More than 8 billion lamps illuminate the United States, accounting for nearly 20 percent of all electricity consumption in the nation, according to a study released by the Department of Energy (DOE). The “2010 U.S. Lighting Market Characterization Report” estimates the national inventory of installed lamps and resulting energy consumption and lumen production in the residential, commercial, industrial and outdoor sectors. The report compares the data to a study published in 2001.

While the study points to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) being a negligible contributor to today’s existing lighting stock, the DOE predicts this technology will become the predominant light source over the next 15 years, according to another study that it published in 2012. “Energy Savings Potential of Solid-State Lighting in General Illumination Applications” forecasts adoption rates for LED general lighting fixtures and replacement lamps from 2010 through 2030 using a sophisticated model.

Combined, these reports provide a fascinating view of how the United States sees the lighting market over a three-decade span, including 20 years into the future. In general, demand for illumination is growing, lighting is continually becoming more efficient, and LEDs are very likely to dominate the future of lighting.

Existing lighting stock
Not surprisingly, the greatest portion of lamps is installed in the residential and commercial building sectors. The residential sector, including 113 million buildings with 241 billion square feet of floorspace, uses 5.8 billion lamps operating an average 1.8 hours per day. The commercial sector, including 5.5 million buildings with 81.2 billion square feet of floorspace, uses 2.1 billion lamps operating an average 11.2 hours per day.

Average lamp efficacy increased from 45 to 58 lumens per watt (LPW) between 2001 and 2010, indicating a general trend to higher efficiency driven primarily by market preference, commercial building energy codes, utility demand-side management programs, the sustainable design movement and product regulations.

In the residential market, which added 1.2 billion installed lamps between 2001 and 2010, a major technology shift from incandescent to compact fluorescent resulted in a decrease in lighting energy consumption from 208 to 175 terawatt-hours (TWh). The share of general-service incandescent lamps fell from 79 percent of the installed residential lighting base in 2001 to 52 percent in 2010. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) increased from 2 to 19 percent in 2010—with one general--service screwbase CFL in operation for every two general-service incandescent A-lamps—contributing to a reduction in average lamp wattage from 63 to 46 watts (W) and an increase in average lamp efficacy from 17 to 19 LPW. Dimmers control 12 percent of lamps—nearly 700 million—according to the DOE.

In the commercial market, which added about 100 million installed lamps between 2001 and 2010, a major technology shift from linear fluorescent T12 to T8 and T5 resulted in a decrease in lighting energy consumption from 391 to 349 TWh. The share of T8 in the installed base of linear fluorescent lamps increased from about 33 percent in 2001 to 61.6 percent in 2010—while T5 increased to 6.3 percent and T12 decreased to 31.3 percent—resulting in a reduction in average lamp wattage from 56 to 42W and an increase in average lamp efficacy from 51 to 70 LPW.

As various regulations eliminated a majority of magnetic T12 lamp ballasts from the market by 2010 and additional regulation eliminated a majority of linear T12 lamps in July 2012, the study suggests significant retrofit potential. According to the DOE, 538 million T12 lamps were in operation in 2010, including more than 400 million 4-foot lamps. End-users should be looking to upgrade these installations as they and their local distributors exhaust their inventories of T12 lamps and ballasts.

The study also highlights an opportunity for lighting controls in existing buildings. While commercial building energy codes have made various lighting control strategies commonplace in new construction, the study suggests that only about 30 percent of all lamps in the commercial building sector are controlled using dimmers implementing light reduction (3 percent); photosensors implementing daylight harvesting (negligible); occupancy sensors (5 percent) and scheduling systems (4 percent) implementing automatic shutoff strategies; and energy management systems implementing one or more of these strategies. As these strategies are proven to save significant amounts of energy, statistics suggests another major upgrade opportunity for electrical contractors to install existing building-friendly solutions, such as wall-switch occupancy sensors, wireless sensors and controls, line-voltage dimming systems, and intelligent panelboard upgrades.

The future is LED
Interestingly, while LED technology currently enjoys rapid adoption and dominates research and development efforts in the lighting industry, this young technology achieved only a 1 percent share of the total installed lighting base in 2010, even though the total number of LED lamps/installations had increased to nearly 50 million lamps since 2001, or a 3,000 percent increase.

In the commercial and industrial building sectors, about 80 percent of all LED lamps were installed in exit signs, with the remaining lamps—about 7.5 million—installed in display, track, task, area and other nonexit-sign lighting applications. In the outdoor sector, LEDs achieved a 3–4 percent share of the installed base of lamps used in roadway and parking lot lighting, while being predominant in traffic signals.

 

The DOE predicts that LEDs will continue to improve in price, efficacy and service life, accelerating its trajectory and becoming the dominant light source by 2025, according to the DOE’s January 2012 report, “Energy Savings Potential of Solid-State Lighting in General Illumination Applications.” As a result, the DOE expects U.S. lighting energy consumption to be slashed by nearly one-half, saving $250 billion over the next 20 years.

Calculating market share based on lumen-hours, or demand for light over time, rather than sales in units or dollars, the DOE predicts LEDs’ share of lumen-hour sales will grow to 10 percent by 2015, 36 percent by 2020, 59 percent by 2025, and 74 percent by 2030. This will translate to LEDs capturing a 50-percent share of the market as measured in total produced lumen-hours. In the short term, the DOE expects the biggest gains in the outdoor stationary lighting sector (29 percent of lumen-hour sales by 2015), with the smallest share for LED being in the commercial building sector (5 percent). The DOE expects the most successful future applications of LED lighting products to be outdoor general lighting, as an alternative to high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps, and residential general lighting, as an alternative to incandescent, halogen and CFL screwbase lamps.

Specifically, in the residential market, which is expected to grow 1.75 percent annually through 2030, LEDs are expected to achieve a market share of 25 percent of lumen-hours produced by all installed lighting in this building sector by 2020 and 62 percent by 2030, saving enough energy to power more than 80 million households. In the commercial building sector, which is expected to grow 1.22 percent annually through 2030, LED lighting penetration is forecast at a market share of 28 percent of new sales by 2020 and 70 percent by 2030. In the industrial building sector, which is expected to decline 0.94 percent annually through 2030, LED lighting penetration is forecast at 36 percent of new sales by 2020 and 72 percent by 2030. And in the outdoor stationary lighting sector, which is expected to grow 1.22 percent annually through 2030, LED lighting fixtures are projected to represent 87 percent of outdoor lighting sales.

Again, the DOE expects competitive improvement in efficacy, service life and price to drive growing demand for LED general lighting. The average efficacy of cool-white LED lighting fixtures competing with linear fluorescent, indoor and outdoor HID, and miscellaneous indoor general lighting was 70 LPW in 2010, on par with all general lighting in the commercial building sector. The DOE predicts the average efficacy of these LED products will increase to 145 LPW by 2015 and 193 LPW in 2020. By 2025–2030, the DOE expects efficacy to plateau at about 200 LPW as the technology approaches its theoretical efficiency limit, compared to about 86 LPW for conventional 4-foot T8 general lighting.

Concurrently, the average efficacy of warm-white general-service medium screwbase and reflector lamps was 37 LPW in 2010, compared to 10–15 for incandescent/halogen and about 45–55 for CFLs. The DOE predicts the average efficacy of these LED products will increase to 113 LPW by 2015 and 182 LPW by 2020, reaching a plateau of about 200 LPW by 2025–2030, while average efficacy of halogen and CFL technology is expected to increase by only about 10 percent. The disparity in efficacy with replacement lamps is even more pronounced than with general lighting fixtures, making LEDs very competitive.

Now let’s look at service life and cost. The average life of LED indoor lighting fixtures is expected to increase from 25,000 hours in 2010 to 44,000 hours in 2015 and 73,000-plus hours by 2020 and beyond. The average life of LED outdoor fixtures is expected to increase from 50,000 hours in 2010 to 68,000 hours in 2015 and 73,000-plus hours by 2020 and beyond. Meanwhile, the average service life of LED replacement lamps is expected to increase from 25,000 hours in 2010 to 48,000-plus hours by 2020 and beyond.

Regarding cost, the DOE predicts average initial cost for LED lighting fixtures will fall from about $180 per kilolumen in 2010 to about $42 in 2015 and as low as $13 in 2030, while average initial cost for LED replacement lamps will fall from about $55 per kilolumen in 2010 to $11.25 in 2015 and as low as $3.34 in 2030. (To provide a sense of scale, halogen reflector lamps cost an average $4.70 per kilolumen in 2010.)

In summary, if LED lighting continues the trajectory toward dramatically higher efficacy and operating life than incumbent technologies, at a competitive cost, it will become the dominant light source, sweeping the market in a remarkably short amount of time. The future, it seems, belongs to the LED.

Learn more
The 2010 U.S. Lighting Market Characterization Report contains nearly 90 pages of detailed estimates for the national inventory of installed lamps, offering both insight into how lighting is used as well as opportunities to capitalize on trends.
“Energy Savings Potential of Solid-State Lighting in General Illumination Applications” contains nearly 80 pages of detailed information evaluating the performance and cost of LED and incumbent technologies and forecasts LED lighting product adoption rates through 2030. Download it free at www.ssl.energy.gov/tech_reports.html.


DILOUIE, L.C., a lighting industry journalist, analyst and marketing consultant, is principal of ZING Communications. He can be reached at www.zinginc.com.