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Electric lighting burns cfls, up to 35% of the average home energy budget.
The electricity used over the lifetime of a single incandescent bulb costs 5 to 10 times the original purchase price of the bulb itself.
Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs have revolutionized energy-efficient lighting.
LEDs are small, solid light bulbs that are highly energy-efficient. New LED bulbs are grouped in clusters with diffuser lenses which have broadened the applications for LED use in the home and office.
It is essential to buy high-quality bulbs, or the quality of light will be poor, and they will burn out prematurely. LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are solid light bulbs that are highly energy-efficient. Until recently, LEDs were limited to single-bulb use in applications such as instrument panels, electronics, penlights, and, more recently, strings of indoor and outdoor Christmas lights.
Manufacturers have expanded the application of LEDs by “clustering” the small bulbs. The first clustered bulbs were used for battery-powered items such as flashlights and headlamps. Today, LED bulbs are made using as many as 180 bulbs per cluster and encased in diffuser lenses which spread the light in wider beams. Now available with standard bases which fit common household light fixtures, LEDs are the next generation in home lighting.
LEDs may soon become the standard for most lighting needs. We are following these developments with interest and will report the latest updates in this research.
The high cost of producing LEDs has been a roadblock to widespread use. However, researchers at Purdue University have recently developed a process for using inexpensive silicon wafers to replace the expensive sapphire-based technology. This promises to bring LEDs into competitive pricing with spiral cfls, energy star cfls, CFLs and incandescents.
Benefits of LED lightbulbs
Long-lasting – LED bulbs last up to 10 times as compact fluorescent and are far longer than typical incandescent.
Durable – since LEDs do not have a filament, they are not damaged under circumstances when a regular incandescent bulb would be broken. Because they are solid, LED bulbs to hold up well to jarring and bumping.
Cool – these bulbs do not cause heat build-up; LEDs produce 3.4 btu’s/hour, compared to 85 for incandescent bulbs. This also cuts down on air conditioning costs in the home.
Mercury-free – no mercury is used in the manufacturing of LEDs.
More efficient – LED light bulbs use only 2-10 watts of electricity (1/3rd to 1/30th of Incandescent or CFL). Small LED flashlight bulbs will extend battery life 10 to 15 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Also, because these bulbs last for years, energy is saved in maintenance and replacement costs. For example, many cities in the US are replacing their incandescent traffic lights with LED arrays because electricity costs can be reduced by 80% or more.
Cost-effective – although LED’s are expensive, the cost is recouped over time and in battery savings. The best value comes from commercial use for the AC bulbs and large cluster arrays, where maintenance and replacement costs are expensive.
Light for remote areas – because of the low power requirement for LEDs, solar panels have become more practical and less expensive than running an electric line or using a generator for lighting.
Choosing an LED light bulb
Many different models and styles of LED bulbs are emerging in today’s marketplace. When choosing a bulb, keep in mind the following:
Estimate desired wattage – read the package to choose desired illumination level. For example, a 3W LED is equivalent in output to a 45 W incandescent.
Choose between warm and cool light – new LED bulbs are available in ‘cool’ white light, ideal for task lighting, and ‘warm’ light, commonly used for accent or small area lighting.
Standard base or pin base – LEDs are available in several types of ‘pin’ sockets or the standard “screw’ (Edison) bases for recessed or track lighting.
Choose between standard and dimmable bulbs – some LED bulbs, such as the LumiSelect series, are now available as dimmable bulbs.
Choose high-quality bulbs, or they will die prematurely – do not buy cheap bulbs from eBay or discounters. They are inexpensive because the bulbs use a low-quality chip that fails quickly.
Look for certifications – including FCC and UL.
In this LED bulb style, clusters of LEDs are covered by a dimpled lens that spreads the light out over a wider area. Available in standard Edison bases, these bulbs have many uses, such as area lighting for rooms, porches, reading lamps, accent lamps, hallways, and low-light applications where lights remain on for extended periods. Diffused high power bulbs Designed for everyday household use, these bulbs produce light equivalent to a 100-watt incandescent bulb.