Thursday, November 30, 2017

Are LEDs a Bright Idea?

As we settle into winter, the temperatures begin to drop, the sun starts setting earlier and our days get shorter and shorter. With the decrease in sunlight, we begin to rely more and more on our lightbulbs to make up for the shortened days and lack of natural light. LED bulbs are a great way to keep energy costs down and increase the efficiency of your home or business, making it more environmentally friendly. The Dept. of Energy (DOE) has conducted research into solid state lighting or SSL, which includes Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and Organic Light Emitting Diodes or (OLEDs). According to the research done by the Dept. of Energy, “switching to SSL could reduce national lighting energy by 75% in 2035”.

LEDs or Light Emitting Diodes are the most efficient light bulb available on the market today. Using a semiconductor to convert electricity into light, they are able to use 95% of the energy they use to create light, wasting only 5%. This process decreases energy draw by around 80% when compared to incandescent light bulbs. Very little heat is lost from LEDs in comparison to incandescent bulbs, which can lose 90% of their energy as heat. The LED bulbs can actually benefit from cooler temperatures as well; the DOE found that they were 5% more efficient at -5 degrees Celsius than 25 degrees Celsius.  Not only are LEDs better in terms of efficiency, but they last much longer than other light bulbs.Depending on the LED bulb, a good quality one will last 25,000 hours or more.

If you have concerns regarding the variety, size, color or light quality, not to worry!! LEDs are one of the most compact lighting options available on the market, they are extremely durable, come in a number of colors and are very adaptable lighting options. The market is expanding as more and more people are making the switch to LEDs.

Another benefit of these beautiful bulbs is that, unlike compact florescent lights, LEDs do not contain any   mercury and do not need to be disposed of as hazardous waste. Though florescent lights are more efficient than the standard incandescent bulbs, they contain small amounts of mercury, less than 5 milligrams generally. However, even this tiny amount of mercury can poison thousands of gallons of water or pose a threat to people that come into contact with it. Despite the energy savings that the   florescent bulbs presented, their disposal and the mercury they contained created another issue. The bulbs must be recycled at a facility that is qualified to handle florescent bulbs, which are limited. These bulbs should not be thrown out in the trash due to the mercury they contain. Mercury does not decompose or dissipate, it remains in the environment.

Generally, the upfront cost of LED bulbs is a little higher the florescent or incandescent; however, you will be saving money as they last far longer and are much more energy efficient. Consider LED bulbs a good investment for the winter, and one that will continue to benefit you for years to come. 


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