There is a lighting revolution going on right now - just as there is a solar energy revolution and renewable energy revolution, and energy storage revolution! I don't remember anyone predicting that after the information age began, we would be going through a major shift in energy and infrastructure. And this is not to mention Passive House. I feel like saying people building standard houses today will face some significant obsolescence issues within a few short years - namely in energy, IT, and lighting. At first these seem like parts of the house one can easily change - but the energy aspect is a big one, and certain things are really hard to justify changing - like missing out on good solar exposure, major thermal bridges, and insulation values that don't cut it.
About the lighting: Cree announced in December they have an LED that offers 200 lumens per watt (!).
Here's the press release:
If you are in the big box hardware stores, take a look at the LED offerings. They are all hovering around 60 lumens per watt right now, if you get a good one. Most are at 50 lumens per watt, often less.
How to get highly efficient lighting without spending too much? Low Voltage distribution.
Watch the Video on What Is Lumencache: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eULjpkf7oE
It seems the thing to do is to separate the COB (chip on board - which is the actual LED chip) from the power supply. This has two advantages: purchase a single, centralized, high-efficiency, high-efficacy power supply; and then reduce the cost of the actual luminaires. All those backward-compatible LED bulbs you can buy to replace the bulbs in your existing fixtures have the significant issue in their design that they have to have an on-board power supply, which is cheaply made to reduce costs and therefore, not that efficient. This also means the cost of those low performance power supplies is included in every bulb. Eliminate this circuitry and you can improve the lighting.
So, we wire the house as per the Lumencache strategy, but there is another issue to handle. LED's are pretty sensitive to voltages and current. Say we have a living room with 12 LED luminaires, each one with nothing more than the COB in the luminaire. We need to arrange these luminaires into groups that match the voltage and current output of the central LED driver system, or at least keep the demand within the range of output levels available at the central power source.