The Retrofit Companies Blog

Future of Lighting Controls (links)

future of lighting controls 2016.png

Controls have been a part of successful lighting projects for a long time; however, technology exists now to make using it easier and more affordable. We've shared several ways that use of controls can increase energy efficiency and we've previously discussed the future of lighting controls from our perspective. Here we have collected a set of links discussing an array of topics from the need for standards in education for lighting design professionals, to the pros and cons of wireless controls. 


"The lighting industry is undergoing massive change due to growing demand for intelligent LED lighting systems and controls. LED lighting, which promises high operating cost savings, is ideally paired with both wired and wireless intelligent lighting controls, which promise additional savings and flexibility. Accelerating demand for these technologies is transforming workspaces while reducing costs. It is also creating an education gap among service providers unfamiliar with aspects of the technology.

The electrical industry has responded with a series of initiatives, but to date, there has been no national certification signifying a high level of general expertise in lighting controls technology, application, design and commissioning. To address this need, NALMCO developed the Certified Lighting Controls Professional (CLCP) designation." [READ MORE]


"With wireless lighting control, you don’t need to rely on employees to turn lights on and off. Instead, you can take advantage of scheduling, timers, occupancy sensors and photosensors to deliver the optimal illumination level in all situations while minimizing wasted energy." [READ MORE]


"Energy usage can be cut by 40% by using the latest, more advanced HVAC and lighting controls.  Thus, operating costs for older buildings can be lowered by retrofitting equipment and controls. However, the cost of rewiring is often prohibitive. That’s where wireless sensor networks (WSNs) can help." [READ MORE]


"[D]istricts everywhere are being asked to do more with less, progressive administrators and technicians are coming together to find new ways to streamline work and automate processes. Automated lighting control systems... give facilities managers the flexibility to plan complex lighting schedules well in advance while reducing manual work and energy use."  [READ MORE]


"Lighting is fundamental to any retail store, whether that is for setting a scene and influencing how a brand is perceived, or even encouraging shoppers to make a particular purchase. However, if not managed correctly, it can be extremely expensive. In fact, lighting accounts for around 53% off all electricity consumption in a typical retail outlet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration." [READ MORE]


 "The opportunities for the lighting industry are immense. Luminaires, which essentially see every square inch of habitable space, are an obvious media in which to host the sensor and video technology that can turn the world into a virtual databank" [READ MORE]

If you are beginning your research, be sure you are getting the best information you can in order to make the best decision. Start by asking the right questions & get our guide:

11 Questions you should ask a lighting contractor

Understanding LED Maintenance Challenges (Link)

We like this article from Electrical Contractor Magazine about the challenges that users might experience regarding lighting maintenance and LED upkeep. Many manufacturers and installers may try and convince you that LED is it he ultimate set it and forget it solution, and while that sentiment feels true compared to the regular maintenance required by fluorescent lighting system, there are still a few considerations to keep in mind regarding LED maintenance.

This article discusses reliability of LED lighting, understanding lamp life with respect to useful lamp life, and how to understand variables in product quality across brands. It concludes with some overlooked maintenance factors for LED: cleaning, controls, and proactive troubleshooting

Concise and easily understood, we recommend you check this one out!

Hazards of LED T8 Lamps Video


We believe that a lighting system should be functional and efficient. This is the obvious and most intended goal for retrofit projects we do, and we know many options are available. Knowing you have so many choices, we always share the future risks and maintenance scenarios to help our clients make informed decisions for the best long term results.

One common retrofit includes integrated LED lamps to eliminate the need for a ballast. This might be the right solution for your facility, but this video illustrates the future care and education required of each individual tasked with maintaining a lighting system. There is a large potential for injury for an uninformed individual maintaining these systems. LED T8 hazards exist, and a simple oversight can cause serious damage.

Watch here to see how two common mistakes are made in maintaining integrated LED T8 fixtures.


 For more information on energy-efficient lighting design and starting your project off right, start by asking the important questions:

11 Questions you should ask a lighting contractor

VIDEO of LED Motion Sensor Test in Warehouse


The video here shows the fixtures in action that we discussed in this warehouse lighting redesign case study. This space was redesigned to include energy-efficient LED fixtures on a system of motion sensors that control the on/off of fixtures as people and equipment, like the forklift seen in the video, move through the spaces. Take a look to see the both the rapid movement and slow movement tests.


 For more information on energy-efficient lighting design and starting your project off right, read our e-book to determine if an investment grade audit or lighting design study makes sense for you:

E-book: Why should you invest in a lighting study?

November Lighting Efficiency & Recycling LInks

Massachusetts proposes 2016-2018 energy efficiency plan to lead the nation with their efforts. Projecting $3 of benefits for every dollar spent!

The tiniest sensor is being developed. It's than half the size of a dime and can be controlled with your smart phone via Bluetooth!

Energy efficiency concerns are global."[UK] Businesses could save £414 million a year by improving energy efficiency.

Warehouse lighting redesign project saves almost $5k annually. 

The future of lighting control innovations will not only save energy and money, but they can extend the useful life of your lighting technology.

We thought this was an interesting article addressing the needs, costs, and concerns with e-waste recycling from a state-level perspective

This article simplifies all the roadblocks for consumers and recycling end facilities. We think it's a really well rounded look at what's going on behind the scenes. 

If you are looking for a reputable recycling option, here are four things you must know to responsibly recycle your e-waste.

Product Recall : SubstiTUBE® IS T8 LED Lamps


Fortunately, we don't have too many instances of product recall, but TRC will now be sharing these product updates here when we receive them. If you use this product in an LED retrofit we recommend inspecting your lamps to see if they have been recalled. 

From the Sylvania website:

A voluntary recall has been announced by OSRAM SYLVANIA for certain  SubstiTUBE® IS T8 LED lamps (Model Numbers 73312-1 and 73315-1 only). These lamps may overheat and melt, causing a potential burn hazard. Please stop using this product immediately.

No other SubstiTUBE IS products are affected by this recall.

The model number will appear on both the lamp label and the carton label.

For assistance from the TRC team, please call us directly at 800-795-1230 or contact us online.


Learn About TRC's Vendor Neutral Product Offerings

Product Recall : Cree® LED T8 replacement lamps


Fortunately, we don't have too many instances of product recall, but TRC will now be sharing these product updates here when we receive them. If you use this product in an LED retrofit we recommend inspecting your lamps to see if they have been recalled. 

If your Cree LED T8 replacement lamps were purchased between August 2014 and April 2015 or you believe they may be failing, please review full recall information here.

You may contact the manufacturer here:

Cree customer service toll-free at (888) 338-7883 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, email at or online at and click on “Recalls” or go to for more information.


For assistance from the TRC team, please call us directly at 800-795-1230 or contact us online.


Learn About TRC's Vendor Neutral Product Offerings

Irresponsible Recycling, T12 Discontinued & Why Hollywood won't ever look the same

Twin Cities group Community POWER has a recycling collection grant program! “The Community POWER Grant Program funds waste reduction projects. Neighborhood organizations, schools, churches, senior citizen groups, youth organizations, and civic groups are invited to apply for funds for projects that will reach individuals who are not currently involved in waste reduction practices.”


The human impact of irresponsible recycling is sadly given a face in this photo essay. “Injuries like burns, untreated wounds, lung problems, eye damage, and back problems go hand in hand with chronic nausea, anorexia, debilitating headaches and respiratory problems. Almost everyone suffers from insomnia. Smoke and invisible toxins (especially cadmium) harm the careless workers because they often don't know about the risks and walk around in flimsy footwear like flip-flops. Most of them die from cancer while in their 20s.


Maybe you’ve never considered how a city-wide lighting retrofit could affect the artistic integrity of a place; we thought this story about why “Hollywood will never look the same” was compelling. “Every night exterior LA-shot film previous to this change is rendered a sort of anthropological artifact, an historical document of obsolete urban infrastructure.


Americans generated the most e-waste of all countries last year, at 66 pounds per person! In total “generating 9.4 million metric tons of e-waste, followed by China with 7.3 million metric tons.” 


This manufacturer offers a wirelessly controlled LED system that looks pretty cool. “Another useful function of smart lights is security. Instead of leaving a few lights on for the entirety of your vacation, in the hopes of fooling a very unobservant criminal, you can control them from the beach…” If you’re interested in a commercial version, let us know


T12 lamps and ballasts are no longer manufactured. So, “why do more than 500 million T12 lamps remain in commercial buildings, according to the Department of Energy (DOE, 2010), and why is approximately nearly one in three linear fluorescent lamps sold a T12 (reported by National Electrical Manufacturer Association member sales data for Q3, 2011)?” 


 Learn how to find a responsible electronics recycling company

How much do your Christmas Lights cost you each year?

Every season you pull out the Christmas decorations, and if you're like a lot of people this is a tradition you embrace the day after Thanksgiving. Putting up a tree, adding garland to your mantle and hanging string lights on your trees, inside and out. But do you know what those lights are costing you each season? Have you taken time to consider how much energy and money could save by upgrading them? Let's take a look at three common types of Christmas lights, how much energy they use, and what it might cost you to replace them if they are inefficient!

First off, there are three common types of string Christmas lights: 

C7 String Lights C7 style bulbs are the giant, classic bulbs you might remember from the movie The Christmas Story. These are some whoppers, they get very hot and they really guzzle energy, but we'll talk more about that in a bit.

Mini String Lights The second type of common holiday lighting is Mini string lights. These are probably the most ubiquitous holiday lighting type today. Modern versions are parallel wired so the entire chain doesn't go dark when one bulb burns out. Which is lucky because at one time or another we've all stepped on one during the Great Untangling Effort and crushed it into shards.

LED String Lights The third type of string lighting incorporates newer LED lights. Recently, these have become not only affordable, but available in tons of colors and configurations. Aside from their long life, we'll discuss today some of the advantages (and savings) you might see if you plan to upgrade your holiday lighting!

Now, let's talk energy usage!

We've chosen some relatively conservative figures to demonstrate the Operating Costs for your Holiday Lighting. Let's take a look at how much it costs you to turn on those lights 10 hours a day, for sixty days, assuming your blended electricity cost is $0.08 per Kwh.
seasonal op cost

Here's the breakdown: those charming C7's? They are a financial disaster, so much so we marked them in red. For a only 1/4 of the number of total lamps per string (these customarily come with 25 per set), you would pay more than 25 TIMES as much in utility costs than LED. Why not channel your inner Clark Griswold? If you're willing to fork out the cash, you could buy ALL THE LED's and really light up the neighborhood.

Now, the Mini's are less an offender and will rack up just under $20 in utility costs for the season, which probably isn't going to break the bank for you this holiday. If you bought them and you love them, it's not the end of the world. They average 100 lights per string, so you are getting more bang for your buck than with those C7's! If they're getting to the end of their useful life for you, frayed ends and lots of burned out bulbs, you might consider replacing these with LED string lights!

Lastly the mega-efficient LED String Light, for a set of 10 strings each with 100 bulbs in the same configuration as the mini's, is going to cost you just $2.30...for SIXTY DAYS OF HOLIDAY CHEER! Ding Ding, we have a winner.

You say those LED string lights cost too much in the first place?

Here we go, getting smart again because it's all about the upgrade. But the good news is LED technology is more affordable than ever. We're going to tell you how you can add savings to savings, even if you have to invest a little in your new holiday lighting.

First, let's look at 5 Year Operating Costs for the three lighting options we discussed above. 

5 year cost

What we see here is that if you're using C7 lamps in your holiday lighting, in five years, you've spent over $330 dollars in utility costs, where as the LED option costs you under $3 per year. The Mini's cost just over $100 to operate for the next 5 years. 

These figures assume you currently own those decorations, that they are in working order and you don't need to buy replacements for anything. But let's have a little Real Talk, just between friends: How old are you  holiday lights? Are the sets in good condition? Are they safe? No frayed lines, no broken glass? If your lights are new and in good condition, then carry on.

If your current lights are in poor condition, costing you an arm and a leg, or past their useful life, you should probably invest in a new system.  Consider that in just 5 years, your LED lights would begin to pay for themselves in energy cost savings alone, the other lamps can't do that as quickly, if ever. Here's how:

5 year cost to own

The prices for sets of string lights here are taken online from Amazon retailers, and illustrate a cost that appears to be fair at the time of this article. That said, even though LED string lights are the most expensive option to buy at about $15 each, with a holiday lighting utility rebate of $3.00 per set, a 5 year operating cost for your LED Holiday Lights is just over $130 including energy costs. That's a savings of $60 over the mini lights in just five years, when you buy new LED string lights. We probably don't have to mention that LED lighting is known for it's longer life, but many of these tiny bulbs are constructed with plastic, instead of glass, so you won't as easily crush them during the Great Untangling Effort! Another Win-Win Situation.

If you're looking for more information on LED Holiday Light Rebates, a good start is the google search "holiday lights rebate" for your region. If you find your utility does offer a rebate, be sure to see what criteria your new lights must meet in order to qualify. Many times, you must purchase an energy star rated product. With just a little research and purchasing the right sort of lighting product, you could easily start saving energy (and money!) this holiday.

In a very round about way here, we've just discussed a pretty big topic, lighting system cost of ownership. More than just turning the lights on and paying your utility bills, you must consider what types of technology you use to light your tree (or your business). If your lighting has outlived it's usefulness, is costing you in maintenance, and expensive lamps with short life, we strongly urge you to consider what an upgrade can do to your bottom line. Let us help you find out if there's a better way!

Schedule Your Lighting Consultation Today!

Myths about LED Lighting and LED Light Bulbs

The continuing advancement of technology keeps every industry on their toes. The lighting industry is no different. The search for a more efficient and economical bulb is a never ending task. If you have recently looked into a lighting upgrade there’s a good chance you have heard about LEDs. They are the latest and greatest in lighting technology and are a viable option for almost any application in any climate. Let’s explore some of the myths you’ve heard about LEDs and find out what is actually true about this lighting option.

Not familiar with LED lighting? Here’s a refresher.


MYTH 1: LEDs Sound Good, But They Are Too Expensive

The multiple Pros of LED Lighting are often overshadowed by a single Con. LEDs are expensive! It is hard to justify retrofitting to LEDs when there are other efficient, less expensive options. If you are able to look past the price, the benefits of an LED upgrade supersede all alternatives.

      • The Light Emitting Diode itself is the most efficient lighting technology yet.
      • The LEDs effectively emit light in specific directions instead of scattering it to all spaces, reducing light pollution.
      • Incandescent lamps waste up to 90% of their energy as heat. LEDs waste very little energy.
      • In certain conditions a single bulb can last over 20 years. This cuts labor hours of maintenance, costs of replacement bulbs, and of course the savings on the utility bill over that time will make up for the initial cost.

There are some other ways to limit the damage to your wallet. Some utility companies offer rebates as an incentive to upgrade to LEDs. Visit and see if your energy provider is currently offering rebates on LEDs. There are other incentives offered for commercial properties who are upgrading to LED fixtures as well. Rebates for well designed projects that save a lot of energy can add up quickly and take thousands of dollars off the cost of a light retrofit project.  Ask your lighting professional if project or equipment rebates for lighting are available in your area.

In summary: LED technology can be expensive, but shopping smart and looking for rebates means savings keep stacking up over time. Get excited about investing in LED lighting.

2017 Update:  With an increased market saturation, improvements in manufacturing, and overproduction of LED products, the price points are more approachable than ever for this energy-efficient lighting option! 

MYTH 2: An LED is an LED is an LED…

As LEDs have become the new standard for energy efficient lighting, there are more and more options when it comes to choosing a brand or product that works for you. Some customers think, “It does the same job so brand doesn’t matter.” Price and convenience should not be deciding factors when choosing LEDs. Do your research.  A lighting upgrade is an investment. What you spend on quality LED fixtures will come back to you in the long run. If you would buy another product that will last up to 20 years, would you really choose the cheapest available option? Buy from a reputable company that offers guarantees with their product. Here is a brand comparison between an LED bulb that would replace an incandescent, you will be surprised to see that the national brand has a better warranty AND a better price!


LED A - National Brand

LED B - Generic Company





6 years

2 years


Energy Star Rating



In summary: Upgrading to a cheap LED can sometimes be a step backward. The household names in lighting are leading the way in LEDs. Recognizable brands invest in the research, manufacturing, and testing to ensure you receive the highest quality product. Also, as you can see, their manufacturing capacity allows them to offer quality products at lower prices. Not all companies can offer the credentials, warranties, and most bang-for-your-buck of a National Brand.


MYTH 3: I’ve Heard They Last Forever

Another common talking point with LEDs is that they last forever. This is technically not the case. Unless an actual component in the LED fails, they will provide light “forever.” While LEDs do not burn out like fluorescent lamps and other bulbs they will however degrade and dim over time. The diode itself will begin to emit less and less light as the years pass. Still, LED lamps can last over 25,000 hours. This is over 20 times longer than an incandescent bulb and 5 times longer than most Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL).

Protect your LED Investment. Tips for maximum life:

      • Do Not Overheat The diodes and components of an LED bulb are very hot. As you have probably noticed, LED bulbs are covered with heat sinks to displace this heat. Never put LEDs in fully enclosed fixtures or warmer areas. Overheating is the most common reason for LED failure and the most preventable.
      • Use LED compatible dimmers Not all dimmers are universal. Avoid headaches and early failures by using the correct dimmers. Ask your supplier which dimmers work with your LED product.
      • Choose the Proper Application LEDs are so customizable that there are specialty bulbs and fixtures for almost every application. Know if your LED bulb will perform in your current climate, environment, or space beforehand.

In Summary: While LED technology has an amazing long life, it does need to be mindfully employed to give you the benefits it offers. Be sure to use the correct lighting product for your application, whether it be an elevator, bathroom, parking lot or factory, the best solution is the one designed to do the job.


MYTH 4: I don’t like CFLs so I won’t like LEDs

It wasn’t too long ago that Compact Fluorescent Lamps were the next best thing for lighting. While they are much more efficient than incandescent bulbs, some attributes of CFLs were not universally liked. Let’s examine some common complaints and see what LEDs have done differently:

      • I hate the color of bulbs that aren’t incandescent. Old habits die hard. We have been using incandescent bulbs for almost 100 years. Most customers are accustomed to that color of light and are not fond of the ‘white light’ of CFLs. LEDs allow us to correct this by manipulating the color of each diode in order to match the light of an incandescent. To get the type of light you want, be sure to reference the Color Temperature, measured in degrees Kelvin, of the product before you buy it. A lower number, like 2700K is closer to incandescent than the brighter, bluer color temperature of 5000K.
      • CFL’s have hazardous mercury in them. Like linear fluorescent lamps, CFLs also contain small amounts of mercury. There is no exposure risk with LEDs because they do not contain mercury or other hazardous materials.
      • They don’t get bright enough in the cold weather and it seems like they take a long time to warm up when I turn them on. CFLs are extremely sensitive to climate. They are not ideal for the elements or changes in temperature. LEDs light up instantly and performance is rarely limited by climate.
      • The CFLs always burn out quickly, especially in my fan – LEDs are more durable, last longer, and are not affected by vibrations or movement.

In Summary: Don’t assume you will not like LED bulbs based on your past experience with CFLs. The reasons customers do not care for CFLs have been addressed and improved upon. LEDs are now a legitimate option for replacing incandescent bulbs.


Interested in learning more about energy-efficient lighting?

See how a small LED Retrofit saved $3500 annually!

Even Shaky Cell Phone Photos Tell a Story About This Lighting Retrofit

LED Round Panel Retrofit

A picture is worth a thousand words, so these shaky cell phone photos are definitely worth the four or five hundred it takes to tell you about the lighting work TRC completed at this facility, a professional agency in southern Minnesota.

As you can see from the photos above this business recently retrofitted their lighting. You can see that in the photo on the left, the lighting is not only slightly outdated, but things look sort of green and dim (before). In the photo on the right, things are looking brighter and the color seems more natural (after). Look at the areas below the white "Before & After" tag line for a closer inspection. You can see how the desks and file cabinets on the left are tinged green, and on the right they appear to be brown and beige. This is a result of improved color rendering offered by LED lighting. The "before" lighting is Metal Halide lamps, which are known for their off colors as they age.

Of course, the better color rendering and improved look of the space is just one reason for this retrofit, another reason is dramatic savings. So, what about savings? Before their lighting project, the agency was using Metal Halide lamps, each fixture consuming over 250 watts and costing just over $4,200 annually to operate. The agency knew that this energy-efficiency project was going to pay off.

Here’s how we did it.

After meeting with the decision makers at this agency, TRC’s lighting consultant learned:

1) that the agency wanted to save money on their energy bills
2) they wanted to replace their lighting fixtures for an updated look
3) and to also have a better quality of light

After taking time to complete a lighting audit, the TRC consultant found a solution for the agency that would meet all of their criteria, and returned to the agency to present a full lighting redesign using the seriously energy-saving, circular LED panels you see in the “after” image.

These LED panels use just a fraction of the more than 250 watts consumed by the old metal halide fixtures. They take only 45 watts per fixture and by redesigning the lighting layout, the lighting consultant was able to reduce the number of overall fixtures required to successfully achieve the second and third criteria that the agency presented as their requirement for a successful project.

Here’s what this retrofit meant to the agency’s bottom line:
  • Estimated reduction of lighting costs by $3,700 annually

  • Utility rebate for this project was just over $2,400

  • Total greenhouse gas reduction (Metric Tons of CO2) is 25 tons

  • Which is equivalent to saving 2,800 gallons of gasoline

  • Or 8.71 Tons of waste recycled instead of landfilled

Want to know more about LED options for your retrofit project? Just ask us!  Schedule a Consult Today!

7 Great Energy Saving Tips You Can Use Today

We talk a lot about how businesses can start saving energy and resources by retrofitting their lighting systems. This can seem like a humongous project if you aren’t a business owner, or if you aren’t the person at your company who is responsible for finding this type of savings opportunity. Today’s blog is for you: Great Energy Saving Tips You Can Use Today. Some of them you can even use RIGHT NOW.  They are all very simple, so simple; you may have just overlooked the potential for energy savings. If you are already following some of these tips, Congratulations! You’re already an energy saver!

1 Switch all of your light bulbs to energy efficient models like CFL (compact fluorescent) or LED. Or just switch the five you use the most. Energy Star confirms, “By replacing your home's five most frequently used light fixtures or the bulbs in them with models that have earned the ENERGY STAR, you can save $70 each year.” 

2 Make a habit to turn off lights when you leave a room. It’s probably something you’ve been taught your entire life, but if you (or the kids) have a hard time making this habit stick, consider using an occupancy sensor to turn lights off when you aren’t using them. Read more about lighting control and occupancy sensors.

3 Open your curtains & enjoy natural light whenever you can. It doesn’t get any easier than this!

4 On the flip-side, during colder months close your curtains at night to keep heat in. When you open them again during the daytime you benefit from the natural light (#3), but it will also help to warm up your space.

5 Avoid “energy vampires” by completely powering down your computer and other electronics at night or any time they will be unused for a longer period of time. In sleep or hibernate mode, your electronics are just standing by and still draw energy. Read more about Energy Vampires

6 Time to go RETRO. Turn off the dryer, and line dry your laundry. Not only will the sunshine help keep your whites whiter, but your sheets and shirts are going to smell great like the fresh air you dried them in. Not only do you save the gas or electricity used in heating up your dryer to dry your laundry, but you also keep your home cooler during hot summer months by line drying. This simple chore could even help cut your cooling bill!

7 Find out if your utility company offers green power options such as: wind, hydro, landfill gas, or biofuel power. Then call them today and make the switch. Use this resource to find your utility.

The use of electricity is a significant source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and every household has the potential to reduce energy usage. Buying green power can help reduce your environmental impact while also providing valuable benefits:

  • Avoid carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions
  • Reduce some types of air pollution
  • Hedge against future electricity price increases 

What other energy-saving steps are you taking at home or at work to promote sustainability? Share your ideas in our comments section today.

LED Lighting History & Facts: An Abbreviated Wiki

Chances are you aren’t living in the dark, so you’ve seen and read all about LED lighting technology, how quickly it is changing the face of lighting, and you have likely noticed how expensive this solid state lighting can be. We wanted to share a short blog entry about the history of Light Emitting Diodes and some of the more pertinent technology facts that were consolidated from Wiki sources. We aren’t physicists, but we still think lighting can be interesting. Especially, when the technology is this cool.


By 1994, technology of the light emitting diode had progressed beyond red and orange-colored lights and the “high brightness” or blue LED was developed, which lead quickly to the development of the white LED we see today. The efficiency and light output of LED lighting has risen exponentially, approximately doubling every 36 months since the 1960’s. 
In 1927, Russian inventor Losev discovers LED’s, but has no practical use for them. Over the course of a few decades, no huge headway is made, but in 1962 the General Electric Company refines the first visible LED which is red in color. Just shortly after this, LED is put into its first practical applications and was used as indicator lighting in laboratory machinery and electronics. Price was a major prohibitive factor for LED lighting even then, so it was not widely used.

LED technology boasts long lamp life, very low wattages and operational costs, and is used widely in many applications. In 2013, expect to see solid state lighting artistically incorporated into interior design and sculptural elements in places such as hotels and common areas of high end business offices. But more so, look for increased usage of LED technology in exterior applications, such as parking lots, parking ramps and street lights. The light quality of LED brings safety and efficiency to these applications. The improvements in linear LED technology means you can look to this lighting type for solutions to replace common lensed troffers and parabolic lighting often found in offices and retail locations.

As an added bonus, many in the industry believe the trend will be to make pricing for LED products more attainable, financially. This is the result of the leveling off of that exponential growth discussed in the previous section. It is believed a certain point of diminishing returns is near and that that reliable LED technology, coupled with efficiency requirements will lead the market to create products that work well, are energy efficient and no longer as cost prohibitive. Many utility companies do offer rebates for customers upgrading to LED lighting.



  • LED lighting technology is known to work better in cooler temperatures

  • The diodes rarely fail suddenly, or ‘burn out’ in the conventional way we know incandescent lights to do. Instead LED’s gradually loose light overtime and become less bright.

  • LED’s give more lumens (light) per watt than incandescent lights

  • LED lamps can turn off and on in an instant, and are not affected by “cycling” or frequent off/on like fluorescent technology, which is known to loose life as a result of cycling.

  • LED gives off less UV and infrared (heat) than other light sources, making it safer in archival applications such as museums.

  • LED is solid state technology meaning it is more difficult to damage via external shock, unlike incandescents or compact fluorescents which can break in situations with a lot of vibration.


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