The Top Reasons for Considering LEDs in Simple Terms|
Article- Sept 2012 By Larson Electronics.com
Larson Electronics Explosion Proof 70 Watt Low Profile LED Light Fixture
For anyone interested in learning more about LED lighting, navigating the thousands of potential information sources available is becoming something of a nightmare. The fast growth of the LED industry and the rapid approach of ever stricter energy standards have pushed interest in LEDs to all time highs. Because of this interest, a great deal of information is becoming available which despite its prolific nature, rarely seems to succinctly make the case for LEDS for those who simply want to know the bottom line on the subject. The truth is, most average consumers simply are not very interested in luminous efficiency or the optimal operating voltages of LEDs, and simply want to understand how LEDs compare to the incandescent and fluorescent lamps they will most likely eventually replace. Certainly those within the professional fields will desire a more in depth technical assessment of LED technologies, but for the average worker or business owner, simply knowing whether or not an LED fixture will replace their current fixture without any loss of light quality or increase in costs are the most important determining factors.
It is in this spirit of simplicity that we offer here a basic run down of why LEDs are becoming so popular, and how they can benefit the average consumer. While there are literally hundreds of peripheral subjects that can greatly enhance knowledge of LEDs, simply knowing that an LED light fixture will effectively replace your existing lighting while saving you money is usually sufficient for most common typical operators. This list will by no means be comprehensive, but we believe it should provide any easy to understand and effective primer for those who as of yet are still unconvinced as to the merits of converting to LED lighting.
#1. LED are more efficient.
The typical illumination grade LED usually used in lighting equipment is up to 80% more efficient than the traditional incandescent light bulb. This is usually measured by comparing how much light is produced per watt between the two different types of lamps. The typical incandescent bulb produces about 15-17 lumens per watt. This means that a 100 watt incandescent lamp will produce about 1700 lumens of light output. LEDs on the other hand produce around 60-90 lumens per watt. This means that a 100 watt LED lamp will produce about 9,000 lumens. As a result, to replace a typical 100 watt incandescent lamp with an LED equipped lamp and produce the same amount of light output, you only need an LED lamp of about 20 watts.
#2. LEDs save money.
LED lights cost more than typical incandescent lamps. Where an incandescent lamp may only cost about $1.25, an LED lamp can cost $15.00. However, initial purchase cost is only a small fraction of the actual cost associated with lighting. When considering LEDs, it is very important that we consider the operational life of the bulb, its lower energy requirements, and in commercial applications, overall maintenance costs. For example, the typical incandescent will last about 1500-2000,hours before burning out. The common life expectancy for an LED lamp on the other hand is averaged at 25,000 to 50,000 hours. In order to provide as much operational life as an LED, and incandescent bulb would have to be replaced 30 times to achieve 45,000 hours of illumination. As a result, that incandescent bulb would end up costing over $30.00 in replacement costs alone compared to the LEDs $15.00. Additionally, when we factor in the reduced annual energy usage and reduced maintenance costs, LEDs provide even greater savings annually.
#3. LEDs are more durable.
Unlike incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, LED lamps are not constructed with fragile glass or wire filaments. Their solid stated design allows them to withstand vibrations and impacts that would destroy typical light bulbs. This means no more broken bulbs when a lamp is knocked over or a fixture accidentally hit while working.
#4. LEDs provide instant light and are not sensitive to on/off cycle or ambient temperature extremes.
The chief rival for efficient lighting is the compact fluorescent bulb. These bulbs are sensitive to temperatures; cold temperatures can cause erratic operation and reduced lamp life. Additionally, they require a warm up period during which it takes several seconds to a few minutes for the bulb to reach maximum output; these bulbs also suffer degradation and reduced operating life if frequently run for short periods of time with frequent on and off cycles, such as with a closet or hallway lamp. LEDs on the other hand provide full power at startup, are not affected by hot or cold temperatures, and can be cycled off and on frequently with no degradation in performance.
#5. LEDs do not have easily released toxins in their construction.
Once of the major concerns with fluorescent lamps are the toxic materials used in their construction. IN order to produce light, fluorescent lamps rely on materials like mercury. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin and in order to dispose of fluorescent bulbs safely they must be handled and recycled properly at the end of their operational life. This means added expense and risk to the environment. LEDs on the other hand have no significant levels of toxic materials, can be recycled, but do not pose a serious environmental hazard if simply disposed of normally.
What we have run through are the most common factors taken into consideration when comparing LEDs to other more common types of lighting equipment. Energy efficiency is far and away the greatest selling point for LEDs, and the potential for reduced energy consumption and lowered environmental impact is staggering when looked at on a national and international level. Even for the common office space or commercial business, monthly and annual energy costs can be reduced by over 20% in many cases simply by upgrading all lighting to LEDs. The average homeowner can see less substantial but no less important savings as well.
With current energy regulation resulting in the phasing out of incandescent bulbs, and new lighting technologies now facing greater demand, expect to see LEDs play a larger if not dominant role in the continuing evolution of energy efficient lighting.