Why Choose LED Lighting Over other Lighting Technologies?

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Posted on by Conor MacGuire

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a solid-state light source that emits light from electron movements in the diode once voltage is applied. In general terms – it is the best thing since salted caramel tart. LED technology has fuelled rapid advancements in the lighting market since has become one of the most efficient lighting technologies. It has gained significant traction in a short period of time.

Short History of the LEDS

LED technology has been around since the 1960s, when it was widely applied as indicator lights in electronic devices – for example, in television sets. But for a long time it was limited to red and green LEDs. It was only with the invention of the blue LED in the early 1990s that white light could be created using the LED technology. Now the little diodes emit a bright white light on its promising bright future. But why is LED technology considered better than others?

Advantages of LED Lighting

LED lighting works on different basis than any other lighting technology. The well-known incandescent and fluorescent lighting generate a lot of heat in the process of creating light. An incandescent creates its light by heating up its filament and fluorescents by electrical discharge. Only some of the energy input becomes light and a lot of the energy is lost.

However, LEDs are much better at converting energy in to light as they generate much less heat. With constant improvements their efficiency and lifespan considerably surpasses that of other lighting technologies. An important measure to consider is efficacy – the number of lumens1 a light can produce from each watt of energy – measured in lumens per watt (lm/W). This is where the heat/light ratio is best seen. Let us compare a standard 60W incandescent to its rivals:

Incandescent Bulb Fluorescent Bulb LED Bulb
Lifespan 1,200 hours 9,000 Hours 50,000 hours
Wattage 60W 15W 9W
Lumens 800 lm 800 lm 800 lm
Efficacy 60 lm/W 800 lm 100 lm/W
Heat (BTU2) 85 btu’s/hour 0 btu’s/hour 3 3.4 btu’s/hour

1Lumen – total measure of visible light

2British Thermal Unit

As can be observed from the table, the more heat a light source produces the less efficient it is. Another important thing that can be observed is that you would only require a 9W LED Bulb to replace a 60W incandescent or a 15W fluorescent bulb. The energy consumption is reduced by more than 40% and reduced energy consumption is reduced carbon emissions!

Furthermore, heat also impacts the lifetime of a light – the heat emitted damages the fitting over time until it eventually fails. Any heat that is generated within the LED fitting is efficiently dissipated through its heat sink and keeps it nice and cool. It is therefore applicable in a wide range of areas, even those which are heat sensitive. Additionally, there are no moving parts or glass components in the LED fittings making them more stable, robust and longer-lasting than any other type of lighting. LEDs really are a fit-and-forget solution. Wondering how often you will have to replace an LED light?

Hours of operation Replacement Period*
24 hours per day 5.7 years
18 hours per day 7.4 years
12 hours per day 11.4 years
8 hours per day 17.1 years

*Based on 50,000 hours rated lifetime

LED lighting is great, but another important factor pro LEDs is still to be revealed – they are environmentally friendly! LEDs contain no environmentally harmful substances, such as lead and mercury. LED lighting is both safer to use and a lot safer to dispose of. In contrast, fluorescents are classed as “hazardous waste” and have to be recycled separately from general and household waste to prevent the release of mercury into the environment. Additionally, with the long life cycle and long replacement periods of the LED lights the material consumption is also considerably lowered.

Maximizing the Benefits

Another technical advantage of the LEDs is they give instant light output. Fluorescent lights take a while to reach their maximum output and frequent switching damages the lights causing them to fail early. LEDs, however, aren’t affected by that and can be effectively coupled with sensor technology, such as occupancy sensors to maximise the energy savings. Used together with sensors, LED lighting can reduce the energy consumption by up to 90%. This is a very important factor in tackling fuel poverty. According to International Energy Agency, about 19% of global electricity consumption is used for lighting purposes and at least 38% of global electricity consumption from lighting could be saved by adoption of energy efficient lighting. Since LEDs are less demanding, they can be powered by simple solar power technologies.

Generally LED lighting is used in the industrial and commercial market but it is fast making its way in to the domestic sector. Domestic users can be first put off by the offset costs associated with the LEDs but normally LED lights pay for themselves between 18 months and 2 years and create savings year on year. Also, with the continuous developments and improvements of the LED technology they are both becoming more efficient and less costly to produce.

Lighting the Future

I hope that by now we have demonstrated the advantages of LED lighting over other commonly available lighting technologies. They are long lasting and energy efficient, and they hold great potential for reducing the global energy consumption. This is an important step towards achieving a low carbon future. It was for all these reasons the three Japanese men who invented the blue LED received a Nobel Prize and no wonder – it is such an amazing technology. As it states on the Nobel Prize website:

Incandescent light bulbs lit the 20th century; the 21st century will be lit by LED lamps.
Author Bio:

Kristiana Mindere is a digital media enthusiast at EGGlighting. She is also passionate about environmental issues and energy efficiency and shares her insights through the LED blog. EGGlighting from TreeGreen is a Glasgow based company committed to providing simple and affordable products which reduce energy costs. We are working with individuals businesses and public authorities to help them transform the energy efficiency of their property stock. If you would like the latest updates on LED lighting trends – why not follow us on Twitter?

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