What's new in LED lighting technology?
If you are still buying conventional incandescent light bulbs for your home, you are gradually becoming a minority.
But it's probably not surprising many people haven't yet made the switch. A survey commissioned by Philips last year showed that New Zealand consumers are not always opting for energy efficient light bulbs and are often confused by the benefits.
It may help to know that today there's an LED lamp or globe for virtually every type of light, including older light fittings. Andrew Westwood, manager of LightingPlus in Hamilton says LED lighting solutions are now available across all fixtures and styles.
"New LED pendants, for example, are not constrained by the need to consider how and where traditional incandescent light bulbs need to be placed. The shapes and styles that are becoming available are some of the most stunning and creative we have seen to date."
And yes, LED lamps are more expensive to buy, but they are much more energy efficient, so they cost a lot less to run.
EECA Energywise says replacing 10 conventional 100W bulbs in your home with 14W LEDs will give you the same light and save $254.26 a year in running costs.
LED lamps also last longer, so you won't have to change them very often, which is an added bonus if your lights are in hard-to-reach places.
But, just as smart technology is transforming every other aspect of our lives, from our phones to our televisions, music and security systems, so it is also changing lighting, and it's all about adaptability.
Lighting manufacturers are recognising that we need different types of lighting for different tasks and requirements. If you are studying or working at a desk or benchtop you will probably prefer a cool "daylight" light. But if you are relaxing with friends and family a "warm white" light is a lot cosier.
And this is why you can now buy LED globes that do both – you simply change the light at the touch of a button on a remote control. The new Jedi Lighting 2 in 1 system from Bunnings Warehouse and the Philips Hue are two examples of the new wireless lighting technology that is transforming the way we light our homes.
But it doesn't stop there. The Philips Hue and Jedi Lighting's iDual also allow you to change the colour of your lighting in an instant, and we're talking any colour on the spectrum, from a rosy pink to an eerie green and everywhere in between.
While these may seem more gimmicky, they already have their converts in Europe where soft coloured lighting has been lulling babies to sleep and bright colourful lighting is the life of the party.
In the near future we can also expect to see lighting even more closely integrated with other smart technology. Already, smart home systems allow you to control your home's lighting from a smartphone. But Philips suggests your lights will also be able to talk to your burglar alarm – for example the lights could flash red when there is an intruder.
With geofencing, your lighting will also know when you are getting closer to home and light up the house for you. And if you integrate the Apple Home Kit you can use Siri voice control and simply "tell" your lighting what to do.
Christchurch Lighthouse Lighting consultant and designer Steve Hermens says it's important to take advice when choosing lighting. "With the change to LED it is critical to get it right – the positioning, ambience and task lighting. LED is a new generation and if it's not designed correctly it will spoil a beautiful home.
"Don't just go for the cheapest products on the market, as a failure with LED can be a major when it comes to replacing faulty products."
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE MORE OF?
* Low-glare darklighting LED downlights
* LED fittings for decorative lights
* LED cove lighting, which makes for a clean, discreet look while offering excellent light
* LED lights with multiple light settings, including multi-colour
* LED lights that can "talk" to wifi, smart phone, TV and security systems
* Voice-activated LED lighting
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE LESS OF?
* Conventional recessed downlights with square chrome fittings
* Fluorescent lamps