Any conventional lighting fixture with a standard socket is a candidate for long-life, energy-saving retrofit LED lamps. The new retrofit products are easy to install: take out the old bulb and simply screw-in the LED replacement.
Incandescent bulbs will soon phase out, leaving a gap for better alternatives. While there are a number of different factors to take into consideration when choosing a replacement for incandescents, LED-based replacement lamps are the perfect solution for lamp manufacturers and users looking to save energy. This includes lamp designs consisting of omnidirectional A-lamps, LED-based tubes designed for linear fluorescent sockets and directional and reflector products such as PAR, MR, and BR lamps. We’ll focus on just the A lamps here that can fit into a regular socket.
Huge Opportunity For Replacement Lamps
In a report issued in April 2012, Strategies Unlimited reported that there were $2.2 billion in LED-based retrofit lamps sold in 2011. The report also projects 30% annual growth through 2016.
Lighting companies like Philips, GE Lighting, Osram Sylvania and Switch Lighting; intellectual property (IP) specialist Rambus MicroLens; and materials specialist 3M have all jumped in to seize the retrofit market with robust luminaire designs that meet consumer needs and are Star-Energy compliant. This has brought forward some great designs especially in omnidirectional A- lamps.
GE Lighting offers an entire line of innovative LED replacement lamps covering directional, omni-directional, decorative, dimming, tight optical control, accent, task, display, indoor and outdoor to meet different needs in retail, home, and hospitality sectors. This also includes the world’s first Energy Star 100 lumens per watt A-line.
Osram’s PARATHOM CLASSIC lamps have standard bases and familiar designs so that they can be used as direct replacements for conventional incandescent lamps up to 60 Watt. They impress with their outstanding value for money. The LED lamps in the classic incandescent lamp design come with extreme efficiency and dimmability; in average service life they achieve of up to 25,000 hours with energy consumption of only 1.6 Watt to 12 Watt.
Philips Lighting, that may have invested more than anyone in retrofit lamp development, has built retrofit lamps using a number of approaches. Philips came under the limelight for its remote-phosphor design lamps which were sold under the EnduraLED and Ambient LED brands. Since then, Philips has continuously worked on increasing the performance and overall aesthetics of the LED A-lamp.
EnduraLEDs are designed as simple retrofit replacements of existing inefficient technology, reducing installation cost and complexity. The screw-in and twist-in retrofits feature advanced technology to bring all the benefits of LEDs to current fixtures and systems. EnduraLED’s design addresses key issues: Heat management and overall lifespan for which Philips has combined leading research and product advances in optics, electrical LED packages, lamp shape and heat.
Philips L prize LED lamp was named one of the best inventions of 2009 by Time magazine. Sponsored by the U.S. DOE, the L Prize is the first government-sponsored technology competition designed to spur lighting manufacturers to develop high-quality, high-efficiency solid-state lighting products to replace the common light bulb.
Similarly, when it comes to government-backed efforts, DELP in India too has spurred manufacturers to increase production of LED replacement bulbs through competitive bidding of tenders taken out by EESL. Companies such as Philips, Bajaj Electricals, Crompton Greaves, Surya, Havells, Compact Lamps Pvt. Ltd., and Osram have become vendors for EESL projects country wide.
Choosing The Right LED Bulb
There are a few important factors to consider before selecting a new LED bulb in order to avoid the common pitfalls of switching from incandescent, halogen, or CFL to LED.
Color preference: Correlated color temperature (CCT) is measured in Kelvin to refer to the warmness or coolness of the white light that bulb produces. It is recommended to choose an LED bulb that has color temperature about 2700-3000K; the lower the number, the warmer the light. 3000K is less warm, and then as you go up the light becomes cooler and whiter – anything approaching 5000k will be nearly blue. Sometimes these are called ‘warm white’ or ‘cool white’.
Light quality: Color Rendering Index (CRI) is a measure of light quality, showing how well a light source replicate color to the human eye relative to daylight. CRI of 80 is the standard requirement for general home use.
Check the ‘lumens’: Most bulb packages come with a Lighting Facts panel. The lumens or light output is usually listed with a number, such as 800 or 1600. This number can be used to compare several LED bulbs, as well as compare LEDs with your current light bulbs.
Warranty: Choose a LED bulb that has at least a 3 year warranty. Some companies also offer a 5 year warranty for their customers. If your bulb fails before the warranty runs out, the manufacturer will replace it at no cost; this is designed as an incentive to switch from older technology bulbs to the new LED standard.
Dimmable LED bulbs: For scene setting, many LED retrofits are dimmable and offered in both warm and cool white but because of their circuitry, LEDs are not always compatible with traditional dimming switches. In such cases, either the switch must be replaced or a compatible LED bulb must be bought.
Declining Retail Prices And The EESL Edge
LED bulb retail prices in India range between Rs 160 to Rs 250. Under the DELP program, EESL is procuring LED lamps in bulk at 1/3rd the market price through competitive bidding and is distributing them to consumers through power distribution companies at an advance cost of Rs.10 each or through an upfront payment of INR 93 per LED bulb. Approximately 9 crore LED bulbs have been distributed under the scheme.
Earlier this year EESL partnered with Snapdeal, allowing consumers country-wide, especially in areas where the program hasn’t reached yet to buy a LED bulb at just Rs. 99. Available in packs of two, three, four or six, these LED bulbs are made from polycarbonate and feature Pin B22 base type. They have a power consumption of 9 Watts, life expectancy of 50,000 hours and a 3-year warranty. These bulbs are sourced from leading brands like Philips, Bajaj, Crompton, Osram, HPL, and many more.
Go Green; Increase Savings
LED lighting has become well established as a compelling sustainable lighting technology alternative to traditional lighting sources for the new green economy. Upgrading to LED bulbs is one of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce energy consumption as much as 90%. Now with the easy availability and affordability of new retrofit products, the market is showing a quick upward growth. The time is right to make the LED switch and take it beyond the home.