LED lighting is just one area where new lighting technology is taking off in spring 2011. Recently, California’s ban on 100W incandescent bulbs went into effect. At the end of 2011, the national ban is in place. By the beginning of 2014, other incandescent light wattages will start to disappear. One of the hottest trends in lighting for 2011 is the emergence of new lighting which takes advantage of the lower costs of LEDs. While LEDs are still more expensive than their CFL counterparts are, the prices are rapidly going down as technologies improve. Projections put LEDs as the industry leader by 2020.
The CFL industry is not putting up with the increasing competition coming from LED lights. They are continuing to improve the efficiency and color output of their bulbs. In recent days, cold cathode fluorescent lamps have become the popular option for many. The CCFL provides many of the same traditional incandescent characteristics that their CFL cousins do. They do not require warm up time. They do not produce the flickering that some CFL bulbs do. These bulbs run cooler, last longer and are more energy efficient. They also produce better color than the CFL.
Another emerging trend you will hear more about is the ESL lamp. ESL stands for electron-stimulated luminescence. This lighting alternative happens when electrons hit a fluorescent surface. It is similar to an old cathode ray. Consumers who are familiar with the lamps find their light is better quality than either the LED or the CFL. They do not use mercury in their manufacture. By mid 2011, a traditionally shaped ESL bulb will be on the market. While the cost is not where it needs to be, at this point, the ESL bulb may prove a competitor for LED lighting in the next few years.
One of the trends that will continue to emerge in 2011, is the continuing emphasis by manufacturers on the CRI and the lumens per watt rating. CRI stands for color rendering index. This indicates how well a light renders color to the human eye. The sun is at the top of the scale at 100. A good light bulb will render 80 CRI or above. The lumens per watt rating indicate how much light each watt of power produces. The higher the ratio, the better off your power bill will be. LED lighting is closer to 100 than CFLs are.