Homeowner Associations Switch to LED Lighting
A few years ago today’s innovation technologies for the housing and utility sector were inconceivable. In the light of development of advanced technologies, high demands are put on the efficiency of utilities. This includes water supply, heating and especially luminaires, and is primarily related to the gradual evolution of modern LED luminaires.
Luminaires with LED light sources consume 8-10 times less energy than conventional incandescent lighting and 60% less than luminaires using power-saving lamps. The LED-based devices have a service life which is several times longer, and throughout it require no maintenance.
The market for LED lighting products started to grow in 2009-2010 as the result of the renowned Federal Law dated 23.11.2009 No. 261-FZ “Concerning energy conservation and enhancement of energy efficiency and amending certain regulations of the Russian Federation”. From the very start the housing and utility sector was viewed as one of the most promising for application of energy-saving technologies.
About five years have passed. It is about time to make an intermediate review of the outcome. And it looks something like this: widespread use of LED lighting products in the housing and utility sector never happened. Notwithstanding the implementation of hundreds of pilot projects of various sorts (installation of tens of thousands of luminaires) LED lighting does not look too much in demand yet.
The issue is that LED lighting has a disadvantage – a critical one from the standpoint of managing and maintenance enterprises in the housing and utility sector. It is the price, which is several times higher than that of fluorescent lamps. It does not matter that, due to the reduction in energy consumption, the payback period of LED lighting products in comparison to energy-saving lamps is 2-3 years, and that afterwards the former start to show a clear profit - for the majority of the managing agencies only “here and now” costs count.
This focus of the utility enterprises on low purchase prices led to the situation in which up to 50% of the luminaires used in the housing and utility lighting modernization projects involving application of LED solutions are low-quality Chinese devices, or the “garage assembly” products put together domestically from the same Chinese components. The service life and quality level of such lighting products are questionable.
Nevertheless according to forecasts of the major market players in the next few years LED lighting is capable of bringing about the revolution in the housing and utility sector that everyone expected during recent years.
This is how Vadim Dadyka, General Director of AtomSvet views the situation: “As far as the growth in demand for LED lighting products in the housing and utility sector is concerned, it has definitely been evident in recent times. I can suggest that it was related to the following two factors.
The first one is the price reduction of LED lighting. According to the market analysts high-quality LED luminaires priced at about 700-2,000 rubles (depending on the degree of dust and moisture protection and the availability of motion sensor) would be quite competitive even from the standpoint of conservative Public Utility Service Providers (PUSPs). Such lighting devices are already beginning to appear.
The second factor, sometimes even more significant, is the gradual expansion of homeowner associations as the main type of agencies managing residential households. Household owners are much more mindful of the long-term advantages of LED illumination than PUSPs. And the obvious effect of energy saving is far from being just a sound bite for someone paying for it out of their own pocket.”
It is no wonder that it is homeowner associations that are becoming the major consumers of LED lighting products in the housing and utility sector. This is reinforced by a very active position of many manufacturers in promoting LED lighting in the segment, which involves visits by professionals, providing free consulting and project estimates and testing the products in the field, or rather in the entrances of houses. These activities are beginning to bear fruit. Despite the dominance of Chinese products, Russian manufacturers are defending their positions well, and sometimes even launching counter-attacks.
The prospects for LED lighting devices are not limited to entrance illumination. Here a comparison with the state of affairs in international market is appropriate since, to some extent, the Russian market follows in its tracks.
“In Europe the lighting products that here are conventionally associated with the housing and utility sector are widely used for external illumination of cottages, pavilions and other countryside properties”, – notes Vadim Dadyka. “The design of western-made lighting products is far superior to the design of Russian or Chinese products, which drives the demand noticeably, and the product range of even a medium-sized manufacturer includes dozens of models. Generally speaking Russia repeats the European trend of countryside property construction, so expansion of LED lighting products beyond the “realm” of entrance illumination is a matter for the near future.”
Thus very soon the housing and utility lighting sector will undergo (and is already undergoing) fundamental changes. Cheap and cheerful products are appearing, meant for the thriftiest of customers (PUSPs, retail trade). These are low-priced luminaires with a service life far shorter than for the top quality industry and street lighting products from the same manufacturers. Nevertheless the low price justifies the purchase of even such products.
Apart from that the domestic market expands the range of designer lighting products for cottage illumination. A robust case of a product like this must provide the required level of dust and moisture protection of no less than IP54-55, preferably no less than IP65. These lighting products are offered by a number of Russian manufacturers.
A case study
Utility luminaires manufactured by AtomSvet not only comply with high protection requirements (IP65). The original radiator design ensures efficient heat removal (which is critical for a LED lighting device), and makes it distinctive from the conventional “hemispheres” of Russian and Chinese designs.
In the nearest future self-containing LED luminaires powered by solar cells will become widespread. Even today some manufacturers offer such LED solutions for summer houses and garages.
It is safe to say that today the Russian housing and utility sector has all the prerequisites for widespread application of LED lighting. It will be seen very soon whether it is really so.
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