I've been trying to invest in LED lighting for almost a decade now. The promise of higher MTBF has been (to date) marketing hyperbole. They should last longer (in theory at least), but in reality they simply don't. Indoor and outdoor are both the same. Incompatibility with existing home automation equipment (most of which, such as X10, has simple Triac outputs) limits their usefulness even more (and NO, dimmable doesn't mean compatible).
The real change in the market has been their dropping cost along with their increasing lumens. This makes the disconnect between the MTBF claims and reality a little more palatable.
There has been some histry in regards to "eco-friendly" claims, where claims didn't hold up to the test of time.
I am specifically refering to the earlier compact fluroescent bulbs, which were suppose to last 10 years, but in reality only lasted about a year in many common usage situations. At $10/each, the user was expected to invest a substantial amount of money in a technology that had not withstood the test of time.
LED lighting certainly is an interesting technology, but it has not proven its true longevity yet. Government mandates are the driving force behind LED lighting, rather than successful real-world success. It has also forced manufaturing of light sources to another country. So, how much should we trust this technology?
True, there are applications where it has really proven cost effective, such as in traffic lights. But, my advice is to allow others to test this high-dollar technology that is rapidly changing. Holding off a year or two will dramatically reduce the cost, and increase confidence in the investment.
Excellent analysis. Even with all of the push behind LEDs, not too many decisions will be based on the facts (cost plus operating expenses) although you would expect commercial projects to take these factors into consideration. Thanks.
Obviously LSDs have huge future potenial and hey are more and more popular with general users,however the price is still abit high. Also all hat circuitry inside has to be somehow hadled after he bulb is done.
Thanks for this article, Emily. It's good to see the potential for LEDs on this kind of grand scale, and I like your cost-comparison breakdown. I think sometimes people just see the initial price tag and think short-term without realizing the long-term cost savings. While it's good to live in the moment, when it comes to saving energy and reducing any type of pollution, I think it's far better to think ahead a bit.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
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