Challenges

Color consistency – from fixture to fixture as well as the color shift that may occur after 1,000 hours of life. It's important to purchase LEDs from reputable manufacturers with testing data that will support their spec points. This will help ensure you will have the color you want in the desired space. Manufacturers use standardized categorization areas, called bins, for the colors of "white" LEDs. LED manufacturers use binning to manage variations in LED performance during mass production. Because of varying performance levels, specific bin selections can make products more expensive.

LED

Thermal Management – it is a myth that LEDs do not produce heat. They simply do not radiate heat into a space like a fluorescent or incandescent lamp. LEDs need the heat they produce to be conducted away in order to maintain their color consistency, light output, and lifetime claims.

Cost – according to the Department of Energy (DOE), costs of LED lighting products vary widely. Good-quality LED products currently carry a significant cost premium compared to standard lighting technologies. However, costs are declining rapidly. Recent industry roadmapping indicates prices for warm white LED packages have declined by half, from approximately $36 to $18 per thousand lumens (kilolumens, or klm) from 2009 to 2010. Prices are expected to decline significantly, to approximately $2/klm by 2015. It is important to compare total lamp replacement, electricity, and maintenance costs over the expected life of the LED product.

Compatibility – LEDs are championed as a versatile light source with a multitude of control options, but compatibility issues between products hinder these benefits from becoming a reality. You must make sure the dimmer is compatible with your LED system. You can't assume your incandescent dimmer will automatically work with your LED lamp or fixture.

Industry Standards – like traditional lighting products, LED-based products sold in the U.S. are subject to industry standards governing safety and performance. To accommodate LEDs, some existing standards and test procedures are being modified, while in other cases, new standards are being developed. ANSI and IESNA have published standards addressing some aspects of LEDs. However, the establishment of standards is being done at a slower rate than the acceptance of the LED technology and the influx of new entrants into the space.

Testing – the DOE has conducted numerous tests of LED lamps and fixtures, called CALiPER testing. These tests have concluded that a stunning 80 percent of LED manufacturer claims are false! These are mainly from the off-the-shelf products that were rushed to market. You MUST be wary of the LEDs you purchase to ensure they will meet your expectations.