Bringing Lighting into the 21st Century with LED Lighting.
by Sam Shaw
For those unfamiliar with the use of LED’s in lighting, this article describes some of the benefits over traditional lighting and how this can affect you, the user. First things first, what are LED’s and how do they differ from traditional light bulbs? The term LED stands for Light Emitting Diode, and it is in the way these bulbs produce their light that makes them so incredibly energy efficient – their number one upside in comparison to traditional light bulbs. LED’s produce light energy when an electrical current is passed through a semi-conductor inside the bulb, unlike traditional bulbs, which use a filament. This new development in the field of lighting is why many liken LED bulbs to ‘digital’ light, a vast improvement over the traditional ‘analog’ bulbs. We are in a digital age, isn’t it about time we had digital light?
LED’s are 85% efficient, meaning that 85% of the energy they take in is converted into light energy and only 15% is lost as other types of energy such as heat, whereas regular light bulbs operate at around 20% efficiency. Consider how many times you’ve touched a regular bulb after it has been on for a while and jumped back at the heat radiating from it, that heat is wasted energy, we don’t need to heat our houses with light bulbs, we have heating for that, and wasted energy is wasted money.
The biggest contributor to the energy efficiency of LED bulbs is their lifetime, lasting on average a whopping 11 years if you never turned the light off! Whereas if you had the light on for an average of 8 hours a day, it would be 20 years before you had to get that ladder out and change the bulb. In addition to this enormous amount of lighting they offer you, they also do not just burn out without any notice like a regular bulb, an LED bulb will become slowly dimmer over time, nothing like a bit of warning eh!
LED lighting gives the environment a big hug as well. They are free from the toxic chemicals that ooze and leak from traditional bulbs, like mercury, meaning not only are they kinder to everyone in production and use but are also 100% recyclable, so in 20 years when you finally need to change that bulb you can recycle the whole thing!
It’s not just the planet that can benefit from a bit of energy efficient lighting; your pocket can too. In the 20 years it takes to need to replace an LED light bulb, on average consumers buy over 25 regular light bulbs! LED’s are able to operate on very low voltage and so not only does this save you a hefty electricity bill but outdoor lighting can often be run solely on solar energy. Lower running costs and a very much reduced rate of replacement leads to LED bulbs being a very cost effective lighting system.
And the benefits don’t stop there…
LED bulbs are extremely durable, they are resistant to shock vibrations and external impacts, making them a great choice for outdoor lighting in the garden or around the front door. Temperature has very little effect on the bulbs and so they will still be in full working order in the coldest months of winter and the warmest days of summer.
They also offer remarkable design flexibility. They can be combined in many shapes and still provide incredible energy efficiency, offering control over light, colour and distribution; they can be combined to create some staggering effects.
In summary, LED’s last longer, are hard wearing, are kind to the environment and to your health, are very flexible, come in a variety of colours, give you a warning when they are needing to be changed, and do all this while saving you money!! Is there even an argument for traditional bulbs?