LEDs are a lighting technology that work through electroluminescence, a property of certain materials that cause them to emit light when an electric current is passed through them. LEDs are more durable, more efficient, safer, and cheaper in the long run than any current lighting technology. This applies not only to the decorative fairy lights that will deck your halls during this season, but also the lights that shine all year round. Today they are cheaper and more accessible than ever, and represent a changeover from one established traditional technology to another in a transition that’s faster than most people can even replace their bulbs.
Not break as easily
Incandescent light bulbs are composed of a thin tungsten filament through which electrical current is run, and an evacuated glass bulb. These two fragile components contribute to the overall fragility of incandescent lights – even a light impact can destroy the glass enclosure, while a sudden shock or heavy vibration can break the filament. Christmas light enthusiasts will understand the struggle of accidentally breaking tiny incandescent bulbs while setting them up against a wall or stringing them up, and even in storage they are at risk of being broken just by being moved around.
LED bulbs on the other hand are encased in epoxy resin that doesn’t shatter as easily as glass does, and the LED assembly itself is a relatively sturdy solid-state semiconductor. This composition makes LEDs less prone to breakage, more resistant to the effects of jarring motion and vibration, and overall more durable.
In addition to this, LEDs are not susceptible to extremely cold temperatures, and will function just as well in them as at room temperature, making them optimal for outdoor display especially during winter.
Millions of dollars are being spent on research and development to make LED products even more efficient for the future. The low power and weight features of LED products make it ideal for new types of lighting such as LED strips, downlights and luminaires that are available now. LED products are also being integrated into control systems that can be remotely controlled by smartphones and tablets.
With falling prices of LED products, long-term increases in energy costs tied with improving efficiency of LED, with more light for each unit of energy the argument to switch to LED now is very compelling as payback periods become shorter.
Cold and Hot Temperatures
LEDs work well in a wide range of operating temperatures without significant degradation. LED lighting are ideal for operation under cold and low outdoor temperature settings. For fluorescent lamps, low temperatures may affect operation and present a challenge, but LED illumination operates well also in cold settings, such as for outdoor winter settings, freezer rooms etc.
Cooler and safer
LED lamps run much cooler than traditional halogen lamps and can be less of a hazard (please consult a qualified electrician for fire safety regulations in your area). Halogen lamps are an inefficient way to heat a space. Using LED will allow a heating or air-conditioning system to run more effectively. When lamps run cooler they minimise the deterioration to light fittings, shades and decoration which can occur with hot lamps – so your light fittings will last longer. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, CFLs release 80% of their energy as heat instead of light. Think that’s high? Incandescent bulbs release a staggering 90% of their energy as heat. Conversely, LED light bulbs offer superior efficiency and stay relatively cool to the touch. This means that LED light bulbs do a significantly better job of converting energy from a power source into light compared to incandescent and CFL bulbs.
Color Rendering Index
CRI is a measurement of a light’s ability to reveal the actual color of objects as compared to an ideal light source (natural light). High CRI is generally a desirable characteristic (although of course, it depends on the required application). LEDs generally have very high (good) ratings when it comes to CRI.
Perhaps the best way to appreciate CRI is to look at a direct comparison between LED lighting (with a high CRI) and a traditional lighting solution like sodium vapor lamps (which generally have poor CRI ratings and are in some cases almost monochromatic).
Colour choice of LED bulbs is almost endless
Traditional incandescent bulbs produce a really nice warm light. It is the light that most of us grew up with and so on the whole we are used to it and like it. LEDs give people choice though – yes you can get the nice warm light colour reminiscent of incandescent bulbs, but using LED lighting you can achieve any colour on the colour temperature chart. LED lights emit this light with a constant colour temperature too, regardless of the intensity to unlike conventional light fittings.
LEDs give you control over your commercial environment since they feature capabilities such as daylighting, dim-ability, occupancy sensors, timers, amongst other options. Let’s take the dim ability, for instance, you can get a level of brightness that is most ideal to your depending on the time of the day.
During the day, as natural light from the sun streams in, LEDs can automatically adjust to blend with the lightning demands for the moment.
They also have directional control which means you can point the lights to certain directions without wasting excess energy.
Over and above that, they are able to produce more focused light at 180 degrees, unlike traditional lights that emit this focused light at 360 degrees.
Correlated Color Temperature
LEDs are available in a wide range of correlated color temperature (CCT) values. They can be purchased with a “warm,” yellowish glow, as a “cool,” white light and a variety of other options. You can read more about CCT here.
LEDs are so small they can be used in virtually any application you can think of. They can be combined in bunches for a traditional bulb, used in isolation as a small device light, or strung out in sequence in a linear fashion. Just about everything you can think of can be done with LEDs in lighting products.
LED lighting are able to operate at virtually any percentage of their rated power (0 to 100%). Of note, they do require hardware specific to LED technology in order to dim (meaning you cannot use the dimming equipment for an incandescent bulb or other traditional lighting technology). A positive of operating LED lighting at less than full power is that they get more efficient as the power is reduced. This also increases the total lifespan of the light itself. Both of those advantages are absent with technologies like metal halides that actually get less efficient at lower power and in many cases cannot be dimmed at all.
LED lighting technology emits light for only 180 degrees. Every other type of light emits light 360 degrees around the source. 360 degree emissions necessitate accessory devices to reflect and/or redirect the light. This drives up the costs for the system in general and inevitably results in losses meaning that the device is necessarily less efficient than it otherwise would be. Consider a light that emits light into the ceiling – that is your standard bulb. The problem is that you’re trying to illuminate the room, not the ceiling. LEDs solve this problem completely and give the savings back in terms of the system’s overall energy efficiency
Down in price
The final reason is that LED lighting products are coming down in price all the time. When we first started the LED Vapor tight about 6 years ago, I remember that this particular 40W LED Vaportight we used to recommend to customer cost $78 – quite an expense. These same LED Vaportight but now cost just $38 and they have better efficacy!
This means that the cost of replacing all the bulbs in your home with the LED equivalents is now more affordable than ever. Obviously the outlay is not going to be cheap, but the energy savings from the bulbs and the fact they last up to 20 times longer than the incandescent / Halogen equivalent means the payback should be less than a year – so in our opinion certainly an investment worth making!
Whether you need a bulb for outdoor flood lights or an indoor light fixture, it’s more than likely that there is an LED bulb to fit your needs. Their rugged construction and range of shapes and sizes makes LED lighting extremely versatile. As an added benefit, many LED light bulb manufacturers have made indoor LED bulbs that appear similar in shape to traditional incandescent bulbs. This makes it easy to opt for LED bulbs in even the most elegant lighting fixtures without taking away from their visual appeal. Their energy savings coupled with their ability to fit well in virtually any lighting fixture makes LED lighting the perfect combination of style and substance.
LED light arrays can be placed and combined in an infinite number of ways to produce efficient – but also controllable – illumination. The colour, shade, brightness and distribution of light can be controlled to perfection, which makes for not only technically-useful lighting, but also soothing, uplifting or energising mood lighting.
Easy on the eyes
The quality and color of light that is produced by LED bulbs is relatively gentle on the eyes. Whereas darkness is the absence of all color, white light is created when the full color spectrum is blended together. LED light bulbs usually combine red, green and blue LEDs to create white light. The color of LED lighting can be measure on the Color Rendering Index, or CRI, which is a scale of how accurately a light source renders a color in comparison to the same color in full natural light. CRI ranges from 1-100, and the higher the CRI rating, the more accurate the light bulb is able to render color. LED light bulbs typically have a high CRI with some LED bulbs featuring a 90+ CRI rating.
Easy on the knees and joints
The average lifespan of a traditional incandescent light bulb is about 1,000 hours according to the U.S. Department of Energy. CFLs perform significantly better with an average lifespan of 10,000 hours according to the same source. LED light bulbs outperform both with an impressive 25,000 hour average lifespan. Because LED bulbs last about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, LED bulbs will need to be changed 25 times less often. This keeps the need to pull out the step stool or get up on a precariously-located ladder to a minimum, which could be particularly appealing to an aging population or to people with limited mobility.
Economy: Live long and phosphor
LEDs are one of the most energy efficient and cost effective light sources available on the market. Their low power consumption, high reliability and long lifespan allow purchasers to realize significant energy savings and maintenance reduction over the lifetime of an LED fixture.
Recent advances in LED lighting technology have prompted governments to quickly adopt the technology. With energy demand and prices rising, cities, states and countries are quickly moving to LEDs to reduce the demand on their power grid.
Consumers are rapidly realizing the benefits as well. LED lights boast durations of tens of thousands of hours. With this longevity, people may not see the LEDs in their fixtures burn out in their lifetime. In fact, the life of an LED is about 100,000 hours or just over 11 years of continuous use.
Ecology: Better living without chemistry
The long lifetime of an LED leads to fewer bulbs changed, and fewer bulbs thrown away. Because LEDs use electricity very efficiently, greenhouse gas emissions are also reduced.
While traditional lighting sources such as fluorescents use chemicals like mercury, LEDs use phosphor and other safe materials without a negative ecological footprint. Fluorescents have specific instructions for disposal, but an LED can simply be recycled.
There are two major reasons that LED lighting helps the environment – the first is related to the fact that LED lighting uses less energy – this means that energy demand decreases and therefore less power is required in the first place. For a single house the difference it will make on the wider environment is negligible however if we were all to make the swap then energy demand would decrease significantly.
Remember about 10-20% of the average household energy bill goes on the cost of lighting – and that doesn’t even consider workplace lighting.The other reason LED lighting helps the environment is because the bulbs themselves can be recycled. CFL bulbs, which are the old style energy saving bulbs that take an age to come on contain mercury. This means that they need to be disposed of in a safer manner to ensure the waste site is not contaminated
The range of LED products is increasing and products like LED strips that can change colour and brightness make it easier to produce light effects almost anywhere.
Lighting manufacturers have tried to make LED bulbs as familiar-looking as possible, most importantly by having a screw-in connector. But there are limits to mimicking the Edison-style bulb.
“Snow cone” LEDs, where the top half is a bulb shape, best resemble incandescent bulbs but light is given off in only one direction. So you’ll get more light from the top of a desk lamp, for example, than the bottom. CFLs or incandescents give off light in all directions.
The most recent bulbs to come to market address this light dispersal problem very well. I’ve been testing a Lighting Sciences Group 60-watt equivalent for the last week or so and it does indeed give off far more even light than the company’s own snow cone-type bulbs.
Over the lifetime of an LED product, less electricity and replacement products are used; saving even more energy in transportation, packaging and maintenance when compared to conventional lamps. All this adds up to lower CO2 emissions, a win-win for you and the environment. As LED lamps are very efficient, they are the perfect product to compliment renewable energy sources such as solar panels or wind power.
With LEDs on the rise, it’s essential that they be held to strict standards for international regulation and testing.
One of the top concerns with LED lighting relates to photobiology, a field of inquiry that researches the interaction of visible light with living things. The European IEC-62471 standard was created in 2006 in response to the growth of LED light and their uniquely associated hazard of blue light. Extended exposure to the high-intensity blue light produced by LEDs can strain and even damage retinas, cause cataracts, and create localized burning on the eyes.
In addition to these, there are documented effects on people who are constantly exposed to blue light especially at night-time. Blue light exposure at night has been shown to suppress melatonin levels and in turn affected circadian rhythms, which can lead to insomnia, fatigue, and potentially elevated risks of diabetes and cancer.
IEC-62471 is intended to unify testing procedures for white-light lighting products that illuminate spaces. The standard mandates testing for all products that fit this description. This is an ideal response to a newly widespread technology whose long-term effects on the human body are yet to be reliably observed.
LEDs can greatly enhance safety in the work environment and are a great choice for emergency lighting . They can also contribute to a happier and healthier workplace reducing the risk of illnesses such as Sick Building Syndrome and their side effects, like depression, low energy, and irritability.
Studies have shown that organizations opting for LEDs are seeing a higher level of productivity. LED lighting can influence the mood and performance so correct lighting is very much essential. LED light mimics natural light so it has a higher Color Rendering Index.
LED lamps switch ON and OFF instantly and are flicker free – There is no warm up time unlike many CFLs
You would be amazed at the number of people with the old style energy saving lights in their homes. Obviously there was a huge drive by the Government for people to swap to these bulbs in the 90s because honestly so many of our clients have them in their homes. On the whole they are better than incandescent bulbs because they use less energy and last longer, however the reason I don’t like them and actually refuse to have them in my house is that they take so long to reach full brightness.
Entering a room to find something you have lost and needing to wait 2 minutes while the bulbs warms up sufficiently to light the room is not ideal. Well with LED bulbs you experience the same instant lighting as incandescent bulbs. This is not a massive thing, but for many it might be a clincher!
Even disregarding material durability, LEDs simply have a vastly longer usable lifespan than incandescent bulbs – as much as 25 times longer, in fact. The average incandescent lifespan will be usable for approximately 1,000 hours before burning out. Meanwhile, LEDs can last as long as 25,000 hours, at which point their brightness will be diminished by 70%. You can expect a string of LED Christmas lights to last up to 40 holiday seasons.
LED lights in general are more expensive than incandescents, and therefore have a higher initial cost. However, this investment is offset over time by a greatly reduced need to replace your lights, as bulbs will quickly burn out and need to be replaced, while LEDs will continue to shine.
There is good evidence to suggest that LED products attract fewer insects, meaning less maintenance and cleaning.
Pixi Lighting, which makes LEDs, lists “no bugs!” (that is, insects) as one of the reasons to use LEDs. But if you look at discussions online, it’s not so clear-cut.
The stated reason that bugs don’t fly toward LEDs is because bugs are attracted to ultraviolet light and at least some LEDs don’t give off this type of light. But that’s not universally true for all types of LEDs, according to people who have commented online. In one discussion, an employee from EnergyCircle said that most residential LED bulbs give off almost no UV light.
Less Lights Needed
LEDs have a better quality of light distribution and focus light in one direction as opposed to other types of lighting which waste energy by emitting light in all directions, often illuminating areas where light isn’t required (such as the ceiling). This means that less LED lights are needed to achieve the same level of brightness given off by fluorescents and incandescent lights. Fewer lights will reduce energy consumption and will therefore be a benefit to the environment.
Lover operational voltage and amperage reduces line voltage drip. That means less wiring costs and brighter lights
LED lighting is designed to focus its light and can be directed to a specific location without the use of an external reflector, achieving higher application efficiency than conventional lighting. Well-designed LED illumination systems are able to deliver light more efficiently to the desired location. LEDs can also be dimmed, as well as motion sensor resulting in a dynamic control of light, color, flexibility and distribution.
Lower energy costs
Let’s get the immediate question of power consumption out of the way: LEDs can use at least 75% less energy than equivalent incandescent bulbs. A $2.74 bill for lighting a Christmas tree for an entire season with tiny incandescents is showed up by a similarly-lit LED Christmas tree that would only run up to $0.82. Scale that up to a complete Christmas lighting set and you can rack up hundreds of dollars of savings over the years.
These power savings naturally apply to LEDs for home indoor lighting as well. Purchasing LED bulbs to replace incandescent lighting will definitely help alleviate your monthly electrical bill. LEDs are also more efficient even than fluorescent lighting, so they’re a practical choice.
As LEDs can work with low-voltage, they’re ideal for outdoor use – camping, garden rooms, alongside a solar energy source and in remote areas.
Are you convinced yet? You should be! You can even check out this website for condos that come equipped with some of the fanciest led bulbs.
In many cases LEDs operate on very low voltages. This makes them suitable for use in outdoor lighting applications where other lighting might not meet code such as with oceanfront homes where the ground level of the property is in a flood zone.
LEDs have a lifespan of up to 60,000 hours as opposed to 1,500 hours typical of incandescent bulbs. A great LED light can last over 7 years of constant use before needing a replacement. Usually, LED bulbs last ten times as long as small fluorescent bulbs and 133 times longer than typical incandescent bulbs. The long lifetime of LEDs will drastically reduce maintenance costs and lower long-term operating costs compared to traditional amoureux and fluorescent lights
longer life span means lower carbon emissions. LED Lights last up to six times longer than other types of lights, reducing the requirement for frequent replacements. This results in using fewer lights and hence fewer resources are needed for manufacturing processes, packaging materials and transportation.
A small amount of Mercury is used in CFL bulbs. Any reduction in the use of Mercury will benefit the environment.
No need to change the fitting
LED bulbs use less electricity to run, they last longer, they come in all different colours and they are better for the environment – what are the other reasons for making the jump to LED lighting. Well since LED bulbs are becoming so popular it is now possible to replace about every type of light fitting in the home with an LED equivalent. When they first came out, the number of LED fittings was limited, but now you can get spotlights (GU10 & MR16), bayonet fittings, Edison screw and even LED strip lights too. We even had a customer who wanted to swap their fridge light with an LED equivalent – so whatever your requirements, there is an LED to do the job.
One thing to be slightly mindful of is when using LED bulbs with 12v circuits (like an MR16 bulb). Normally an external transformer is used to take the mains voltage down to 12v, however the transformer has to be able to operate with LED bulbs – i.e. it has to be a LED transformer. The reason for this is that transformers typically require a bit of load for them to operate – approximately 40watts. If you replace 7 MR16 bulbs in a kitchen circuit with LED equivalents you will take the load travelling through the transformer down from 350w to 35w. This means that the transformer won’t work properly and the result will be flashing lights.
We always recommend keeping your lighting at 240v if you do any retrofit works, but you can still buy the LED transformers if you existing lights do work at 12v. In most cases though we find people are much better off replacing the fitting and the LED bulbs (so swap MR16 bulbs with new GU10 fitting and GU10 LED bulbs).
Save on electricity costs
We covered this a little already, but the design of LED fixtures means they are the most efficient way to light up a space. This is one reason that LED lighting is the primary way that customers are meeting maximum wattage per square foot energy codes with LED lighting.
Save on materials
LED fixtures are able to distribute light differently than traditional light fixtures, you may be able to get away with fewer light fixtures in your space. Here is an example of one customer who had traditional fluorescent light fixtures in a parking garage. Our team was able to use 500 fewer fixtures in the garage while improving the overall lighting. The project paid for itself in 14 months, making it well worth the ongoing savings and proving to be a very strong investment.
The actual LED device is extremely small. Small power devices can be less than a tenth of a single mm2 while larger power devices can still be as small as a mm2. Their small size makes LEDs incredibly adaptable to an infinite number of lighting applications. Different uses for LEDs include a wide spectrum from their roots in circuit board lighting and traffic signals to modern mood lighting, residential, and commercial property applications, and even major stadium lighting. You can read about the history of LED lighting here or the history of lighting in general here.
Solid State Lights
LEDs are solid express lighting devices that utilize semiconductor material rather than a filament or neon gas. An LED light is a tiny chip exemplified in an epoxy plant enclosure, which makes LEDs far sturdier than traditional incandescent bulbs or neon tubes.
NO Toxic Elements
LED lights contain no toxic elements. Most offices currently use fluorescent strip lights which contain noxious chemicals such as mercury. This will contaminate the environment when disposed of in landfill waste. Disposal has to be arranged through a registered waste carrier so switching to LED avoids the cost and time implications required for compliant disposal – and helps to protect the environment from further toxic waste
NO UV Emissions
LEDs emit the vast majority of their energy in the visible spectrum, a small amount in the infrared spectrum, and virtually none in the ultraviolet portion of the spectrum. This means that LEDs are able to safely and reliably illuminate UV sensitive items like art that will break down and degrade over time if exposed to this type of emission.
LED bulbs are more durable, less breakable, more adaptable to being turned on and off frequently, and more compatible with cold-weather temperatures
White Light, Green Life
While LED bulbs can produce many different colors, you’ll always live the “green life” with these lights installed! They’re recyclable and completely free of eco-damaging materials. And because they’re energy-efficient and last a long time, it doesn’t take as much energy to manufacture or operate them.
Why are LED fixtures different than traditional light fixtures?
One of the game-changing advancements with LED fixtures is the ability to have greater control over where the light produced ends up.
With traditional lighting, light is produced in every direction. Think about a fluorescent tube, metal halide bulb, or the typical light bulb in a table lamp. 360-degree light is a wonderful solution for a table lamp, but in most commercial applications, reflectors in the fixture are used to direct stray light in the direction you want it to shine.
With LED lighting, light is produced in a single direction. This gives lighting engineers an extremely flexible way to direct light exactly where it needs to be using advanced optics.
Ultimately, the design and technology of LED lighting result is less wasted light and less wasted energy. Here’s another way to think about this. It’s easier to direct a beam of light from the start and distribute it where you want it rather than having to corral and redirect stray light.
Imagine being asked to paint an intricate piece of furniture. Would you rather have a paint roller and four-inch brush to use or would you rather have a variety of brushes, straight and angled, with a variety of widths at your disposal? You can probably get the furniture painted either way, but you’ll probably happier with the result and waste less paint if you go with the solution that gives you more control.