Next-Gen Lights Inching Into Homes, Taking Over Government

Folks in commercial and public buildings will see the light by 2014 — next-gen light, that is, thanks to adoption of technologies including advanced fluorescent lamps, light emitting diodes (LEDs) and automated controls, according to a report out today from Lux Research.

The firm anticipates that by 2020, LEDs will provide 60 percent of low bay lighting for commercial, industrial, government and public buildings, while advanced lighting controls will be put to work in an impressive 90 percent of government and public spaces. Advanced lighting tech will be less dominant in homes, according to Lux, with LEDs providing 42 percent of the lighting in the residential market (if you want to hop on the LED train, check out our roundup of 5 LED bulbs you can buy soon to replace incandescents).

High price tags historically have been a major barrier to adoption of LED bulbs. For example, General Electric (s GE) introduced an LED bulb in April that can replace a 40-watt incandescent bulb, but consumes just 9 watts and could last 17 years if used for four hours a day. In addition, the bulb — like a growing number of offerings from startups and lighting giants alike — can fit into a standard incandescent socket. But GE priced this long-lasting, highly efficient, drop-in bulb at $40-50 at retailers.

While government and commercial customers generally factor in long term operating costs, for a consumer to hand over $50 to replace something that usually costs them less than a buck up front will require a major shift in thinking.

By improving on cost and efficiency, however, LED developers are coming within striking distance of delivering a payback period of about one year. Already, Home Depot has begun selling an LED from Lighting Science Group that breaks the $20 barrier (GigaOM Pro, subscription required). Upon reaching the one-year-payback threshold, Lux predicts, “LED-based illumination will explode onto the scene,” edging out T8 fluorescent lamps often used in government and commercial buildings by 2014.

Image courtesy of Mike Deal aka ZoneDancer’s photostream.

For more research on LEDs and solid-state lighting see GigaOM Pro (subscription required):