Lighting Insights

Lighting Types

Here’s a quick look at basic lighting types featured in past Lighting for Tomorrow competitions.


Decorative Lighting

Indoor lighting that incorporates aesthetics for decorative purposes in addition to functional lighting application.


  • Table and floor lamps
  • Pendants
  • Chandeliers
  • Ceiling mounts
  • Wall sconces

Directional Lighting

Lighting intended to illuminate a specific area from a preferred direction or source.


  • Track lights
  • Down lights
  • Desk lamps
  • Under cabinet and cove lighting
  • Outdoor post, porch, and landscape lighting

Lighting Control Devices and Systems

Lighting devices or systems that provide dimming functionality, automated operation, and connectivity with other residential products through a central hub or interface, which can include smartphones, tablets, or other devices.


  • Dimmers
  • Timers
  • Occupancy/vacancy sensors
  • Photosensors
  • Multifunction controls
  • Whole house lighting systems


Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) Fixtures

New and innovative fixtures that emit light directly through organic materials including lightweight, flexible thin plastics, glass, and sometimes even cloth, lending to countless aesthetic possibilities and lighting applications.


Retrofit Kits

Component kits that allow traditional incandescent fixtures to be converted for use with energy efficient technologies. Typically include brackets, sockets, screws, quarter-turn fasteners, and a reflector.


Replacement Lamps

Energy efficient alternatives to traditional incandescent bulbs—designed to fit incandescent fixtures.

Lighting Attributes

What makes a lighting product good or bad?
The following considerations help define performance.



Aesthetic and functional elements that translate to tangible user benefits.


  • Decorative beauty and appearance: does the product fit in established residential décor environments?
  • Quality: does the product feature high quality materials and components?
  • Functionality: does the product provide adjustability, dimmability, and/or compatibility with existing systems?
  • Innovation: does the product take full advantage of the attributes of the light source and incorporate them in a unique way?
  • Longevity: is the product successful at moving heat away from the light source to ensure long life? Is it easy to replace individual components upon failure?


Overall incorporation of energy efficient components.


  • Light source: does the product make use of high efficacy LED chips, packages, or arrays?
  • Other components: is the driver efficient? Is the heat being managed successfully? How have the optics impact the efficacy?
  • Overall product efficacy: what is the total lumens per watt of the LED light engine, integrated LED lamp or fixture?
Light Quality

Light Quality

Overall quality, beauty, and practicality of the light provided.


  • Light output: is the level of light appropriate for the intended application?
  • Light distribution: is there minimal variation in how the light is distributed?
  • Color temperature: is the warmth appropriate for residential applications?
  • Color rendering: do colors appear true under the light?
  • Color consistency: does the color remain the same over time and throughout the fixture?
  • Glare: is there little to no glare?
  • Shadows: does the light product any shadows or shadowing effects?
  • Flicker: is there any flicker generated by the light?

How to Choose Your Own Lighting

With so many sizes, shapes, designs, and applications, shopping for energy efficient lighting can be a tall task. Use this breakdown of basics from ENERGY STAR® to make the process easier.