In mid-January 2016, a law passed by Congress went into effect that changes the way most people will be purchasing their lighting fixtures for their homes or businesses. The more energy-efficient home lighting standards mean that 40- and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs will be phased out in upcoming years, to make room for light bulbs that are more “green” and use less energy. This has resulted in an increased use of LED lighting, particularly for commercial facilities such as businesses and stores. It also resulted in certain trends in the lighting industry, which include the following:
1. Lights Will Get Smarter
There is likely to be a huge increase in the purchase of “intelligent” lighting controls such as photosensors, occupancy sensors, and the wireless networks that connect them. Lighting controls will save money in the long run because they can be coordinated with cooling and heating profiles, particularly in commercial developments. It is also easier to manage energy consumption with these devices.
2. Fluorescent Tubes Will Be Replaced with More Efficient Lighting Types
Since fluorescent bulbs emit a lot of energy, people will be replacing them with more efficient types of bulbs, namely LED bulbs. Substituting regular bulbs with LED ones could save more than $50 billion in electric costs, which is the equivalent to the energy generated by more than 200 mid-sized power plants.
3. There Will Be an Increase in Solar-Powered Street Lights
Existing street lights are too expensive to replace, but when installing new street lights, more and more of them will be solar-powered. For example, the city of Richmond, Virginia recently saved more than $600,000 when installing 20 street lights in a housing project. In addition, solar-powered lighting has a life expectancy of roughly 30 years, and most have backup batteries that last up to five days.
4. The Use of Smart Glass Will Increase
When “smart glass” is used in the windows of a residential or commercial facility, it regulates the amount of glare and heat that come into the room so the occupants can take better advantage of natural outdoor lighting. Therefore, there is a decrease in the amount of electricity needed. Sales of these “smart glass,” or electro-chromatic, windows are expected to reach approximately $2.1 billion by the year 2017.
5. The Use of LED Lights Will Produce Other Benefits
Research has shown that increased usage of LED lighting can increase morale and health, and make a home or office’s inhabitants more productive. LED lighting is not nearly as distracting as regular or fluorescent lighting, so it produces a more comforting environment. Whether in a home or commercial location, LED lighting saves money and produces
welcoming results. For example, some companies, such as hospitals, are trying to change LED lighting’s colors to produce more calming effects in their patients and employees.
The use of energy-efficient home lighting and commercial lighting is the wave of the future. It saves money, is better for the environment, and is less expensive in the long run. It is simply a smart thing to do, both practically and economically.