Strong Growth in LED Tubes in Commercial Lighting Applications

LED Tube Light Bulb

In commercial lighting applications, where hundreds or thousands of light bulbs may be required for an office, hotel, or big box store, energy costs can be significant. With lighting consuming a large portion of the electricity bill, businesses can save big by going green and replacing old incandescent, halogen, and fluorescent bulbs with LED alternatives. For the biggest businesses, any way to save money on fixed costs for utilities is worth considering.

This is one reason LEDs have caught on in the commercial market more quickly than with consumers. In fact, a recent report by LEDInside estimates that LED penetration may reach 24% of the lighting market by the end of 2014.

Demand has been increasing every year for nearly every type of LED bulb, including A-lamps, LED PARs and MR16s, and decorative bulbs, but one segment of the market, linear LED tubes, is currently driving the growth.

The LED tube market made up $2.58 billion in 2013, but LEDInside expects a nearly-fourfold increase by 2018, up to $8.87 billion. The T8 replacement market in the US and throughout the world presents a huge opportunity for LED manufacturers.

However, the ballast/driver issue is still being worked out in different ways among lighting companies. Some use the existing ballast as the driver for LED replacements, while others require a separate driver to be installed before the LED tube can be used. The industry will move towards standardization as the technology increases, but that could slow down the growth of the LED tube market.

With large and small manufacturers developing for the LED tube market, and the Department of Energy recently publishing a comparison of life-cycle cost simulations for two-lamp troffers using LED lamps compared to standard and high efficiency fluorescent lamps, LED tubes and high efficiency T8 fluorescent lamps will go head-to-head for the foreseeable future.

The early adopters are currently driving the growth in market, with new construction providing a great opportunity to go LED and not worry about existing ballast tech. As standardization comes to the industry and LEDs outperform T8, we can expect an even great growth in LED T8 adoption in commercial applications.

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Nick Heeringa

Nick is a writer, publisher and editor for the Topbulb blog. Check back often for more of his writing on lighting applications and announcements for the Topbulb website and blog!