The LED Advantage
Light Emitting Diode technology has for a long time been surpassing and constantly improving on older more outdated forms of lighting. LED bulbs have been named "The Future of Lighting", except for the fact that they are already here and could already be saving you money. Your average LED bulb is up to 80% more energy efficient than an incandescent or halogen equivalent. That's up to 80% more money saved on your energy bills per bulb just for simply taking advantage of technology that is already available.
The secret is in their ability to not waste energy in the form of heat, by converting more of the electrical energy into light than any other type of lamp. This conveniently also means your bulbs won't be causing your rooms or work places to overheat during those hot summer months, or causing damage in sensitive areas like display cases or art galleries.
But the cost effectiveness doesn't just end there. LED bulbs have extremely long life times, and even our average household LED bulb can have a life time rating of 20,000 hours or more, meaning they will last for years or even decades with no replacement needed. When you compare that to the 1,000 - 2,000 life hours you get from your average halogen, you can really see how much of an improvement that is.
LED lights also offer a very high level of light quality, being available in a wide range of color temperatures. And thanks to a very high color rendering index (CRI), if you're working on art or makeup, or simply want to enjoy the colors of your home or work place, the light from an LED bulb will never leave everything looking bland or washed out.
With no mercury, incredibly low energy usage, extra long life times and a quality of light on par and even superior to older forms of lighting, there really is no reason not to take advantage of LED bulbs and make the upgrade today. And if you are looking for more ways to be green and eco friendly, upgrading outdated forms of lighting to energy efficient LED bulbs is one of the most effective changes you can make. In the near future, LED bulbs will be the only technology that will qualify for Energy Star labeling.
LED Lighting vs Traditional Lighting Comparison
LED Bulbs look great on paper, but how do they directly compare with competition? Let's take a look!
LED vs CFL
For this let's compare two typical household bulbs. The Green Watt 10 Watt LED bulb versus the Litetronics Neolite CFL bulb. Although both bulbs operate on 10 watts, the LED outputs 200 more lumens, meaning you could go for a lower wattage and still get the same amount of light as the CFL bulb. But, most importantly, the LED bulb has much longer expected life hours, with up to 35,000 hours of life possible. The higher cost of the LED bulb combined with that of the efficiency of the CFL makes this one a closer call than most, but with the extra light output, much longer life time and a higher CRI/quality of light, the LED bulb is the superior.
LED Tubes vs Fluorescent Tubes
For this we'll compare the Maxlite T8 Retrofit LED Tube versus the TopStar T8 Fluorescent Tube. Right off the bat the LED retrofit has an advantage with a CRI of 85 over the fluorescent with a CRI of 75. This increased color quality will make a big difference in work areas where color is often used and important. With these two examples, the Fluorescent Tube has an extra 100 lumens, but the LED uses 7 watts less to produce its 1800 lumens of natural white light. That small difference can equal up to $28.80 in saving over the course of the LED tube's life time. The LED product in this example is significantly more expensive to purchase, but even in this extreme, the money you save from the lower wattage can easily cover the difference in price. And on top of that, the LED bulb has a life time rating of 50,000 hours, which is 233% more than the competition. You may have to replace that fluorescent tube 3 or 4 times in the life of the LED tube, adding not only material cost but also time and labor. Again LED technology takes the victory.
LED vs Halogen
Halogen lights may be cheap to buy, but this outdated technology is among the worst when it comes to energy efficiency. If we compare a MaxLite A19 household bulb versus a Halco A19 household bulb, you can really see the extreme difference in energy usage. The Halogen uses 29 watts to produce 420 lumens of light, where as the LED uses only a tiny 7 watts yet produces 470 lumens. That's more light while using significantly less energy. And then there is the life hours. The LED boasts an impressive 25,000 average life time, compared to the mere 1,000 of the Halogen. The Halco bulb does have a much higher CRI, and is incredibly cheap to purchase. But if you're looking to save money over the long term and be more environmentally friendly/green, then the LED bulb wins by a landslide.
So there you have it. In almost every category LED bulbs win with relative ease, and that's without bringing up their 100% mercury free designs, or how they don't give off much heat, or how easily they can be recycled to make them even more environmentally friendly. If you want to save money, spend less time replacing your bulbs, and be more eco-friendly, then an LED bulb is what you need.
LED Terminology and Phrases
- The amount of power a bulb uses. The higher the wattage, the more you will need to spend on energy costs to run it.
- Wattage Equivalent
- Many LED bulbs mention a wattage equivalent. This means how much wattage a halogen, incandescent or other form of lighting would require to achieve the same level of light as the LED bulb.
- This term is used to describe how much light a bulb produces. The higher number of lumens, the brighter the bulb. A typical old-fashioned 60-watt light bulb produces about 800 lumens when brand-new, and dims over time. LED lighting does not dim as rapidly, and often retains over 90% of its initial brightness by the end of its rated lifespan.
- Color Temperature
- The color temperature indicates how the light will look. Color temperatures of around 2700K are generally described as a "warm white", while higher numbers such as 4100K can be described as a "cool white". Color temperatures of 5000K to 6500K are referred to as "Daylight" or "Full Spectrum" and best emulate natural light in terms of color.
- Color Rendering Index (CRI)
- The CRI is the bulbs ability to reveal the colors of objects in comparison to a perfect or natural light source. For example, worktops, paintings or wall paper can look washed out and more bland when illuminated by a bulb with a low CRI. The higher the CRI, the more accurately the colors are revealed.