Semiconductor-based products have proven far more compact, portable, powerful, and affordable than the “glass envelope” products they replaced. They have been key enabling technologies, catalyzing new products and fast-growth industries, as seen most dramatically in the ongoing leaps in computing speed and power made possible by the transition from vacuum tubes to microprocessors.
Many believe that solid state technology has similar potential to radically change the future of general lighting. For example, “intelligent” lighting environments could respond to changing activities and needs through variable spectrum and intensity. Expected benefits include more responsible, comfortable, and productive building environments, coupled with substantial energy savings.
Achieving high-quality white light-from efficient, affordable, solid state devices – will require extensive multi-disciplinary research and development. If these breakthroughs are achieved, cumulative energy savings between now and 2020 could exceed 14 quads of primary energy – translating to cost savings of more than $98 billion. Maintaining technology leadership in the United States will yield global market opportunities and high-technology jobs, as well as greater institutional strength in science education and research. 
 Frontiers in Solid State Lighting, Office of Building Technology, State and Community Programs, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy, http://www.eren.doe.gov/ buildings, August 2001