How many archaeologists does it take to change a light bulb?

Three: One to change it and two to argue over the age of the old one. (*rimshot*) I love a good light bulb joke as much as the next guy in the lighting biz. But the era of light bulb jokes is dimming, and you can blame long-lasting LED lighting. These days, parents can screw an LED light in their child’s nursery and potentially not worry about changing it until they leave for college. LED lighting lasts significantly longer and saves more energy than other lighting technologies. But that doesn’t mean all home and business owners are chomping at the bit to swap out their old, inefficient lighting. After all, LED lighting costs more upfront than its filament and fluorescent foes. Make The Lighting Revolution Count As energy-efficiency ninjas, it’s our job to make sure consumers have all the facts. And that starts by informing the market about LED lighting. This isn’t a fad.  The U.S. Department of Energy forecasts that in the next 20 years, LED lighting will account for the majority of lighting applications, with the commercial market leading the way. We can’t let the upfront costs of LED lighting deter consumers or businesses. Our inner energy-efficiency guru must shine through and stress that consumers can recoup their costs over time and then continue to rack up savings for years since LED lighting saves more energy and lasts way longer. It’s a pretty easy concept for business owners to understand because they’re the ones who typically have to pay a maintenance person to swap out spent lights. For example, I’m sure there are hotel owners who can give us an earful about the hassle and expense of replacing burned-out, inefficient lights in lobbies. They must pay an electrician to wheel in a scissor lift and swap out hard-to-reach lights in the wee hours of the morning, when lobby traffic is low.  But homeowners don’t always think about the total life-cycle and maintenance costs of lighting because they’re not getting paid to swap out bulbs. What the Industry Needs to Know How can we expect business and homeowners to understand the benefits of this new technology if we don’t have a firm grasp of it ourselves? Fortunately, many consumers in the Northeast are leading the switch to LED lighting by taking advantage of rebates from progressive utility companies. Utilities in the Northeast are helping lead the nation by partnering with big box stores to offer rebates for LED fixtures and bulbs. But if we want to save more energy through the use of LED lighting, we must make sure we know what to tell people when they ask us about it. Here are some helpful facts we should all be ready to share:
  • Look for the “Lighting Facts Label.” These labels are similar to the nutrition labels you find on food packaging, providing details about the light. The Federal Trade Commission mandates that Lighting Facts labels must be included on all lighting product packaging beginning Jan. 1, 2012.
Some LED lighting manufacturers, including Cree, have already begun including the labels. That’s a good thing because a recent DOE report on LED replacement lamps found that the new Lighting Facts Labels helped to reduce the likelihood of dissatisfaction.
  • Be able to explain the difference between “lumens” and “watts.” Most of us know that watts are a measurement of energy consumption and lumens measure how bright a light is. But many consumers still equate wattage with brightness since they know incandescent lights with a higher wattage being brighter.
Now that more efficient lighting options exist, we must help consumers accept lumens as a measure of light output. Otherwise, shoppers might have a hard time finding the light levels they need.
  • LED lighting is beautiful, when done right. You should be satisfied with the light quality coming from your LED lights. The best way to ensure this is to know what color light you want. Warm light will be close to 2700K. Neutral light is closer to 3500K. Cooler light is closer to 5000K or more.
With any introduction of new technology there will always be “what ifs” and unknowns. It’s important that we, as promoters of energy-efficiency, are leading the LED lighting revolution by staying informed and spreading accurate information. Oh, and by the way, had those archeologists installed an LED light, they would have needed to find something else to argue about. Because they would probably be retired by the time it burned out.
Rick  Bain is the Director of Business Development at CREE, a market-leading innovator of lighting-class LEDs, LED lighting, and semiconductor solutions for wireless and power applications.  CREE is also a NEEP Partner.

Stay informed

Stay up to date with the latest NEEP and industry news, policies, and trends to your inbox every so often.