Lighting The Future
Philips is believed to be the first company to light an entire office block with LEDs. The office, owned by Generaly and located on the Champs– Elysees, Paris, marks a milestone in lighting history. Throughout the office spaces 422 luminaires in 600mm x 600mm grids have been integrated into a false ceiling. Each luminaire is powered by 12 or 16 high power 2.6W LEDs. This provides an average of 300mlux everywhere and 500 lux on the working planes. In addition, recessed SpotLed 3 K2 luminaires, each with three Luxeon high–power LEDs have been installed in the corridors.
Late last year Philips announced that it is to completely transform its professional indoor luminaire business from conventional to LED Light sources. So despite being around for nearly 40 years, does this move by one of the world‘s leading manufacturers herald the arrival of LED as a real contender to conventional light sources?
Demand for LEDs is growing at a significant pace. Philips expects the world market for LEDs to grow in excess of 30% annually from €700m to €1.5bn by 2010.
Evolutuion of LEDs
The first major development in LED technology saw the introduction of bright LEDs in the 1980s. This was followed by the launch of white versions in the early 1990s. Since then, the product offering for LEDs has continued to expand and today they are emerging as real competitors to Fluorescent and Halogen lighting.
Three types of LED
- High Flux – High flux LEDs have greater outputs and are used for illumination.
- Low Output – Low output LEDs are smaller and are invariably employed for ’way finding‘.
- Dynamic LEDs – Dynamic LEDs offer colour changing capabilities.
LEDs are small, very durable light sources that are unaffected by vibrations, give–off very little heat and little or no UV. Typical applications include interior design and general lighting — witness the wealth of new LED downlights entering the market — as well as directional lighting in buildings.
The light sources are also used for:
- effect lighting.
- back lighting.
- safety lighting.
Birmingham‘s Bullring Shopping Centre will benefit from a staggering 85% reduction in lighting energy consumption, following the decision to replace its current decorative lighting scheme with an LED solution. Philips eW® Cove Powercore, which delivers a high quality white light, has replaced cold cathode lighting to illuminate the areas around the main escalators,toilets and lifts as well as decorative shaped facets recessed into the ceiling voids of the main walkways. LED street lighting luminaires have also been installed on the main approaches to the shopping centre.
Their two key benefits are energy efficiency and life span. LED lifetimes vary between 30,000 hours up to 100,000 hours. This means that some LEDs can last up to 30 years, thereby dramatically reducing maintenance costs.
It‘s for this reason that high output LEDs are increasingly being installed in applications where maintenance or replacement of Lamps can be an issue, such as signage or pelmet lighting.
Low Energy Consumption
However, it‘s low energy consumption that attracts most designers and installers to LEDs. For instance, replacing a 60W GLS light fitting with an LED alternative, such as Osram‘s Dragontape, will reduce energy consumption by 73% and extend the life of the light by 2,500%. Alternatively, replace a 35W LV halogen light with an equivalent LED fitting and energy consumption will be lowered by 42% and the life of the installation increased by 625%.
The latest ’plug and play‘ versions also mean that LEDs are much easier to install and control digitally. As development continues and the cost of LEDs continues to reduce, the question is less about whether LEDs have arrived and more one of when they will completely replace traditional light sources?