distributed free CFLs at one stage!
A fuller list of acknowledgements can be seen here.
The overwhelming majority of consumers have been much more open to change and flexible than is generally assumed, once the case for change has been made and serious efforts have been made to ensure that the new technologies are cheap and easy to use.
All future predictions for energy demand assume that we will continue to use ever larger amounts of energy, until oil and gas run out, and that we will continue to waste energy on a prolific basis.
We don't have to continue wasting precious resources and polluting the environment without trying to save energy and clearly it is both technically feasible and economic sensible to bring many new technologies into use.
I therefore hope that the successful transformation of domestic lighting within 7 years will encourage you to do your bit to help humanity aim higher...
Posted 9:05 AM by Matt Prescott