Department of Energy Lighting Market Study Results

a guest post by Lisa J. Reed, Lighting Designer

Department of Energy Lighting Market Study Results

This spring the Department of Energy released the fourth iteration of an important report. Interestingly, the first version, released in 2003, was entitled Energy Savings Estimates of LEDs in Niche Lighting Applications. It included analyses of colored light and consumer electronics applications, which are no longer included in the report because these uses of LEDs have reached market saturation!

Wow – we have come a long way in just 10 years! For colored light, LEDs have saturated the market, and the report itself is no longer titled LED for niche applications, but instead we are looking at the use of LEDs in common applications. The DOE analyzed common indoor lamp replacement applications such as A-lamps, MR16 lamps, directional lamps (such as PAR, BR, and R lamps), and decorative lamps (such as flame and globe lamps.) They also considered common indoor fixtures such as downlights, troffers (and other typically fluorescent fixtures), as well as high bays. Common outdoor fixtures such as streetlights and parking lot/parking garage lights rounded out the applications included in this year’s study.

You can read the entire 65-page report on the status of the adoption of LEDs for common lighting applications. Or you can read the DOE summary of the report here.

The Department of Energy has invested a lot of money in the research and development of LED lighting. They were pleased to release a report this spring that shows that all of that investment may be showing a good return, with still more potential in the future. In fact, the energy cost savings from installations in 2012 alone ($675M) are more than double the entire DOE solid state lighting program investment over the past 10 years ($270M).

If you are still asking yourself, “Why all the fuss over LEDs?” This report contains the answers.

  1. The United States could cut its lighting energy consumption in half. The DOE believes the potential energy savings in existing lighting sockets today is $37 billion. Per year. Every year. Just energy savings. This does not even include maintenance or additional savings that could be realized by using lighting controls to turn ‘em off when no one's around.
  2. Of all of the applications that were analyzed, the one with the greatest market penetration (MR16 lamps) is currently 10%. MR16 lamps alone are saving US consumers $33.75 million per year in energy costs. There is potential for an additional $700 million per year.
  3. The savings and projections are only based on the performance of the LED products available in 2012. But the technology still hasn’t peaked. We have seen new products released this year claiming to be 30% more efficient than last year’s models. It is amazing to think that the potential might be even greater than what is represented in this report.

What will the next 10 years reveal? Will the 2023 report show market saturation for common LED applications? The projection is for savings to be $30 billion per year by 2030. Sounds like an achievable goal to me!


Lisa J Reed photo - Lighting Blog

Lisa J. Reed has been attracted to lighting (like a moth to a flame) for 20+ years. She is the Founding Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC in St. Louis, where she designs, teaches, and writes about architectural lighting.


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