Mid-2000s: Technology Turns
Another look back in honor of our 20th anniversary: Just as housing was taking a dive, energy-efficient lighting — including early LED — was catching fire.
Cori Dunn
Residential Lighting magazine

Today, LED technology is the talk of the residential lighting industry, but before the mid-2000s, solid-state sources weren’t taken as seriously. Energy-efficient lighting was nothing new; the industry was already coaxing consumers with stunning yet practical fixtures designed with compact fluorescent lamps. Lighting for Tomorrow honors and Energy Star® labeling provided a stamp of approval from the U.S. government, but did little to sway the buying public. Loving the warm yellow glow of their familiar incandescent A-lamps, consumers scorned cooler CFL color temperatures.

Oddly enough, that attitude began to change in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A CNN poll taken shortly after the August 2005 storm found that 55 percent of Americans believed global warming causes severe weather. The ”green” movement gained new momentum post-Katrina and found mainstream support. The Energy Star “change a light, change the world” call to action was finally gaining some traction.

Already a favorite in Europe and Asia, LED fixtures and portable lamps were about to get their day in the North American sun. In 2006, Lighting for Tomorrow created a new category for Solid-State Lighting. One of the industry’s oldest firms, Progress Lighting advertised the “first comprehensive line” of LED residential fixtures. Designers began putting LEDs inside undercabinet and task lights, and it was obvious it was not just the quality of light that made LEDs exciting. New forms would emerge, and innovative thinkers would discover ways to use lighting in homes that no one had ever thought of before. The technology continues to encourage thinking outside the bulb.

Looking Back: 2006

Progress Lighting celebrates 100 years in business. Other milestone anniversaries that year include Quoizel (75 years), Liberty Brass (75 years), and Halo (50 years).

The American Lighting Assn. (ALA) publishes the first consumer magazine all about residential lighting: Simply Perfect Lighting.

Olsen Twin dolls, T-shirts and now this: Elk Lighting appeals to the tween demographic with new Mary-Kate and Ashley overhead and portable lighting.

Portables specialist Uttermost enters the lighting fixture market with a catalog of 150 new designs at the Dallas Market.

Minka launches the Casa Cristina Collection featuring the “Latin Oprah,” Cristina Saralegui.

About this author

Cori Dunn

Cori Dunn has been covering the retail, lighting and furniture industries since 1982, and was the Founding Editor of Residential Lighting. Dunn also created Furniture Style and Home Fashion Forecast magazines. In this blog, she takes a look back at the last two decades in the lighting industry, in honor of Residential Lighting's 20th anniversary.

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