It took more than a hundred years, but the lighting industry has finally produced a energy-efficient lighting product designed to replace the incandescent light bulb. The clincher? People actually like it.
We are of course, talking about the light-emitting diode, also known as LED for short.
Despite initially coming with a price tag 20 times more than the classic incandescent light bulb, LED light bulbs have made converts of thousands of homeowners all over the world, who have come to realize that the energy efficiency of LEDs alone could outweigh their high initial cost.
The good news is that retailers like Lowe’s, Home Depot and IKEA are continually lowering their prices, as demand for LEDs has led to aggressive pricing and fast improvements to the technology.
Software for LEDs
And since LEDs are closer to microchip technology than light bulb tech, lighting manufacturers and a host of third party electronics companies have been able to produce software and controls systems that allow users to control their light bulbs, including switching their LEDs on and off, changing the colour of light and dimming, all from their smartphones and tablets.
Already, Apple Stores are now selling the Philips Hue, an LED light bulb package that can be controlled with a smartphone/tablet app on iOS and Android. The package comes with three LED bulbs and the hardware to install them. The cost? A somewhat hard to swallow $200. Granted, it’s a cool and functional piece of tech, but not practical for the average homeowner.
Still, growth in the LED lighting sector has been nothing short of remarkable, with improvements helping lower prices as manufacturers try to edge each other out in dominating the market.
According to Home Depot merchant Brad Paulsen, he expects LED lighting technology to be the most popular option in lighting technology over the next 4 to 5 years, what with all the growth happening in the LED sector.
Already we’re seeing significant growth in LED sales. In 2012, retailers and analysts estimated LED sales for the residential market to be at 3 percent, and though small, showed the fasted growth among any other lighting technology on the market.
Projections for the Future
According to a study by IMS research, LEDs will outsell A-type incandescent light bulbs in North America by 2014. By 2016, LEDs will grow to become the most popular A-type bulb technology, with shipments in North America project to reach 370 million.