Are LEDs the Lights of the Future? (updated 2019)

It’s a question that we will all have to consider at one point…

Why?

Well, with our world’s health slowly deteriorating – or as some would put it; “global warming slithering its way into existence,” – there is a great need now, more than ever, to switch to greener lifestyles.

And lighting is a big part of that!

How?

Check out these facts:

LED light future image
LED Light Future

Statistics on Energy Consumption (Lighting) in the U.S.

LED Lighting Demand From 2015-2023
LED Lighting Demand Sheet

Yes!

The numbers are that good. And as they say, “numbers never lie!”

Now:

Looking at the LED lighting industry, there have been a lot of positive changes and promising developments.

Generally, the number of LED light users has been growing steadily.

And according to Wikipedia, the LED light industry is expected to grow by up to 12 times between 2014 and 2023.

So, you may be wondering; why?

Why is the LED light industry growing so rapidly?

Or, why are more and more people turning to LED lights?

Well, there are a couple of reasons that can help to explain these questions.

For example:

  • LEDs last longer. Some can last up to 100,000 hours (or over 30 years) without breaking down.
  • LEDs are more energy and cost efficient. These lights can reduce electricity consumption and cost by up to 80%.
  • With LED’s, people get to enjoy convenienceslike dimming capabilities, changing light color, instant switching, no heating, and equal light distribution just to mention a few.
  • A lot of countries have adopted (or are adopting) a ban on incandescent light bulbs.
  • LEDs are kinder to the environment and greenerthan other light technologies.

The list of perks is endless.

Now, with that in mind, there are a few things you need to know about LED lights in order to understand their future.

Luckily, this post covers everything you need to know about LED light future.

So, let’s dive into the exciting bits about this topic.

Chapter 1: The History of LED Lights

To better understand the future of LED light, we must first look at its past.

This chapter aims to answer questions like:

  • When was the first LED light invented?
  • How many improvements have been made?
  • Are there any better alternative forms of lighting?

But first, the basics:

Lighting dates back 120,000 year BC when the fire became widely used by humans.

However, it wasn’t until the 18th century when better lighting options started popping up.

Since then, there have been major improvements in lighting technologies.

Nowadays, the main light technologies include:

TimeLine of Lighting Technology
TimeLine of Lighting Technology

Each of these technologies has a unique set of qualities that set them apart from the others.

So, let’s look at each of them briefly.

1. Incandescent Lights

These kinds of lights are probably the oldest and most popular lighting fixtures of the 20th century.

The first real incandescent light bulb was invented by Thomas Edison and Joseph Wilson Swan in 1879.

And that was mainly because their version of the incandescent bulb was more effective, durable, and economically viable.

However, as time went by, and more efficient and durable lighting technologies like fluorescents and LEDs emerged, incandescent lights started to lose popularity.

And that’s why, since 2005 to date, a number of countries in Asia, Europe, Australia, North and South America have placed a ban on the use of incandescent light bulbs.

That means that in a few decades to come, no one will be using incandescent light bulbs.

Incandescent Lights
Incandescent Lights

Advantages of Incandescent Bulbs

  • They are very cheap to buy. Probably the cheapest of all types of lighting technologies.
  • Incandescent bulbs were the first real forms of modern lighting.

Disadvantages

  • Very inefficient.
  • Short lifespans ranging between a 1,000 and 1,500 hours.
  • Prone to heating and burning out.
  • Very expensive to maintain.
  • Offers low-quality light.
  • Plus, these lights are limited in many ways. E.g. they aren’t easily dimmable like LED lights.

2. Fluorescent Lamps

According to Wikipedia’s “Timeline of Lighting Technology,” the first form of fluorescent lighting was demonstrated by A. E. Becquerel in 1867.

However, the modern fluorescent lamp was patented by Edmund Germer in 1926.

At the time, fluorescents were the best alternatives to incandescent lights.

Why?

Well, fluorescents could last longer, offer brighter lighting because they had a higher luminous efficacy, and didn’t consume as much energy as incandescent bulbs.

The only downside to using fluorescents at the time is that they were costlier than most lighting technologies.

Plus, these lights use mercury and are classified as hazardous waste by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Fluorescent Lamps
Fluorescent Lamps

Advantages of Fluorescent Lamps

  • They have a longer lifespan than incandescent bulbs. Fluorescent lamps can last up to 10,000 hours.
  • These lights shine brighter than incandescent luminaries. They can yield up to 100lm/W.
  • Plus, they do not heat up as much as incandescent bulbs do.

Disadvantages

  • They don’t light up instantly. Therefore, fluorescents may cause visual irritation and are not be ideal for emergency lighting.
  • They are hazardous because of their mercury content. Breakage could expose people to harm.
  • Fluorescents cost more than incandescent bulbs.
  • These light fixtures are affected by extreme temperatures.
  • They don’t support dimming.
  • Fluorescents aren’t environmentally friendly.

3. Metal-Halide Lamps

Just like incandescent bulbs, metal halides operate on similar principles.

The key differences between metal-halides and incandescent bulbs are that metal-halides use vaporized mercury and metal halides in order to achieve lighting.

Now:

When looking at the performance, metal-halides are brighter, efficient, and more durable than incandescent lights.

During the beginning of the 21st century, these light fixtures were quite popular in all areas – residential, commercial, and industrial.

Note that:

Metal Halides were highly applicable and unlike fluorescents, these lights could withstand harsh environments; which is why they were mostly for outdoor use.

Unfortunately, metal-halides came with their own set of downsides.

For one, they take longer to light up. Also, they can explode when they reach their lifespan limits. Lastly, the fact that they have mercury as a component makes them just as hazardous as fluorescent lamps.

Metal-Halide Lamps
Metal-Halide Lamps

Advantages of Metal-Halide Lights

  • Great for outdoor lighting.
  • Provide white lights.
  • They have a wide spectrum.
  • Metal-Halides are also fairly efficient.

Disadvantages

  • They take minutes to fully light up.
  • Metal-Halides contain toxic materials like mercury.
  • They tend to blow/explode when they are worn out.
  • They aren’t energy –efficient.
  • Metal halides take at least 5 minutes before they can be restarted.

4. LED Lights

The LED light boom started after Shuji Nakamura invented the first practical form of LED lighting in 1995.

Since then, LEDs have proven to be the best, most effective lighting technologies in today’s world.

Wondering how?

Basically, an LED light fixture can use up to 80% less energy; which can result in an 80% reduction in lighting costs.

Moreover…

LED last longer – up to 100,000 hours – hence cutting down replacement and maintenance costs.

Note that:

LED light adoption took time. And that was mainly due to three main reasons:

  • It was a new technology; so, very few people knew about it.
  • There were only a handful of manufacturers in the beginning.
  • The cost of switching to LED lighting was a bit steep.

These three factors acted as impediments to fast and widespread adoption of LEDs.

However, as time went by, there were a few positive shifts that made LEDs more and more appealing.

For example:

There was an increased awareness of the benefits of using LED lights over incandescent bulbs. Also, there was a rise in the number of LED manufacturers; hence prices became more competitive eventually lowering the cost of upgrading to LED lights.

And according to Statista, LED penetration into the global lighting industry will be at 61% by the year 2020.

Surprised? Don’t be.

This means that LED light technologies will continue to assert dominance in the lighting industry until a better, more-efficient alternative emerges.

Therefore, the future looks bright for LEDs, doesn’t it?

LED Lights
LED Lights

Advantages of LED Lights

  • Very energy-efficient.
  • Bright.
  • Can last up to 100,000 hours.
  • Most are strong and fully protected against corrosion, water, and dust damage. E.g. IP66 LED Lights.
  • LEDs don’t heat up.
  • They switch on/off instantly.
  • Easy to install and maintain.
  • Have dimming capabilities and so on.

Disadvantages

  • High initial cost as compared to other lighting technologies.
  • Some LED lights cause blue light pollution.

Now that you are all caught up with the history of LED lights, you may also be wondering:

How do LEDs compare to other lighting technologies? Or are there any better alternatives to LED luminaries?

If so, this next chapter is for you…

Chapter 2: LED Lights Comparison to Other Lighting Technologies

If you were to test an LED light next to incandescent light, how would it compare?

What benefit or perks make LEDs better than any other kind of lighting fixture?

Well…

To find out, a few comparisons have to be made.

LED Lights vs. Incandescent Lights

By now, you probably know that LEDs are way better than incandescent lights.

With incandescent bulbs, the only real benefit is that they are very cheap. On average, the price of one LED light fixture could fetch you up to six incandescent bulbs.

Unfortunately, that’s as good as it’s going to get with incandescent lights because the rest of its features are inferior to LEDs.

For Example:

While a standard incandescent bulb has a lifetime of 1000 hours, standard LEDs can last up to 100,000 hours; that’s 100 times more durable…

Also, due to their high energy efficiencies, LED lights can produce the same amount of lighting using very little power. Basically, one incandescent bulb is equivalent to approximately five LED fixture; which makes incandescent bulbs very inefficient.

Anyway:

In summary, here a quick table of comparison between LED lights and Incandescent bulbs:

Quality

LED Lights

Incandescent Bulbs

· Heating Problems

None

Yes

· Energy Efficiency

Up to 130lm/W

Up to 15lm/W

· Durability

Up to 100,000 hours

Up to 1,000 hours

· Has Mercury

No

Yes, some

· Supports dimming

Yes

No

· Spectrum

Wide

Narrow

· Instant On/Off

Yes

Yes

Evidently, LED lights offer more convenience and greater value for money than Incandescent bulbs.

Moving on…

LED Lights vs. Fluorescent Lamps

When the first real fluorescent light was invented, most people saw it as the best alternative to incandescent lights.

But:

That was before LEDs came into the picture.

Despite the fact that fluorescents are better than incandescent bulbs, they still don’t match up to LED light technology.

Generally, LEDs and fluorescents share two common qualities:

  • They are both better than incandescent bulbs.
  • They both have a standard bright white light.

But that’s as far as their similarities go.

In terms of durability, LED’s last up to seven times longer than fluorescents.

Also, LEDs are slightly more energy efficient than fluorescents.

The major downsides to using Fluorescent fixtures as compared to LEDs are:

  • Fluorescent take longer to light up. They flicker.
  • Fluorescents also heat up. LEDs don’t.
  • These luminaries contain mercury; which makes them hazardous, unlike environmental-friendly LEDs.

LED Lights vs. Metal-Halide Lamps

Well…

Just like the other comparisons above, LEDs are highly beneficial compared to metal-halides.

In fact, LED fixtures are better in all aspects including durability, efficiency, convenience, operational costs, as well as safety.

Metal-halide light technology may have been the best choice for outdoor lighting a few decades ago.

However, with the on-set of high-performance outdoor LED luminaries, metal halides are bound to be phased out too.

And that’s a good thing.

Why?

Well, for one, these luminaries are toxic since they contain mercury and other chemicals. Also, they pose safety risks – due to unexpected explosions – especially when they exhaust their lifespan.

Not to mention the fact that they use up a lot of energy to operate and take minutes to fully light up.

So, if you’re given a choice to choose between metal halides and LEDs, what would it be?

LEDs, obviously.

And the same applies to all the comparisons above.

Now:

Aside from demand and benefits, other factors can affect the future of LED lighting.

Take production, for instance.

Without manufacturers, the LED lighting industry would cease to exist.

Therefore, it’s also a vital factor to look into. Luckily, the next chapter is all about that.

Chapter 3: LED Light Main Manufacturers and Cities in China.

Great…

Now, let’s get the best answers to these questions:

  • Where do LED lights come from?
  • Who are the key players?
  • Which Chinese city is the largest producer of LED lights?

First of all, you should know that China is the world’s leading producer of LED lights.

That’s partly because of their advancements in technology as well as the fact that most LED light industry’s leading manufacturers like ShineLong, are located in various Chinese cities.

It is these companies that shape the LED light future by ensuring they always produce the best and most reliable products.

Obviously, when the product is good, the demand will be high.

And that’s why getting to know the key stakeholders is also critical to understanding the future of this rapidly growing industry.

So, without further ado…

Here are the top four biggest LED producing cities by market share:

1. Shenzhen

Shenzhen is one of China’s biggest LED light producer. In 2018, this city’s LED light exports accounted for 20.18% of China’s net export volume. And it was estimated to be around $6.8 Billion in export value.

Now:

Shenzhen is strategically located and offers lots of incentives for those in the manufacturing industry. Aside from being a technological hub, Shenzhen also boasts of state of the art transportation systems for both air, land and sea.

Hence, making the logistics of industrial products easy and convenient.

The best LED light manufacturer in Shenzhen is ShineLong Technology Corp., LTD.

Shenzhen China Location
Shenzhen China Location

2. Ningbo

Ningbo is the second largest LED light producing city in China after Shenzhen.

In 2018, it yielded $2.4 Billion in LED light exports. And that accounted for 7.13% of the total export market share.

3. Zhongshan

Coming up at number three – Zhongshan City.

As of 2018, this city had a 4.68% export share with an overall value of 1.5 Billion USD in exports.

Fun fact:

The town of Guzhen – also known as “China’s Lighting Capital” – is located in Zhongshan city.

Zhongshan China Location
Zhongshan China Location

4. Xiamen

Last on this list is Xiamen City.

As of 2018, it was the 4th biggest exporter of LED lights with a market share value worth 1.4 Billion U.S. dollars.

That figure ensured its 4.34% stake in the total export share last year.

Now:

With that in mind, here’s a quick rundown of how the LED light industry has been doing over the past decade…

Chapter 4: The LED Light Industry’s Current Status and Penetration Rate

For most economies, the year 2018 was a dull one.

There was a lot of uncertainty and volatility. And as a result, the LED lighting industry’s growth was slowed.

However, that didn’t affect its penetration rate.

Due to the fact that LEDs are eco-friendly and non-toxic, a lot of governments and people are switching to these incredible fixtures.

That – in turn – improved LED penetration rate by a substantial margin.

To get a clearer picture, here is a simplified table highlighting the percentage change per year since 2009:

Historical Data

Year

Penetration

2009

1.5%

2010

2.9%

2011

6.6%

2012

11.3%

2013

17.1%

2014

21.7%

2015

27.2%

2016

31.2%

2017

36.7%

2018

42.5%

Future Projections

According to Statista.com, the end of 2019 will see LED light penetration rise to 53% and 61% by 2020.

Basically, the growth curve seems to be holding steady.

That means that in less than a decade, LED light technology penetration will probably surpass the 90% mark.

Impressive, isn’t it?

Lastly, let’s look at a few things that seem to be working in favor of the LED light industry…

Chapter 5: Three Market Applications Are Improving the LED Light Future

As we wind up, we can also look at the things that seem to be accelerating LED light penetration.

Obviously, you already know that LED lights are highly applicable and can be used in all kinds of environments.

And we can attribute this fact to the increase in LED penetration.

But, there are a few more factors worth noting…

For instance:

1. Smart LED Lighting

In the simplest terms…

Smart LED lighting is, basically, increasing the efficiency of this lighting technology.

That’s achievable by:

  • Automating controls – installing an auto-switch that turns the lights on when a person walks into a room and off when they leave the room.
  • Dimming features – LEDs allow dimming; which is a great way to conserve electricity when theirs is little illumination needed.
  • Daylight sensors – This is a feature that’s common in most outdoor LED fixtures. It allows the fixture to turn on and off as per the time of day or night; or by measuring the amount of light around the fixture (if there’s little light, the fixture goes on and vice versa).

Features like these make LED lights more appealing to buyers looking for the best light for their spaces.

2. Niche LED Lighting

Niche LED lighting is becoming a trend in the world of interior design.

It involves fitting LED lights into a wall niche or alcove. The lights can be fully or semi-recessed; as per the designers décor preferences.

The end result is a stylish, charming, and cost-effective boost to a room’s aesthetics.

As this design style continues to trend, so will LED light penetration.

3. Emerging Countries Lighting

This is yet another effective factor in driving LED penetration.

Since LED light technology presents itself as a cost-effective, cleaner, non-toxic, durable, and more efficient alternative to other forms of lighting, more and more developing countries are adopting it.

That’s because:

  • It offers cost-effective and affordable lighting technology that can greatly benefit even the lower –class members of society.
  • LED’s lights are the future of lighting because of their features, eco-friendliness, and long lifespans. And that’s why most emerging countries would prefer starting with this technology instead of enduring the stress and expenses that come with upgrading at a later point in time.
  • More and more countries are banning the use and manufacture of incandescent light.

Chapter 6: In Summary

It’s quite evident that the LED light future is bright.

And as time goes by, more and more people will continue to migrate to this impressive lighting technology.

And because of that more improvements will be made to ensure that LED lights are efficient and beneficial in all aspects.

Do you have any questions?

If so, contact us at ShineLong LED and we’ll be happy to help. We’ve got years of experience in all matters concerning LED lights and would love to share some insights with you.

You can reach us by visiting our CONTACT’S PAGE or by leaving a comment below. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

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