It’s an exciting time to be in commercial lighting design and installation right now. Integrated digital control systems, “smart” technology, and especially LEDs are all substantially affecting commercial lighting design. In just a few, short years, LEDs have had the biggest impact on commercial lighting as the technology seems to evolve almost daily. They’ve become popular rapidly for good reason — LED lighting delivers high efficiency, a high level of brightness, long lifespan and high reliability.
Because LED lights are manufactured using semiconductor components they emit less radiated heat as compared to other products such as incandescent and fluorescent. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LEDs emit much less heat compared to incandescent bulbs (90%) and compact fluorescent lights (80%). LED lights are used across various end users applications such as industrial, commercial, architectural and outdoor.
The global industrial and commercial LED lighting market is growing rapidly mainly due to high efficiency of LED lights, government regulations to ban incandescent lamps, and the attractive return-on-investment (ROI) of LED lighting. Moreover, LED lighting is environmentally-friendly lighting — it does not emit gases hazardous to humans. For example, fluorescent lights emit harmful gases that are carcinogenic and may cause cancer, while incandescent lamps emit large amounts of CO2.
Commercial lighting presents a huge opportunity to reduce energy consumption. The global lighting market is still currently under-penetrated by LEDs; however that low penetration is attributed to the nascent stage of LED technology and dominance of other technologies in lighting. Both incandescent bulbs and fluorescent lamps still account for a relatively significant segment of the commercial and industrial lighting market, especially in more underdeveloped markets. LED lighting is expected to increase its market share when more LED products truly compete with incumbent products on performance and price. LED penetration in the market is less than 10% due to higher penetration of fluorescent and compact fluorescent lights.
The relatively higher cost of LED lights as compared to fluorescent lights and the higher penetration of fluorescent lamps as compared to LED lights are some of the factors restraining the growth for LED lighting market. However, government regulations banning incandescent lamps is expected to minimize the impact of this restraint as LEDs are expected to increasingly capture the market shares of incandescent lamps in next few years.
Putting those LEDS to good use: connected lighting in smart cities
Switching to all-LED lighting will not be enough to create truly significant energy savings. Another future trend for commercial lighting is the move to create connected lighting in “smart cities.” Currently cities are complex entities where inefficiencies arise because systems are not interconnected and have no way to “talk” to one another. Additional savings can be achieved by incorporating connected commercial lighting controls to the Internet. And even greater value will be derived by using the commercial lighting network for other connected services, all of which will be an integral part of the rapidly growing Internet of Things (IoT).
The demand for the smart energy infrastructure and green buildings is helping the commercial smart lighting market to expand in highly-developed regions such as the Americas and Europe. In fact, smart commercial lighting is gaining popularity as it helps organizations reduce electricity bills in buildings such as hospitals, offices and educational institutions, while helping companies improve worker productivity by reducing seasonal depression through advanced lighting techniques.
As we can see, LED lighting, digital technology, and the Internet of Things will all play a significant role in future trends of commercial lighting.