This week on the Bright Ideas series presented by Acuity Brands®, Catherine is joined by Dennis Noyce, Vice President of Residential Sales, to hear how the Covid pandemic has impacted the residential lighting opportunity immensely.
COVID ACCELERATED THE RESI-BOOM, BUT OTHER SIGNS INDICATED IT WAS COMING
Quarantine due to the pandemic in 2020 meant that many homeowners, families, and workers were present in their living spaces for far more than usual– and were therefore exposed to their occasional inadequacies. Suddenly many of these rooms had to become classrooms, offices, and entertainment centers.
That being said, many in the residential industry including Dennis and his team were already anticipating this residential boom long before the pandemic first hit. Their business intelligence revealed that the widespread adoption of LEDs in commercial lighting had accompanied or even spurred widespread renovations and business improvements around 2010. Since LED adoption was only just beginning in the residential segment prior to the pandemic, there was still an opportunity for a similar renovation boom within the residential market.
TRANSITION TO LED BENEFITS THE HOMEOWNER
The main reason why residential was so slow to LED is largely due to price. The return on investment for a home, in terms of dollars per square foot in lighting, is somewhat lower than in a commercial space.
Additionally, this segment actually skipped the fluorescent phase that many businesses went through. That makes the lighting transition to LED a much more involved and drastic change. Just in terms of energy efficiency, a homeowner may save 75% wattage just by switching from an incandescent to an LED lamp. Furthermore, that LED will generate far less heat and so the space will actually grow cooler as a result of the upgrade.
Next, the longevity of the LED is another major improvement for homeowners. They tend to last 25 times longer than traditional incandescents, which can be a huge relief for anyone whose living space has high ceilings with precariously-located bulbs to change out.
Dimming is another vast improvement now available to homeowners taking advantage of these lighting developments. More and more bulbs can change color temperatures, and come with dimming capabilities.
Now, residents can create different scenes throughout their homes, yet still purchase the same fixture to use throughout. They can also program their preferences straight into the lights using AI home assistants. Acuity Brands has partnered with Amazon and Juno to create a hidden Alexa speaker incorporated into home lighting fixtures to take this convenience one step further.
A HUGE BENEFIT FOR DISTRIBUTORS AND CONTRACTORS
This residential boom and its uptick of dimmable, multi-color temperature lights is also a great development for electrical distributors as well. Since these lights can now fulfill multiple specifications for a variety of orders, distributors no longer have to stock as many products on hand for residential customers. Acuity Brands’ Wafer family alone has gone from 10 SKUs down to 4. If millions of products go through the same scale reduction, then distributors won’t have to worry nearly as much about shelf space or ill-fitting orders.
This SKU reduction is just the first benefit for electrical contractors as well. In many cases, LED diodes are far smaller than their incandescent counterparts. This means that an LED transition won’t force contractors to redo their past installations by going deeper into ceilings, ductwork, or the above-ceiling plane. This is a reduced cost that is also ultimately passed on to the homeowner as well, and lower costs of lighting switches definitely makes for happier customers.
Additionally, the flexibility of the dimming and color transitions in these newer fixtures saves a massive amount of time for contractors, because tweaking new installations to meet customer preferences is far easier and less troublesome.
In the past, a residential contractor with a new fixture would have to first install housing, then a trim, then a lamp. Then, if the homeowner decided they disliked the new color temperature or brightness of the light, that might call for the entire brand new installation to be removed. Now, canless fixtures mean that a contractor only has to install one device instead of three– and if the resident dislikes the brightness or temperature, a flick of a switch can adjust it to their liking!
Many distributors or contractors may wonder, will trends like this residential boom continue even if the Covid-19 pandemic fades away? A lot of evidence suggests so. Many analysts and experts are suggesting that many businesses may not return fully in-office practices anymore, especially as benefits to remote work and homeschooling continue coming to light.
To learn more about the residential products that Acuity has to offer, visit acuitybrands.com/resources/industries/residential. Next week, Eric Gibson will be sharing important factors to consider when selecting or designing outdoor lighting.
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