The pace at which LED technology is growing is truly incredible, although they’ve now been around for many years, today’s LED technology has completely changed lighting as we know it. We’ll be the first to admit that the process hasn’t always been consumer friendly, and we’ve compiled this guide to help you understand how any why you can benefit from making the switch.
WHAT IS AN LED?
LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are a type of electronic light source. LEDs are different from conventional light sources such as incandescent and halogen lamps. They last much longer, consume far less energy and emit very little heat. They are highly durable and do not feature fragile elements such as glass tubes or filaments; they are also safer because they do not contain any mercury or lead. LED bulbs are now available in the most common light fittings, including GU10, B22, E27 and MR16.
HOW MUCH POWER DO LEDS USE?
LED Bulbs use up to 90% less energy than an incandescent or halogen bulb of equivalent brightness. LEDs are far more efficient at converting electricity, measured in watts, into light, measured in lumens. As such, a typical 4 watt LED bulb can easily achieve a light output comparable to a 50 watt halogen, sometimes higher due to its high lumen to watt ratio.
HOW LONG DO LEDS LAST?
One of the biggest benefits of using LED is its outstanding life time expectation due to very efficient thermal management, LED Bulbs are able to remove heat through heat sinks to help prolong the life expectancy of the bulb by slowing down lumen depreciation. A well-built LED with good thermal management should last up to 50,000 hours. Be wary of retailers making exaggerated claims about the life expectancy of their products.
HOW BRIGHT ARE LEDS?
The brightness of a bulb is measured in lumens (Lm), the higher the number of lumens, the brighter the bulb. Despite using very low wattages, LEDs are able to emit the same brightness as traditional light sources. To make things easier, most retailers quote an equivalent incandescent wattage so consumers can replace their lights and keep the same brightness.
You used to look for wattage when buying new light bulbs, but wattage only measures energy use. Because energy efficient bulbs use considerably fewer watts, we now use lumens, which measure brightness, to select new bulbs.
HOW CAN LEDs HELP ME SAVE MONEY?
Whether it’s in a standard household or a commercial environment, lighting represents as much as 20% of the overall energy consumption. By switching to LED, a considerable amount of money can be saved due to the lower wattages of the products. LEDs also last far longer so you won’t need to replace them often and their reliability means you won’t need to worry about maintenance. Once you’ve switched to LED, you will start saving money in less than a year.
ARE LEDS SAFE?
Yes. Unlike CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps), LEDs do not contain mercury. They also give off comparatively little heat, making them safer to handle after prolonged use. The absence of glass enclosures and fragile parts also reduces the likelihood of breakage, so you won’t have to worry about broken glass.
WHY LED LIGHTS ARE ECO-FRIENDLY?
Using LED lights cuts carbon emissions. When you replace your old incandescent or CFL bulbs with LED, you are essentially reducing harmful CO2 levels being released into the air. This is because LED lights use less energy, energy that power plants produce by burning fossil fuels and oil. The less energy that these power plants need to make through burning of fuel, the less carbon emissions are released into the environment.
LED lights don’t waste energy. Incandescent bulbs consume high amounts of energy but only give minimal light luminance. Where is the excess energy going? Excess energy is converted to heat and released also into the environment, excess energy means wasted energy.
LED lights do not contain harmful metals. Lead and mercury are classified as the most toxic heavy metals in the world. And halogen, incandescent, and CFLs contain these heavy metals. Discarding these bulbs elsewhere or even in landfills can cause the lead and mercury content to spill and be mixed into your source of water or as a vapour in the air you breathe. On the other hand, LEDs don’t contain any of these harmful metals.