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The LED lighting market is light years ahead of where it was just ten years ago. Russell Fletcher, sales and marketing director at Harvard Engineering outlines the

trajectory of this thriving industry.

The rapid development of LED technology from its simple use in digital clocks and traffic signs to full scale generic lighting has been meteoric. As a technology, LEDs have been available for a long time, but it is only relatively recently that they have been developed to a stage where they can be used extensively within general lighting. It is estimated that the LED lighting market, currently estimated to be worth a total of around £330 million, has grown around four or five-fold since 2010 and it is set to continue to grow significantly in the next decade.

energy savings and levels of CO2 reductions that they can deliver, as fuel prices soar and government legislation cracks down on greenhouse gas emissions. Lighting represents a disproportionately large share of a building’s energy consumption – as much as 40% of a typical site’s electricity bill. Installing new lighting technologies, together with lighting controls, can result in savings of over 50%.

It has been proved that upgrading dated and inefficient lighting is one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing a building’s energy spend. A study carried out by the NHS Sustainable Development Unit and St George’s Medical School, part of London University, in 2013 concluded that LED lighting, along with voltage optimisation and variable speed drives, is one of the three green technologies proven to provide the highest energy savings and fastest payback.

Improved technology

In addition to the savings delivered, LEDs now offer a better, brighter quality of light that is infinitely scalable and controllable – given the optimum LED driver or light engine to power the LED. They are ideal for use with energy-saving strategies such as daylight harvesting, occupancy sensors, scene setting and time scheduling.

LEDs have other benefits: their long lifespan reduces maintenance spend on lamp replacement; they are up to eight times more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs because they emit light in a specific direction; they give off very little heat - so reduce the cost of air conditioning - and very little ultra-violet light which can damage fabrics and furnishings.

Government incentives are a key driver in encouraging more public and private sector organisations than ever to invest in LED technology. The UK is on the path to a low carbon economy and has made firm commitments to achieve reductions of 80% by 2050 and 34% by 2020, supported by legislation such as the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme. This is a mandatory carbon emissions reporting scheme for organisations using more than 6,000 MWh per year of electricity. In addition, the government’s new Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), launched in 2014, will require larger enterprises in the UK to carry out an energy audit by December 2015, to be repeated every four years.

Investing in LED lighting makes sound financial sense in any case, with a return on investment usually delivered in a relatively short space of time. Harvard Engineering has recently been involved with two projects which illustrate both ends of the spectrum in terms of available finance in the public and private sectors.

The main driver for the switch to LEDs is, of course, the Return on investment

Butler House is a 1960’s built, high-rise housing scheme that has been adapted as sheltered housing for older people by Bristol City Council. Like many social housing schemes and especially those not purpose-built, running costs are a constant source of concern. Switching to LEDs that could be simply substituted for the original 1962 fittings, and which would offer a dimming function when the corridors and staircase were unoccupied, saved significant sums in energy and maintenance costs, giving a return on investment in just 21 months.

Watches of Switzerland’s new flagship store in Regent Street where LEDs, powered by Harvard’s market-leading CoolLED drivers, were able to offer a high performance, low energy lighting solution which also met the retailer’s demanding aesthetic and technical specifications.

At present, it is the non-domestic market which has most significantly invested in LEDs. According to an analysis of the UK LED lighting market by AMA Research, published August 2014, this sector accounted for 96% of market value in 2013 with the domestic sector lagging far behind.

In addition, the report notes that the majority of LED installations are total system upgrades rather than replacement products and confirms that the average price of LED lighting products has fallen in the last 12 months, driven by the growing volumes of sales, manufacturing techniques and increasing competition in the UK market.

UK manufacture

Harvard Engineering’s own trajectory from a small back office business to global leader in lighting products and solutions since it was established in 1993, is an indicator of opportunities in the lighting market over the last two decades and the openings that it has presented for British design and manufacture. With substantial growth in the UK market has come opportunities to expand Harvard’s Leeds-based business globally with new offices in Milan and the USA , and further growth in Germany, France, Spain and the Nordics. The LED industry is thriving.

development of new products and technologies. Harvard’s own significant investments have resulted in the manufacture and production of industry-leading products, including the market- leading range of CoolLED constant current drivers which provide a high performance solution for powering high brightness LEDs from a mains supply and offer intelligent, programmable digital dimming. A range of highly efficient modular light engines, compatible with DALI and 1-10V dimming, LEDeng, has also been developed to meet market demand.

Choosing the right LED driver or light engine is vital to the success of any lighting design. Acting as the interface between the fittings and the main power supply, drivers

providing variable and adaptable solutions. Harvard provides standard and custom LED design and placement for clients ranging from niche markets to some of the world’s largest lighting manufacturers. Combining light engines and drivers that have been designed in conjunction, ensures maximum compatibility and efficiency.

slow down any time soon. It is predicted to continue on its rapid course, reaching a market value estimated at around £1,050 million by 2018. By 2020, LEDs are likely to have a 60% share of the lighting market across all sectors and, in the longer term, high volume growth will continue as the domestic sector adopts the new technology.

The growth of the LED lighting market is not expected to are the key to With growth has come extensive industry investment in the At the other end of the scale is a luxury retail project at


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