IKEA aims to LED the way to more efficient lighting.
This morning, the Swedish home furnishings giant announced its’ intent to sell only LED lighting in its stores by 2016. “No more halogen. No more Sparsam low-energy bulbs. No more fluorescent lights. We’re putting all our development and design efforts behind LEDs because we think everyone should be able to afford to illuminate their lives with the most sustainable lighting available.”
Bulbs and fixtures built around light emitting diode technology now produce the same color as traditional incandescent bulbs (earlier versions tended to a blue cast), noted the IKEA declaration of intent. These tiny bulbs also consume up to 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent lights, start up immediately (unlike those cork-screw shaped cold fluorescent bulbs), contain no mercury or other toxins (another CFL concern), have a lifetime of 20,000 hours and can be recycled as electrical waste. IKEA also argues that LED bulbs don’t get warm – though that feature must be design specific, judging from the massive heat sinks that other LED light bulb producers like 3M, Insignia (Best Buy house brand), Philips and C.Crane glue to the bases of their bulbs.
Come February, IKEA stores here and globally will be glowing with a much broader array of LED based fixtures, floor, table and desk lamps and portable illuminators. Novel applications only possible with LEDs include the ONSJO LED chandelier ($59.99) which evokes the light and movement of fireflies with LEDs glowing inside loops of plastic tubes, the PS21012 pendant lamp ($99.99) with diodes built into the lamp shade (for less harsh and more evenly reflected light) and the well named SPOKA night light ($14.99). The latter comes in two cute ghostly shapes which have color changing LEDs inside. The rubber textured creatures glow for 4-5 hours between charges on the included base, and turn on and off with a squeeze. Also nifty and safe – DIODER battery-operated LED lamp strips ($14.99) to be placed in drawers, wardrobes and shelves. This light source has a sensor to trigger an automatic 15 second turn on when you open the drawer and then cut off 5 seconds after the drawer is closed.
“Soon you’ll start to see more LEDs designed into IKEA furniture, included in the flat packs and ready for assembly,” predicted Kirsten Andersson, LED project leader at IKEA of Sweden. “More control is coming, too, with remotes. And since we’re all much more mobile, we’ll probably need LED lamps that can be used and charged anywhere. But maybe we won’t even see LEDs at all – we’ll just bathe in light from glowing screens.”