Jet engines are amazing. Unbelievably simple and supremely efficient. Thanks to Sir Frank Whittle we enjoy the benefits today. But there’s nothing exciting about them anymore. They’re just so every-day.
"We will be so used to LED lighting being the norm that coming across a high pressure sodium or even better still, a tungsten halogen lamp still burning away will be exciting"
I recently flew in a small propeller plane. Now this was exciting. The raw sound the engines churn out, the origin of which is clear to see out of the small window as the propellers rotate so fast they become almost invisible. I could see the pilot through the unusually small cabin. I could even see out of the windscreen!
As we embarked on our journey, the small plane turned onto the runway and the engines were set to full throttle, modestly lifting the plane into the air. The sound of the internal combustion engines engulfed the entire cabin.
And then the excitement diminishes quickly, your headache sets in and you can’t wait to land. And then you realise you could have driven there as quickly. It all becomes clear as to why jet engines are so prolific in aviation.
I imagine that in twenty years, or maybe even ten years, there will be a similar comparison to LED and HID lighting. We will be so used to LED lighting being the norm that coming across a high pressure sodium or even better still, a tungsten halogen lamp still burning away will be exciting. Not to our partners or our children, of course, but to us special individuals who are fascinated by lights.
Like the jet engine in comparison to the internal combustion engine, LEDs offer many benefits over traditional light sources, which will seem so obvious in the future. But like any transition to a new technology, there will be hesitation, scepticism and caution for a good while.
"Like any transition to a new technology, there will be hesitation, scepticism and caution for a good while"
But LED lighting has developed considerably over the past five years. Problems with colour shift and ‘binning’ have been largely solved. Efficiencies are ever increasing beyond those of traditional light sources. Many luminaire manufacturers are beginning to understand the heat and voltage sensitivities of LEDs.
So confidence can be had in the installation of LED luminaires. Even price is coming down. Glare and high colour rendering are two of the few remaining technical barriers to LED adoption, but even glare can be minimised with well-designed optics that mimic traditional light control principles.
Pin this to your fridge, or to the shortcut bar if you’re reading the online version, and look back in ten years and see how we’re going.