LEDs (Light-Emitting Diode) have a unique method of creating light. When an electric current is passed through an LED, electrons recombine with electron holes within the device and release photons (light) through a process called electroluminescence. This allows LEDs to be smaller, more robust, consume less energy and have a longer lifetime than legacy lighting systems. While low power LEDs have been used in displays and other similar applications for years, high powered LEDs capable of illuminating a room are a much more recent development. Additionally, since the diodes are a point source of light, they emit a focused beam of light in a single direction within a very narrowed angle. Therefore, LED lamps are composed of multiple diodes arranged in an array to increase the level and angle of illumination.
These LED arrays are highly energy efficient, achieving from 70 to 90 lumens per watt. However, grouping LEDs causes heat to build so heat dissipation must be taken into consideration. In ideal settings, LEDs have demonstrated lifetimes of 50,000 hours, a marked improvement over the 15,000-hour rating of metal halides or 2,000-hour ratings of incandescent. However, heat will drastically shorten the life of the diodes and the internal control chip, making LEDs suited for indoor applications with minimal temperature variance.
With twenty-two percent of the electricity used in the United States consumed by lighting, energy efficient LED (light-emitting diodes) lighting offers a tremendous opportunity for savings. LEDs use a minimal amount of energy. They use one-fifth the amount of energy as an incandescent light source and about half that of low-energy CFL (compact fluorescent) technology. A 12.5 watt LED bulb provides as much light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb. LEDs use semiconductors to create light, rather than a heating filament; they don’t produce heat as a by-product. Lights that give off heat can pose as fire hazards and increase a building’s air conditioning load by operating as mini heaters.
The following are more of the many benefits of LED lights:
- Up to 100,000 hours life expectancy
- Excellent luminescence
- Vibration resistant due to solid state technology
- No fragile glass composition or filaments
- Immediate ‘on’; no warm-up time
- Excellent with sensors and dimmers
- Direct ‘retrofit’ replacement for existing installations
- Reduced wiring and distribution board requirements for new builds
- Produce little heat or UV light
- No harmful pollutants like lead or mercury
- Reduction in carbon emissions
- Made mostly from recycled aluminum
- No irritating flickering or humming
- No infrared or ultraviolet radiation
You are likely to see a typical return on your investment within 12 to 24 months. It’s possible that you will not need to change an LED bulb for 20 years!