The future is bright with aspectLED

The local LED lighting company brings a tech philosophy mindset to manufacturing.

By Chance Wellnitz
Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Local entrepreneurs Steve and Beth Nielsen were building their energy-efficient home when they stumbled upon the industry need for LED lighting fixtures. An LED (or light emitting diode) is only about a quarter inch by a quarter inch, but the LED recessed lighting on the market ranged from 8 to 12 inches thick. Steve and Beth set out to explore ways LED technology could help people in terms of both application and aesthetic.

The duo founded Arden Hills-based aspectLED in March 2014 and released its first product — a line of recessed ceiling lighting — the following month. The company has continued to rapidly roll out LED fixtures ever since, for both commercial and residential markets, from high bays in warehouse facilities to underwater lighting for swimming pools. Despite its young age, aspectLED has already racked up numerous high-profile clients, including Marriott International, Verizon Wireless and The Walt Disney Company.

“There was this industry dynamic where people were just trying to adapt existing fixtures to LED,” Steve said. “They weren’t really utilizing the capabilities of LED.”

LED light fixtures can use up to 80% less energy versus standard incandescent fixtures and last up to 50,000 hours, 25 times longer than fluorescent or hay lights. In a warehouse or manufacturing facility, where ceiling height ranges anywhere from 18 to 48 feet high, this can make all the difference.

LEDs also operate well in Minnesota’s cold winter months. “That actually works to prolong the life of the LED fixture,” Steve said. The Mall of America recently retrofitted its parking lots to include LEDs, and the state of Minnesota is currently switching many of its highway lighting fixtures to LED technology.

“LEDs are a lot safer from an environmental perspective, too,” Steve says. Fluorescent lights contain mercury, heavy metal and other hazardous materials — none of which are present on LED light fixtures.

Globally, the LED market is expected to grow to $94 billion by 2020, at which point it will be 80% of all lighting revenue. “[That’s a] 45% compound annual growth rate, which is just huge,” Steve said. “So there’s certainly a ton of potential in the LED business.”