LED lighting is still a technology in infancy. It’s only been in common usage, mostly as indicators on electronic equipment since the early 1970s. If Haitz’s Law (which states that LED technology will improve, so that potential Light Efficacy as measured in lumens of light output per watt of electricity consumed, will double every 3 years or so) continues to hold true.
Already, LED lighting has become bright enough that we can use it as headlights on our automobiles, as indicator lighting on jet aircraft, and to light our homes. Most traffic lights now utilize LEDs.
In the next few years, energy conservation initiatives are going to continue to grow, backed in part by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which has mandated that every general purpose Incandescent light source in the country be replaced, in stages, by more efficient lighting.
The US Department of Energy has made prize money available, through the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize Competition, the goal of which is to inspire development of low-cost, high efficiency solid state lighting technologies.
More and more lighting in outdoor public spaces features LED sources. The A29 highway in Portugal uses only LED lighting. Cities are spending money and time retrofitting aging, inefficient Incandescent lamps with LED.
Lighting manufacturers have seen the trend to solid state lighting, and are gearing up to shift heavily into this new marketplace. Philips Lighting has reportedly stopped funding research into new Compact Fluorescent technology in order to dedicate their R&D resources entirely to solid state technologies.
This shift to new technology and the arrival of significant corporate interest in the sector means that the consumer will benefit from new, better lighting products, more universal access to these products, the lower costs associated with economy of scale. The future, for anyone looking at solid state lighting, is bright.
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