LEDs Improve Lighting Performance, Reliability
While LEDs have not surpassed the energy efficiency of traditional light sources, such as fluorescent, metal halide, or high-pressure sodium, this newer technology offers an immense energy savings compared with incandescent and halogen technology. Beyond that important benefit, taking total system efficiency into account in comparing an LED luminaire system to that of metal halide and compact fluorescent systems, managers will find LED technology is a viable alternative to many of today's popular sources.
The technology behind LEDs has forced many regulatory and standard-setting groups to question the use of incandescent technology. Organizations such as the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) argue incandescent lighting is irreplaceable, due to its warm color temperatures and unique color-rendering abilities. In fact, LEDs have changed the way managers and other building occupants look at lighting.
Focus on Benefits
Increased performance and reliability have pushed LEDs into the forefront of lighting technology. Luminaire designs favor small sources, such as LEDs. The point-source nature of LEDs increases performance, and it allows designers and engineers to push the boundaries of spacing limits. But if the application pushes the spacing too far, a large amount of glare can result and nearly negate the design's effectiveness.
Also, a luminaire's distribution derives from the placement of several diodes, not one lamp. Manipulating diode placement produces a different distribution, one that might be custom-designed to specific locations, such as a pathway or a parking lot. The precise placement of light equates to less spill or pollution and, in some cases, happier neighbors.
While many exterior lighting applications still feature products with more traditional lighting sources, LED-based technologies have penetrated all facets of the lighting market. Exterior or interior applications that do not have a potential solution centered on LEDs are rarities.