According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), LED lighting improvements are helping the platform surpass compact fluorescents (CFLs) in professional use. A recent NKBA survey shows that 50% of member kitchen designers specified LEDs in 2010, increasing to 54% in 2011, and jumping to 70% into 2012. CFLs meanwhile, fell from a 36% specification rate in 2011 to just 26% this year.

“The performance of LEDs is increasing each year,” says Bart Lawrence, director of product development for Sea Gull Lighting. “The cost is coming down, and the performance is going up.” Sea Gull expects LEDs to have 50% market penetration by 2016, thanks to better color temperatures in the high-efficiency bulbs and payback in energy efficiency despite the high initial costs.

Capitalizing on the market interest, Sea Gull and other manufacturers are introducing numerous new LED fixtures and compatible dimmers to enhance user experiences. Sea Gull’s Traverse recessed downlight (below) offers up to 50,000 hours of life and can be dimmed to 5%. Able to fit 5- or 6-inch recessed housings with a screw-based adapter, Traverse features upgraded heat-sink technology to operate more efficiently for return-on-investment within 18 months.

No Dim Idea

Dimming helps extend bulb life and reduces energy use, making products such as Leviton’s new Universal Dimmer (above) useful. Created after working with bulb manufacturers, the device offers a single control capable of dimming current and next-generation light sources.

“As consumers shift to using more energy-efficient lighting sources, [these products] fill the need for a single device that effectively controls all types of bulbs while helping save energy and the associated utility costs,” says Leviton product manager Michael Neary.

Available in two styles, the dimmers help address issues such as flickering, reduced dimming range, and low-level startup often experienced when incandescent-only dimmers are paired with dimmable LEDs and CFLs. —Lauren Hunter, associate editor, REMODELING.

More REMODELING articles about LED lighting:

Take Your Temperature: Considering Color Temperature for CFL and LED Lighting

The U.S. ban on 100-watt incandescent bulbs went into effect Jan. 1, 2012. Traditional 75-watt bulbs will follow in 2013, and 60- and 40-watt bulbs a year later.

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