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Reflecting On The Past & Shining A Light On The Future Of LEDs

By Danyelle Kukuk, VP Category & Product Management Batteries Plus Bulbs

Danyelle Kukuk Director Product & Channel MgrTypically, when a light bulb went out in a home in the past, it was replaced with another incandescent light bulb — the most popular and familiar lighting option. Now, consumers are switching out these bulbs with more energy-efficient options, which is due in large part to Congress mandating legislation in 2007 to phase out the incandescent. It’s not that these bulbs weren’t a viable technology, they simply weren’t efficient. They didn’t last as long and much of the energy they used to light up a room was lost as heat. As a result of federal legislation known as EISA — The Energy Independence and Security Act — the lighting industry began promoting better alternatives, including LEDs (Light-Emitting Diodes), which use 80% less energy and last about 25 times as long as incandescent light bulbs.

LEDs are not only good for the environment — they’re also smart investments that will pay you back over time. To put it into perspective, replacing 5 incandescent bulbs can save you $75 in energy costs per year, according the the US Department of Energy. As we continue to see LEDs become more intelligent — with dimmers, sensors, and software that adjust the use of light to external conditions and space usage — the savings will be even greater.

There’s no doubt that the future is bright for LEDs. Here’s a deeper look at some of the top trends driving LED innovation and consumer adoption in 2015 and beyond:

Decreasing Prices Make it the Best Time to Buy LEDs

Cost was the biggest obstacle in bringing new lighting technology to market. When the first wave of LEDs hit store shelves, they were expensive. They were a new technology and the pricing of the LED products bore the cost of innovation and introduction to market. For example, the initial cost of just one traditional A-shape LED bulb was around $30. Within the last three years, each new generation of LED has become more efficient and less expensive. Today, the cost for most standard LED bulbs is under $10. Now in the single digits, the purchase is more reasonable for consumers.

Plus, there are now a wide variety of cost-cutting energy and utility rebates available that will help incentivize businesses and consumers to convert to LEDs. While rebates and incentive programs will vary depending on the market, and not all markets provide these types of programs, we’re still seeing more progress than ever geared toward energy-efficiency. Industry research tells us we can also expect to see a 20% year-over-year decline on the average selling price of LEDs within the next 2–3 years.

A Boom in Energy Utility Rebates Will Continue to Drive LED Adoption

LED Semi DirectionalMany energy utility companies nationwide are creating incentive programs for businesses and homeowners to help them convert to energy-efficient lighting. The programs offer rebates for pre-qualified LED lamps and fixtures that meet rigorous performance specifications such as those validated by third-party ENERGY STAR® testing. To specifically help businesses improve energy-efficient lighting standards, Batteries Plus Bulbs has partnered with local utility companies to offer business customers rebate incentives to convert to more energy-efficient lighting.

We are seeing some energy utility companies incentivizing customers to adopt LEDs by offering instant savings, including $10 off a bulb. This has reduced LED light bulb costs to as little as $1.97 (in select areas). Within the next year or two, there’s no guarantee that these incentives will exist as LED costs continue to drop. Our advice is for consumers to act now and take advantage of these rebates while they’re still available.

LEDs Will Become Even Smarter, But Not Reach Critical Mass Just Yet

In 2015, LED energy efficiency will continue to increase, whereas other energy-saving alternatives like CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs) will reach their plateau. Furthermore, lighting will become even more of a gateway for consumers to adopt these bulbs and make their homes smarter. We’re already seeing partnerships form between major lighting manufacturers and mainstream technology brands to further the end-user’s experience through home automation advancements.

While the innovation is fascinating, “smart LEDs” will not become mainstream in 2015. That’s because many US light bulb sockets are still filled with incandescent light bulbs. Because these bulbs are no longer being manufactured or imported, consumers are now faced with deciding what type of energy-efficient bulbs to replace them with. That choice is challenging enough and the idea of switching a $1 light bulb out for dozens of smart LEDs that cost around $20 to $50 a bulb is daunting. At this point, we see only early adopters using smart LED bulbs in 2015 and even 2016.

While shopping for energy-efficient light bulbs is getting easier, consumers still have a lot of questions about which bulbs to buy based on their home and business lighting needs. Luckily, there are retailers like Batteries Plus Bulbs available to shed light on the latest cost-savings, technologies and the best light bulbs to use based on the application. Batteries Plus Bulbs provides expertise, product knowledge, and helpful advice so that consumers can find comfort in knowing they’re making the most informed, educated purchasing decision possible.

About the Author: Danyelle began her career with Batteries Plus Bulbs in 2008 and has held a variety of positions ranging from Senior Category Manager to most recently the Director of Category and Product Management. Danyelle has successfully led the Product and Category Management teams and completed multiple milestone projects, most recently launching the smart phone and tablet repair services program to all Batteries Plus Bulbs stores with her team in 2014.

Editor’s Note: This was not a sponsored post. We just thought it was a good service that fit our mission and goals very well. Thanks to Danyelle for sending it along.

Images by Batteries Plus Bulbs, Philips, Cree, and Zachary Shahan | CleanTechnica

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