Imagine not having to change a light bulb for years. There are LED products available in 2010 that will make frequent light bulb changes so 20th century. 

The term LED immediately conjures up images of traffic signals, brake lights and headlights on luxury cars, and indicator lights on appliances. That is about to change. According to the Lighting Concepts store manager, Ron Dumais, lighting manufacturers have invested considerable time, effort and research into adapting this super energy-efficient technology for household use. The technology has advanced enough to win approval from the government’s popular and well-respected Energy Star program.

“The year 2010 will be the first year when LEDs will explode in the residential marketplace,” said architect Joe Rey-Barreau, education consultant for the American Lighting Association and an associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s School of Interior Design. “We are already seeing amazing LED developments in all parts of our lives, from Christmas lights to LED TVs. One area where LEDs will become predominant in 2010 is the category of desk and task lamps,” Rey-Barreau said. “Another major development will be in replacement bulbs.”

 “The extreme long life of an LED bulb makes it ideal for replacing recessed lights in hard-to-reach areas such as vaulted ceilings in living rooms or kitchens. This year you will find super energy-efficient replacements for all existing types of incandescent, halogen and fluorescent bulbs,” added Dumais.

Consumers who aren’t sold on the appearance of LED lighting — or its high initial cost — can take heart. There are plenty of developments in compact fluorescent technology arriving in stores in 2010. Compact fluorescent lamps are more affordable than LEDs and now come in a variety of familiar shapes — a big change from the original spiral configuration. “You’re also going to see more dimmable CFLs coming onto the market, plus CFL models for outdoors that have built-in photocells,” Dumais remarked.

The color temperature of CFLs has been steadily improving. Gone is the flickering and bluish cast that was long associated with fluorescent lighting. Today’s CFLs can provide color rendering so close to that of incandescent versions that consumers have to see it to believe it — and they can very well do just that at Lighting Concepts, where they feature a new display set up for that purpose.

If you are curious about LEDs, but aren’t sure yet if you want to devote a large portion of your living space to the technology, Rey-Barreau suggests trying under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen, a desk or task lamp or path lighting outside to see if you like the illumination it provides before investing in an entire ceiling of recessed fixtures or a large chandelier.

To learn more about LEDs and CFLs, visit Lighting Concepts on Sabattus Street in Lewiston.

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