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Expert: Retail lighting primarily LED by 2025


New York -- By 2025, most retail lighting will be LED, or light-emitting diode, according to lighting expert Dr. Laura Priestwood Thompson, director of the TCU Center for Lighting Education, Texas Christian University.

“The majority of interior retail lighting in 2025 will be LED. This includes retrofitting and new construction,” Dr. Thompson told attendees as Chain Store Age’s 50th annual SPECS conference, which was held March 9 –12, in Grapevine, Texas.

Thompson said there are several advantages to using LED lighting. Although LED lighting is still somewhat expensive short term, in the long term it may still represent a more cost-effective investment than cheaper traditional lighting. In addition to various rebate programs, Thompson also cited the resiliency and power of LED lighting.

“You get a lot of lumens from a few watts,” she explained. “You get thirteen to fifteen lumens from 60 watts to 70 watts. This translates to high ROI from high efficacy. LED lights last 50,000-plus hours, so maintenance in changing them is lower. There is no mercury, lead or glass. They are durable and dimmable.”

Furthermore, Thompson said LED is becoming a mainstream lighting technology, meaning its cost will decline as time goes on.

“LED will be affordable for the masses in 10 to 15 years,” predicted Thompson. “Today, it is mostly deployed for artistic and creative uses Fluorescent lighting still exists. It has applicability in some places.”

Part of the expansion in retail LED lighting Thompson sees in the next 10 years or so is a vast increase in its use for exterior, as well as interior, lighting.

“By 2025, virtually all exterior lighting will be LED,” stated Thompson. “Right now, we have serious light pollution. Light is wasted shining up or on ‘light trespass,’ which is the uncontrolled glare or light from another property intruding on a property. If the property is another retailer they probably won’t care, but if it is residential or mixed use, they will probably mind.”

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