Environmental products often suffer from apparent comparative disadvantages. A manufacturer who does not care about energy conservation, pollution, or other negative consequences can make a cheap and effective product. The challenge for a manufacturer who makes an environmentally useful product is to design a product that remains competitive with the offerings of other companies. Careful design decisions can turn an apparent disadvantage into a new selling point, giving the environmentally friendly product an advantage over standard offerings.
Fast Company Design describes one way to address this issue. Consumers are familiar with incandescent light bulbs, which effectively light up a house or a yard, even though they consume a large amount of electricity and produce excess heat. LED lights consume much less power, but they have an unusual appearance. LED lighting appears unfamiliar to consumers, and it can look strange inside a lighting fixture that was designed to hold an incandescent light bulb.
Numero 111 addressed this problem by redesigning its lamps so that a visitor would not notice the LED inside the lamp. The large shade prevents a homeowner from seeing the LED strips that create the light, so the lamp looks similar to a lamp that contains a standard incandescent bulb. This design decision converts a disadvantage into a strength. The redesigned lampshade has a unique, attractive appearance that serves as an incentive to purchase a lamp that contains LED light bulbs.
LEDs have other advantages. They provide light at a lower temperature than incandescent bulbs, which reduces fire hazards. Inhabitat reports that an Italian company once decorated buildings with oil lamps, but these lamps could set buildings on fire, so the company needed to find an alternative. In 2012, the company used LED bulbs to illuminate a cathedral.
LEDs allow a manufacturer to conserve space, creating a major design advantage. For many years, science fiction writers talked about flat screen displays, and LED lighting eliminates the need for a bulky cathode ray tube. LED technology has not reached its full potential yet, so modular design creates another advantage for LED devices. LEDs Magazine reports that LED streetlights in New York include modular design to make upgrades more convenient. If manufacturers produce new LEDs that use less energy to produce light, New York authorities can simply remove the old LEDs.