LEDs the 'Wild, Wild West' of Lighting

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Posted: Wednesday, March 2, 2011 5:11 pm | Updated: 6:12 pm, Wed Mar 2, 2011.

Daniel Splinter, district manager at Crescent Electric Supply Company based in East Dubuque, Ill., thinks LED lighting will overtake the marketplace within the next five years. But, he cautions, don't throw away your high-efficiency florescent lights just yet.

"LED is so exciting right now. But, it's still the wild, wild west of lighting. They are just starting to regulate and measure LED, because there are so many people entering into the market and so much of this is coming from China, and it's unregulated and untested.

Splinter said LEDs have been around for 30 years or more, but the technology is just now starting to reach acceptable standards. 

"My belief is that parking lots are a great application for LEDs, and I would trust it implicitly today. I'm confident that they've got the electronics right and the LEDs right," Splinter said. "It's just a little pricey at this point, because it's new."

But, those prices are coming down fast, he said.

"I'll bet that in the next 6 months, they'll depreciate in value by at least 20 percent, because it's new and it's exciting and they're going to find ways to pull more cost out of it."

Splinter believes LED lighting has a bright future.

"LED will be, without a doubt, the way you'll see your lighting in five years. It will be a standard in five years," he said.

But, Splinter doesn't see the florescent light bulb going away anytime soon.

"Florescent is still a very, very good light source, and it's still a very economical burn. I don't think you're going to see the florescent light source go away, but I do think what you're going to see is the LEDs are going to continue to improve in quality as well as efficiency. And, when they can finally get the cost of that LED down to where it's comparable to a florescent fixture, then there won't even be a decision, because the LEDs will have a much longer life."

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