LED lights – Four benefits of LED lighting
In this article I would like to share with you some practical benefits of using LED lights. We divide LEDs into two groups – small devices and power devices. Small and power devices can also be bought in a range of colors (red, orange, blue, white, etc.). A typical small LED device only has about 40 mW of power, as it is mostly used as an indicator, not as a real light source (for example, in car dashboards and mobile phones). Power devices typically have 1-3W of power and are used for actual lighting (not indicating), like for car headlights.
LED stands for “light emitting diode,” which tells you a lot. You might remember from science classes what a diode is – diodes conduct current only in one direction. This diode has a much higher forward voltage than the diodes that are used in other electronics. This is possible because they aren’t made from silicon, but from other (semi)conductors. The phrase “light emitting” means that the diode emits light (like every other diode). Simply said, every diode emits light, but LEDs are optimized to emit as much light as possible (which is the main reason for higher voltage). So, now that we know some basics about LED lights, we can focus on their benefits.
Picture 1: The appearance of an LED bulb
Benefit number one: Efficiency
Efficiency is the most obvious benefit of LED lights. Twenty percent of all electricity is used for lighting, and inventors are doing their best to minimize the power that lights consume. A 60W-equivalent LED light only consumes about 2W of energy (60W-equivalent means that it gives off the same amount of light as an incandescent light that uses 60W). LEDs also last much longer than incandescent lights. A normal incandescent light lasts for about 1000 hours, whereas normal LED lights can easily last for more than 50,000 hours. The question is, is an LED light 50 times more expensive than an incandescent bulb? The answer is yes, it is ($1 for an incandescent bulb vs. $50-$60 for LED bulbs), but let’s not forget the fact that you will save electricity when you use LEDs. This means that you will break even when it comes to the lifetime of the bulbs, but you will profit in terms of electricity consumption. You will also save time because you won’t have to change the bulbs very often (50,000 hours means more than 27 years if the light burns 5 hours every day – can you imagine changing a light bulb only three times in your entire life?).
Benefit number two: No danger of burns
When switched on, incandescent lights get very hot and if you touch them, you will probably get burned. LED lights are much cooler and there is no danger of being burned. This means that you will be able to use LEDs safely near children (it’s hard to tell them that they shouldn’t touch that attractive light bulb), not to mention the fact that the bulbs won’t heat up the space they are lighting (this is especially noticeable in smaller rooms).
Benefit number three: Color spectrum
Incandescent lights are doing their best to emulate natural light, but they aren’t very good at it – usually their color is too yellow. LED lights do this much better – they are whiter, and their color temperature is much closer to the natural one. Another good thing about LED lights is that they aren’t all white – you can buy LED lights in red, blue, yellow, or any other color. This is very useful if you want to use colored lighting to set the mood in your home (for example, when you are organizing a party or a romantic dinner).
Benefit number four: Environmentally friendly
LEDs are environmentally friendly because of their low electricity consumption. In comparison with fluorescent bulbs, they have another advantage – they contain no mercury. Mercury is only dangerous if the bulb breaks, which rarely happens with fluorescent lights. But if it does, a simple thing like slicing your finger will need medical attention. The presence of mercury is also problematic when the bulb stops working – the bulbs needs to be disposed of properly in order to prevent mercury pollution.
As you can see, there is great potential in LED lights – they consume little electricity, they are safe to use, they don’t contain mercury (no disposal problems), and their light temperature is very close to the natural one. Their only disadvantage is their high price, but we can expect that prices will fall when LED lights become more popular. If you are searching for the best type of lights for your new home, LED lights are definitely an investment worth considering. You can read more about LED lights in other articles.