MORRISVILLE, N.C. – How would you like to live in a house where most light bulbs don’t have to be replaced for 20 years and you expect to save as much as 80 percent on your electricity bill that can be linked to lighting costs?
That attractive package – and some additional features – is the pitch LED Lighting Fixtures is making to potential customers at the International Builders Show in Florida this week.
The company, also called LLF, boasts that it is “Light Reinvented.” Its first product, a “down light” fixture containing light emitting diodes (LEDs) designed to be installed in ceilings, is being demonstrated at the trade show, and LLF expects to begin product ship in the second quarter.
LLF calls its product the “first and only viable LED product for general illumination.”
Builders will be able to see LLF in action at its formal coming out party through Saturday.
“We are really excited,” said Cynthia Merrell, LLF’s chief financial officer, by phone from the Florida event. “Our initial target is the residential building market, so to have our very first product ready and shown at the home builder show is very important for us.”
Neal Hunter, one of the founders of global LED manufacturer Cree, and several of his Cree cohorts are the driving force behind LLF. Merrell, a former CFO at Cree, also left that company to work for Hunter. In fact, LLF’s first product will incorporate Cree products (the XLamp XR-E LED). But there is much more to LLF’s fixtures than just LEDS.
“How we produce our beautiful light is our invention,” Merrell said.
“The builders are going to be intrigued,” Merrell added. “From the home builders’ perspective, if you factor in the cost savings of lighting over 30 years, customers are going to be putting money in their pocket every month. It’s a premium builders can offer to their customers.”
Some of the parts of the light fixtures are made in the U.S., but the fixture assembly will take place in China, Merrell said. Shipments could begin as early as the second quarter.
“Our introduction of a viable LED product for general illumination will have historic implications for the lighting industry,” Hunter said in a statement. “This is the first lighting fixture to rival the output, appearance and lighting quality of a 65 watt incandescent product while offering a justifiable cost of ownership.
“We believe LED lighting for the mainstream has finally been enabled and LLF has invented a way,” he added. “This unprecedented technology will not only change the industry, but also reshape the way the average consumer views lighting.”
LLF will tout what it sees as several major advantages over conventional lighting and light fixtures at the show:
• Longevity: The LED components will last up to 20 years vs. 1 year for a conventional bulb.
• Cost Savings: The LEDs consume 83 percent less electricity, thus overtime producing savings vs. light bulbs. They also produce much less heat.
• Durability: The fixtures are virtually unbreakable and will help builders hold down costs.
• “Green” technology: The LEDs and fixtures are considered environmentally friendly both in terms of energy savings and also do not contain toxic materials.
The LED fixtures will also meet tougher environmental laws such as one in California requiring builders to increase energy efficiency, Merrell added.
In terms of light quality, the LLF package provides better quality than fluorescent bulbs, Merrell explained.
LLF currently employs some 20 people and is in the processing of hiring additional workers. Said Merrell: “We’re always looking for people.”
The company remains self-funded, having raised $6.5 million from employees, manufacturing partners and an insider group, Merrell added. “We have the cash we need to get through the near term and product launch,” she said, “but financing is something we may evaluate later.”