Is LED Lighting Ready for the Mass Market?

LED lighting is now widely available, but is it ready for the mass market, and is the mass market ready for LED? While it is developing quickly, it is still a relatively new technology that is going to take a while to establish itself infohatworld

Are consumers ready for LED?

Since it was first developed in 1927, LED technology has gone through many changes, most of these in the last 5 years. This is mainly due to worldwide legislation changes to stop the production of incandescent bulbs, and the fact that consumers were not bowled over by their CFL (compact fluorescent) replacements.

You may think that the arguments for switching to LED are persuasive; with energy prices rising rapidly, LED lighting uses approximately 80% less energy than incandescent lighting, and these savings can be further increased with the use of intelligent lighting control systems designed to work with LEDs. Also, LED manufacturers claim that most LEDs have a 30 year life, compared to 6 to 12 months for a traditional bulb, or 5-10 years for a CFL. Also, unlike CFLs, LEDs contain no toxic mercury.

So, over the lifetime of the product they are much cheaper to use than other light sources, and they are environmentally sounder: as they last longer landfill is reduced, there are no harmful chemicals to dispose of, and they save energy.

So although more people are making the switch from traditional to LED, why isn’t everyone?

Initial high cost

One of the main reasons why consumers are put off from investing in LED is the initial high cost, and until this comes down, which it will in this fast-moving market, many people are not going to be persuaded to switch, even with the knowledge of long-term cost savings. Putting your hand in your pocket and handing over £30 for an LED bulb is a lot harder than spending £1 on a traditional one.

CFLs are not well liked

The last big change in lighting was about 10 years ago with the introduction of compact fluorescent bulbs. These were sold on their energy-saving benefits, and they could be purchased from between £2 and £10. Many people made the change, but were unhappy with the product: they didn’t like the slow start-up time, the colour output was poor, the bulbs looked ugly, and there were problems with dimming. This has made the public wary of another new product.


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