Cost Still Major Barrier to Widespread LED Lighting


While upfront cost is the biggest obstacle to widespread deployment of light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, warm and cool white LEDs are already cheaper on a lifecycle basis than incandescent lighting and will likely be comparable to that of fluorescent lighting technologies in the near future, says a congressionally requested report from the National Research Council.  The report assesses the status of solid-state lighting -- LEDs in particular, as opposed to incandescent or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) -- and finds that lighting products based on LEDs will be able to support the standards for lumen output that Congress required in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.  


To address the issue of cost, the U.S. Department of Energy solid state lighting program should be maintained and, if possible, increased.  The Department should also seek to obtain 50 percent cost sharing for research and development projects, as was done with the projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. 


In addition to the initial cost of LED lighting, poor experience with spiral CFLs has made consumers skeptical of new lighting technologies.  But unlike CFLs, LEDs turn on to full brightness instantly, are unaffected by low temperatures, have a good color quality, and are inherently dimmable.  Widespread acceptance of solid-state lighting will depend on an understanding of its unique characteristics, the report says.  The report recommends that DOE, lamp manufacturers, and retailers work together to ensure that consumers are educated about the characteristics and metrics of these new technology options.



Assessment of Advanced Solid-State Lighting is available for immediate release at inquiries should be directed to the National Academies' Office of News and Public Information; tel. 202-334-2138 or e-mail