If you haven’t looked at LEDs in a while for your lighting needs, now is the time to look at them for the first time, or again.
LED technology has matured tremendously in the last few years. No longer are LED lights those flickering masses of red, blue and green lights. Today, the best LEDs and manufactured with exacting precision to provide full-spectrum light at a specific color temperature and lumens level.
As a light source, LEDs are surpassed only by the sun for efficiency and quality of light.
First, a quick look at energy efficiency.
There are basically three types of lights used in most household situations (and many commercial situations as well): Incandescent, Fluorescent and LED.
An incandescent bulb of 60 watts will have a rated life of somewhere around 1,000 hours and will use 60 watts of electricity. The comparable fluorescent light will be rated around 8,000 hours and will use 15 watts of electricity. The comparable LED will be rated at between 20,000 and 50,000 hours and will use 6 watts of electricity. As you can easily see, the LED is much more efficient, delivering the same lumens for 10% the amount of electricity as incandescent and 40% the amount of electricity as florescent.
Other lighting solutions – halogen, sodium, etc. are even less efficient in terms of energy use.
But there are other energy issues with lights as well as their efficiency in producing light. Do you wonder where all that additional energy is going to with fluorescent and incandescent lights? Well, if you’ve touched a bulb that has been on for a while, you know the answer. Heat. And those BTUs that those lights put off have to be accounted for, because they increase the cost of keeping your home or workplace cool.
An incandescent bulb emits about 85 BTUs an hour. A fluorescent light emits about 30 BTUs an hour. And an LED emits about 3.4 BTUs an hour. Here, the efficiency is even greater. LEDs emit 4% of the heat of incandescent and about 10% the heat of florescent. The lights stay cool!
There are other reasons that LEDs are a better choice than other lights.
Concerned with the environment? Fluorescent lights contain mercury, a highly toxic substance. LEDs and Incandescent bulbs do not.
How about carbon footprint? 30 bulbs a year in each type: Incandescent: 4500 pounds a year. Fluorescent: 1051 pounds a year. LED: 451 pounds a year. Of course, with their much longer life, you won’t go through the number of bulbs with LEDs that you do with incandescent or fluorescent fixtures.
Are you concerned with safety?
LEDs are basically computer chips. The covers on them are almost always plastic. LEDs are unlikely to break and if they do, you won’t have broken glass or mercury to clean up.
In addition, LEDs are not affected by temperature, do not change their lumens level over their life, are not sensitive to humidity, are not affected by on/off cycling, and are instant on (no waiting for them to warm up).
With the current prices of LEDs, it doesn’t make any sense to not be using LEDs. They pay for themselves!