Introduction LED Lighting
LED bulbs are far more efficient than traditional light bulbs, which give off most of their energy as heat. If you had to change a light bulb recently, you’ve probably noticed that it’s getting harder to buy non-LED bulbs – for good reason. Compared to incandescent, halogen and CFL bulbs, LEDs come out on top in the energy saving stakes.
Traditional incandescent bulbs work by passing an electric current through an extremely thin filament which becomes very hot, thereby emitting light. Of all the electricity that goes through the filament, only a small proportion is given off as light. The remainder is wasted as heat (approximately 90%), so these bulbs are grossly inefficient, and waste electricity. In September 2012, the EU issued a directive banning the commercial sale of any incandescent light bulb over 40 watts to homeowners.
What are LED’s?
Light-emitting diodes – or LEDs for short – last much longer than their older model counterparts, due to them consuming far less energy (up to 90% less) and emitting minimal heat. They also operate without the need for the fragile elements, such as glass tubes or filaments.
LEDs are often referred to as solid-state lighting which simply means that the light is emitted from a solid object (a block of semiconductor), rather than because a current passes through a filament, causing it to glow. They also operate without the need for the fragile elements, such as glass tubes or filaments.
LEDs can also weigh in on providing the required level of illumination – a typical 4 watt bulb can easily achieve a light output comparable to a 50 watt halogen.
Replacing just one 50Watt halogen spotlight in your kitchen with a 5Watt LED equivalent could save you over £15 a year (just one bulb!) but produces the same amount of light.
Due to their very low energy use, the bulbs are sold in categories of lumens as opposed to watts – showing how bright you can expect the bulb to be once lit. As a rough guide, the below table matches watts to lumens:
Unlike CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps), LEDs power and illuminate instantaneously, so you’re not waiting round for the bulb to warm up. They’re also available in a number of colour temperatures, ranging from a warm and inviting amber glow, to a crisp and lively daylight shine.
Just like any other bulb, there are a range of styles and applications available to fit in with your existing or planned decor, including spotlights, candles and dimmer switch models. How can I save money with LEDs?
The cost saving provided by LED lighting is due to two factors:
- 1. LEDs require much less electricity to power than both traditional incandescent and halogen light bulbs, and energy efficient light bulbs (CFLs).
- 2. They last much longer than their incandescent, halogen and CFL equivalents.
Lighting makes up a substantial part of our energy bills and is a difficult cost to avoid – especially when the dark nights start rolling in. Due to the lower wattage requirement of the bulbs, as well as the fact they last for up to 50,000 hours, you’ll start saving money almost instantly.
Not only does the lower wattage decrease your energy bills, but it also helps cut carbon emissions, due to you using less of the energy from power plants powered by fossil fuels.