It’s often the little things that make the biggest difference. That’s why we are so passionate about the switch to LED lighting.
The IKEA LED revolution began with a string of Christmas lights. With their small components the LED stretched the possibilities of seasonal decorative lamp design. They also made IKEA lighting designers, engineers and developers think: If we could match the light emitted by LEDs to that of traditional incandescent bulbs, how could this change the design of lighting products? And, how will it make positive changes for consumers and the environment?
Cutting everyday costs as well as living more sustainably at home are huge priorities for all of us. That’s why all lamps and bulbs sold in IKEA stores will be 100% LED by 2016. The results will not only have a positive impact on the environment, but everybody’s wallets too, because LED bulbs consume up to 85% less energy and last 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
The future of lighting design
The beauty of LED is that designers no longer have to consider a clunky bulb socket. Small LED components can be incorporated into the very structure of a lamp, and because they don’t get hot, they can even be woven into fabric and furnishings. This means IKEA stores can offer a more diverse range of products to light homes.
One of the main hurdles faced in meeting the 2016 full LED goal is consumer perception. An IKEA customer in Sweden shares, “When I think of LED lights I imagine a quite cold, bluish light, like the sort of thing you might have on a circuit board. I couldn’t really imagine them making my living room feel very cosy!” The cold, harsh light once synonymous with LED lingers on in the minds of many people, which is far from the cosy, homely, innovative solutions delivered now. A top priority is to help people understand how far technology has come. It’s important that people feel confident IKEA LED bulbs will create the atmosphere they want in their homes.
LED 2014 and beyond
The most significant developments in LED lighting in the IKEA range over the last year have been the culmination of a brighter, warmer light, and the ability to bring production costs down. Designers and engineers have made it possible to match LED lighting like-for-like with the warm hue of traditional bulbs. As Nicklas Fransson, Product Developer for Lighting, IKEA of Sweden AB, says, “We have managed to create LED bulbs that give the same light as incandescent and halogen and the technology is constantly improving. This means that people can change the light source in their existing lamps at home to LED and there’s no need to buy new lamps. And it’s really a good investment!”
More than 30 new LED lamps and bulbs could be found in IKEA stores in the past year. (This figure would be even higher if we counted the numerous outdoor summer lamps and decorative winter lights.) Judging from sales, the favourite LED lamp of 2014 was the JANSJÖ LED clamp spotlight. Its popularity is likely due to its being very small, versatile and affordable. It can be clamped onto a desk, shelf, head board, etc.
There has been a turnaround in the purchasing of bulbs in the last few years. This year, 68% of bulbs sold in IKEA stores were low energy and LED, compared with just 25% six years ago. This has perhaps been helped by the price of the LEDARE LED globe bulb (also the best-selling IKEA bulb of 2014) being generally reduced. The lower price was achieved thanks to the introduction of a new factory that uses more automation and therefore less time-consuming manual work.
The LEDARE LED globe was also one of the winners of the IKEA ‘Democratic Design Awards’ in August 2014. The award is all about getting everything right, from materials and techniques to production and ultimately bringing the best quality and price to consumers. This bulb met all the requirements.
Energy efficient lighting, including LED, has been developed for all areas of IKEA stores. New IKEA stores being built are equipped with energy efficient lighting solutions, and the conversion of existing IKEA buildings continues to roll out across the globe. This generates significant energy savings.
Meeting the LED roll-out goals for the next few years will be a challenge. But one that will reap benefits, for everyone. We are about to witness the biggest leap in lighting since the invention of the electric bulb.
Raising awareness, raising money
During 2014, several campaigns around LED lighting were introduced to engage IKEA co-workers and visitors in the benefits of LED.
The key LED initiative was the Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign, which is a recurring campaign in IKEA stores that runs in February and March. For every LED bulb sold at an IKEA store, EUR 1 is donated by the IKEA Foundation* to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). An incredible EUR 7.7 million was raised in 2014 to create sustainable lighting and energy solutions in refugee camps across Ethiopia, Chad, Bangladesh and Jordan.
Nearly 11.7 million people around the world live in refugee camps. Around half of them are children. When the sun goes down, everyday tasks like doing homework or sharing a meal become difficult. Sustainable lighting and energy is essential to improve safety, education and general life in refugee camps. With the money donated the UNHCR has successfully installed solar-powered streetlights, indoor solar-powered lanterns and other renewable energy technologies. The campaign is helping more than 380,000 refugees, and will be repeated in 2015 and 2016.
* The IKEA Foundation is an independent philanthropic foundation resident in the Netherlands. The IKEA Foundation is funded by the Stichting INGKA Foundation, the owner of the INGKA Group.
 The Climate Group, Lighting the Clean Revolution, 2012