AS many of you know the acceptance of solid state lighting is on the rise.
Across the nation(s) the lighting retrofit market is growing by leaps & bounds.
Prior to the sale of these billions of LED luminaires the "lighting application " will
be examined usually by average folks sometimes that will be custodians, sometimes
building managers or shop owners . Often the lights used in a facility were decided on
decades back with the only thought given to lighting is the current cost of replacement lamps.
There is out there a great opportunity out there for analytical energy pros to bolster
their list of talents and capabilities by becoming Lighting surveyors and Auditors.
Speaking as one - we have the ability to coach a building owners with a relevant strategy.-
switching lighting tech is something these folks WILL do within the next 2/4 years
There is a growing demand due to the tremendous growth in LED retrofits- ,maybe
some of you guys will want to consider the current "need" within the subset.
I can't speak about the sales of blower doors these days but I did just recently read
about great growth in the sales of premium quality light meters . There's probably
a reason behind that !
Do you expect the price of LED lights to drop significantly in the next few years? That's what I'm holding out for.. Currently CFL is the "king of the castle" since current LED's don't use much less energy yet cost 4X as much. I have seen LED displays going up at the big box stores, selection has increased considerably...
I do expect a price reduction in All areas of solid state lighting. As for your attribution of CFL s being the
king of the castle : that's not what statistics would indicate- Cfl use peaked at around 20% use with
incandescents comprising nearly 78% of lamps sold ( year after year last 5 years) LED luminiare use is
predicted to be 80% in 2020 up from 1% now- The dynamic is in favor of logical 21st century lighting not
outdated glass & gas lamps. As for selection it has been getting better - I try not to make big box sales the
benchmark indicator. The better quality products are still more typically found at a lighting - electrical supply
places- the ownership at these places usually do a better job in picking product lines, they tend to have more
acumen and understanding and are great outlets- Critical for the larger institutional buyers and intermediate
type commercial buyers- these are the types of places that can read/ intrepret LM-79s - the big boxes have
apron wearing product providers- I don't want to denigrate them let's call 'em under informed about the products
they sell. I have yet to have a conversation with a big box lighting guy who could "truly discern luminiare quality"
Maybe the sales staff I've spoken with were the exception -but I've spoke to dozens in several stores ...
The big boxes have the price point thing- somewhat meaningful - until you see the comparitive quality thats
available. There are alot of great LED luminiares available but there are alot of under performers -
Due diligence will get you the best products, it's up to individual buyers to become knowlegable and buy the
best products as needed- based on application , budget and one's ability to accept that LED luminiares keep
evolving - the ones that I would deem to be the best have are 2017 model year lamps - and have the
performance characteristics of at least the 2015 model year stuff- Sadly whats out there is alot of redone-
slightly improved 2009 model year type stuff- Its like there are millions of imminent VCR sales - is that a good
thing, thats the problem with buying SSL in these transitional years !
Hi, Dennis. As usual, you whet my appetite, but I want more concrete details! Where can I learn about how to get trained as a lighting auditor? We had one here in my town, but he moved away, leaving an opportunity. Thanks in advance for the info.
Hi, It's been a while since we've talked. The training is a variable thing
for lighting auditors- The certifications that are conducive as a prequieste
would be to be either LC ( thru the NCQLP) or being certified thru the ALA
as a CLEP - or Edmunds College in Washington st area- or at Rensalear Polytechnic
in NY state- They have certifications as well!
As for the acumen level needed for most current work if one can do a thorough survey
that person could do a "Lighting audit" in essence
a Certfied energy auditor with the right tools can get the job done- I believe that
Johnson controls, Honeywell etc in the biz of lighting controls have there own
accredidation programs. - Like I indicated, many of the billions of sockets will be
going to LED lighting soon - There is a definite need for people to assess and evaluate
what products are right for those specific applications.
I think the price will soon drop to the level that all regular bulbs are getting replaced by LED. Think about when the fist filament light bulb came out, it is about 400 times more expensive than oil lamp
Dennis, you make some very good suggestions. My philosophy is that we should be looking at everything related to energy when we do an audit and that includes lighting. Getting training followed by certification may be daunting, but auditors should at least be informed about the basics of light, lighting lamps and fixtures, including their basic characteristics, installed costs and operating costs. There may not be economical opportunities to upgrade in every home, but at least we can educate the homeowner about the future of lighting. LEDs can use half of the electricity of a CFL and last at least 3 times longer. Here in Vermont, the list of bulbs that have significant rebates is growing, with bulbs as low as $8 or $9 for an A bulb or R-20 bulb. These are carefully selected by Efficiency Vermont to only give rebates for quality products. I don't see as many opportunities in homes to encourage switching from CFLs to LEDs, but I do see them in small businesses. A small office open M-F for 9 hours a day, 50 weeks a year, can save $1.96 a year in electricity by replacing one CFL with an LED. At $0.14 per KwH and $9 for a bulb, that will pay for itself in energy savings in about 4 years, which is about the life span of the CFL. The LED will last at least 12 years at that rate. A big advantage of the LED is that it is much more dimmable than a dimmable CFL, and there are other pros and cons for the LED.
In commercial spaces where there is more lighting on for longer periods, LEDs can pay for themselves rather quickly. In Vermont, Efficiency Vermont has been offering rebates, incentives and lots of technical support for businesses that want to upgrade their lighting. The business saves energy and money, and we all save money by not having to pay for more electrical generating plants and more transmission lines.
As for the big guys like Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, etc. I try hard to support the local businesses and not send my dollars out of State. My local electrical wholesaler is more expensive than those big box stores, but they provide great support on the latest technology and products, including lighting, and they deliver for free. I agree with the comment about product quality and quality of staff knowledge at Home Depot.
LED 1/2 the energy use of CFL? I haven't seen that much difference in the LED's available in local stores. The LEDs in stores are only using 1-2W less than CFL. No sale based on energy savings, I have NEVER seen an LED manufacturer compare to CFL on their marketing material. Sell on features/benefits when comparing to CFL. Less fragile, no mercury, instant on, typically higher CRI (I wish more bulbs would list this spec).
Bob, I assume you're talking about LED replacements for incandescent bulbs, which makes sense to compare apples to apples, but I've seen some very dramatic energy reductions for fixtures that are designed for LEDs. A reading lamp with a CFL in it probably consumes 16-25W, but I've got two LED reading lamps that use 2W apiece. Our fluorescent-backlit TV consumes anywhere from 50 to 100W depending on brightness, while our LED backlit one consumes 4W at maximum brightness. That's not just the backlight, that's the whole TV!
So in both those applications, LEDs consume well under half the energy of fluorescents. I think the main limitation to LED bulb replacements is the bulb shape, which doesn't lend itself to the LED technology. Night light bulbs may be the exception.
Fixtures are an entirely different comparison. Love the LED fixtures, they can be optimized to the LED's native directional output. LED fixtures ARE the way of the future, I've even started seeing them in ceiling fans...
The fixtures I've seen don't even cost that much more than their CFL counterparts. $45 for LED vs $38 for CFL. The CFL fixture uses speciality bulbs than cost $3-$4 each, relamping just once wipes any cost advantage of the CFL fixture. LED fixtures are becoming competitive with standard Edison fixtures + the cost of CFL retrofit bulbs.
Sorry, I couldn't resist ... (PIX below) the bulbs below were collected in my house over a several year period. As the bulbs failed, or took long enough to warm up that it no longer -- was safe. You could walk in and out before they made it half bright.
Early generation of LED's were iffy, the current generation are far better, the next generation that is coming out are being sold and effectively advertised by the manufacturers as "durable goods". A bulb that doesn't last just a year or two, but one that can perhaps make it ten years.
Early LED's also were some of the nastiest heat producers - and they could not stand dimming (neither could CFL's for that matter). The current generation of LED's can be handled without burning ones hand...and they are starting to have some pretty decent dimming ranges.
Equally as important is the packaging options for LED's are far greater than ever offered by the CFL's
I'm personally done buying CFL's. The Price of LED has finally fallen enough that the features/benefits are worth the cost. I'm OK with never realizing a return on my investment when compared to CFL.
For high lumen applications LED's are still too expensive to be practical. Traditional T8 lamps provide the best value for lumen/watt/initial cost, although T5 is rapidly dropping in price.
$9 for 5200Lumen 86CRI, to get 5,000+ Lumen with LED you're looking at least $50.
Probably closer to $70... I've been buying at about $35/tube in singles... The life of LED tubes are about twice as long. Half the lumens... Instant start, no hum, no flicker.
Tubes are still on the watch list. Prices have dropped by about 50% in the last two or three years. I would expect them to be down to about $20/each no rebates in the next year.
Sometimes the work areas are lit up with far too much light. One for one replacement isn't always the solution.