Demystifying LED lighting. LED stands for light emitting diodes. What’s all the talk about and how do you choose which light is right for you?
Some of the facts
We are seeing and hearing more about LED lighting since incandescent lights were to be rendered obsolete in January 2014 but congressional leaders postponed the official phase-out for the time being. Manufactures, however, are continuing to move ahead with higher efficiency lighting leaving incandescent by the wayside. When you walk into big box stores they have large displays which to someone not familiar with this “new” lighting might be a little confused by it.
Advantages of LED lighting
Although LED lighting can be costly up front, they have a long life and come in many colors- more about that further on. The light they admit is not as harsh as fluorescent bulbs. Amazingly they use 80% less electricity than incandescent lights, 20% less than CFL -compact fluorescent lights which are slowly fading away. They provide great light for almost any general application, yet LED lighting has less than 5% penetration in the lighting market. As more consumers and commercial uses install LED lighting it could cut lighting based energy consumptions significantly. High powered LEDs deliver better performance in a more efficient way.
Installing LED’s should be considered an investment that will save you money over a longer period of time. Prices of LED have been coming down; there now are an increased number of choices when it comes to color quality. LED lights can last 20 years and will cost about a $1 per year using it on average for three hours per day. With the prices coming down the payback time shortens making LED lighting worth the initial investment.
There are differences between incandescent and CFL and LED lighting. LED lights can be more efficient, durable, versatile and longer lasting. Sophisticated engineering is needed to produce light similar to an incandescent bulb. The brightness of the bulb needs to be evaluated differently. Just as we had to move from candlepower to thinking in watts; for LED lights, the brightness is measured in lumens. Unlike incandescent lights where there is still a direct correlation in our perception between brightness and watts, the amount of energy a bulb draws; not so with LED. The larger the lumen or brighter the light, does not mean more gobs of energy is being consumed.
Evaluating the light
LED’s come in a wide range of colors which can be confusing to some. Color temperature is measured in units called Kelvin. To keep it simple they designate the light as “warm white” more yellow and “soft white” which are similar in hue to what incandescent lights produce. “Bright white” are bluer, similar to daylight; this application will be seen in stores and businesses. There is no rule as to which to use in a space, it is more of a personal preference, and they can be mixed in a room to give the proper light. Some suggestions would be:
Warm white – living room, bedroom, hallway
Soft white- kitchen, study, bathroom, cupboard, office
Bright white-board room, retail space
LED’s can be used in an array of different applications. They are available in tabletop lighting but also accent lights, recess lighting, under counter lighting and chandeliers in home lighting and commercial use. With the direction to go towards energy efficiency LED’s should be a consideration when using lights in a home.
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