1. What are LEDs?
LEDs, or light–emitting diodes, are semiconductor devices that produce visible light when an electrical current is passed through them. LEDs are a type of Solid State Lighting (SSL), as are organic light–emitting diodes (OLEDs) and light–emitting polymers (LEPs).
2. How is LED lighting different than other light sources, such as incandescent and CFL?
LED lighting differs from incandescent and compact fluorescent lighting in several ways. When designed well, LED lighting can be more efficient, durable, versatile and longer lasting.
LED lighting products use light emitting diodes to produce light very efficiently. An electrical current passed through semiconductor material illuminates the tiny light sources we call LEDs. The heat produced is absorbed into a heat sink.
Common LED colors include amber, red, green, and blue. There is actually no such thing as a “white” LED. To get white light the kind we use for lighting our homes and offices, different color LEDs are mixed or covered with a phosphor material that converts the color of the light. The phosphor is the yellow material you can see on some LED products. Colored LEDs are widely used as signal lights and indicator lights, like the power button on a computer.
LEDs are now being incorporated into bulbs and fixtures for general lighting applications. LEDs are small and provide unique design opportunities. Some LED bulb solutions may look like familiar light bulbs and some may not but can better match the performance of traditional light bulbs. Some LED light fixtures may have LEDs built–in as a permanent light source.
3. What are the main advantages of LEDs over conventional lights?
LEDs are extremely energy efficient and consume up to 90% less power than incandescent bulbs. Since LEDs use only a fraction of the energy of an incandescent light bulb there is a dramatic decrease in power costs. Also, money and energy is saved in maintenance and replacement costs due to the long LED lifespan.
Because of the low power usage of LEDs, they are becoming extremely popular for light sources in remote areas that use solar panels.
Although LEDs have a higher initial cost than incandescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs, the cost is quickly recouped over time in lower electricity costs.
LED Lights will start at full brightness, instantly, every time, therefore there is no need for backup lighting. LED Lights are a benefit because they switch on and off instantly making them ideal for flashing signs, traffic signaling and automotive lights, compared to standard compact fluorescent lights which fade in and out or flicker.
LEDs have a lifespan of up to 60,000 hours compared to 1,500 hours for incandescent bulbs. An LED light will last over 7 years (constant use) before needing replacement. On average, LED bulbs last 10 times as long as compact fluorescent bulbs, and 133 times longer than typical incandescent bulbs. Long lifespan of LEDs will dramatically reduce maintenance costs and lower long-term operating costs compared to traditional incandescent and fluorescent tubes.
LED lifespan scenarios:
– 50,000 hours powered 4 hours/day = 34 year lifespan
– 50,000 hours powered 8 hours/day = 17 year lifespan
– 50,000 hours powered 24 hours/day = 6 year lifespan
LEDs are solid state lighting devices that utilize semiconductor material instead of a filament or neon gas. An LED light is a tiny chip encapsulated in an epoxy resin enclosure, which makes LEDs far sturdier than traditional incandescent light bulbs or fluorescent tubes. Since LEDs don’t use fragile components such as glass and filaments, LEDs are able to withstand shock, vibration and extreme temperature.
Improved safety may be LED’s most important benefit. LED lights generate virtually no heat therefore they are cool to the touch and can be left on for hours without incident or consequence if touched. LED’s produce 3.4 btu’s/hour, compared to 85 for incandescent bulbs. In comparison, incandescent lighting expels 90% of the energy it consumes via heat, making the bulbs hot to the touch. LEDs reduce the potential for safety risks such as burns and fires.
LEDs are made from non toxic materials, unlike fluorescent lighting that uses mercury that may pose a danger to the environment. LED’s are also recyclable and considered “green” or Earth-Friendly.
LED lights are offered in a variety of base colors such as Red, Green, Blue and Amber. Because traditional incandescent light bulbs use filters to produce colors, they are extremely inefficient. LEDS can be blended together to produce millions of color options.
4. What are the uses LEDs?
LEDs are currently used for a wide variety of different applications such as: residential lighting, aerospace industry, architectural, automotive, broadcasting, electronic instrumentation, entertainment and gaming, the military, traffic and transportation. Since LEDs are focused lights they prove best at specific lighting tasks such as desk lamps, reading lights, night lights, security lights, spot lights, accent lights and lighting for signage.
5. Are LEDs the future of Lighting?
LEDs are poised to replace traditional incandescent light bulbs. LEDs are rapidly becoming the preferred lighting solution of both professionals and residential users. LED technology is continually advancing – producing brighter LED bulbs. The U.S. Department of Energy hopes to reduce the electricity used for lighting by 50% by converting to LED based light sources.