A: LEDs offer the potential for cutting general lighting energy use nearly in half by 2030, saving energy dollars and carbon emissions in the process. Their unique characteristics—including compact size, long life, resistance to breakage and vibration, good performance in cold temperatures, lack of infrared or ultraviolet emissions, and instant-on performance—are beneficial in many lighting applications. The ability to be dimmed and to provide color control are other benefits of the LED lighting technology platform.

One of the defining features of LEDs is that they emit light in a specific direction, which reduces the need for reflectors and diffusers that can lower efficiency. In contrast, fluorescent and “bulb”-shaped incandescent lamps emit light in all directions, with the result that much of the light they produce is lost within the fixture, escapes in a direction not useful for the intended application, or requires pricey and bulky optics to get the light in the right place. With many fixture types, including recessed downlights, troffers, and undercabinet fixtures, it is not uncommon for only 50 to 60% of the total light produced to be emitted.

In addition, LED sources are inherently dimmable and instantaneously controllable, and they can be readily integrated with sensor and control systems, thus enabling further energy savings through the use of occupancy sensing, daylight harvesting, and local control of light levels. LED technology also offers the prospect of full color control over the light spectrum. What this all adds up to is the potential to improve the performance and value of lighting in totally new ways.