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A guide for energy and money saving LED lighting

05/01/2016


(Resource biz led)

In the next few years, the shift to LED lighting will be huge. LED lights will capture 60% of the world’s demand for new lighting, and the shift will be motivated not only by a global response to climate change, but especially by the economic benefits of LED lights. High-brightness LEDs have emerged within the last few years, but only recently have they been seriously looked upon as a feasible option in general purpose lighting applications.

 

Furthermore, LED lighting standards will save you money to a higher degree. Common light bulbs now sold in the United States typically use about 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescents. Many bulbs meet these new standards, including halogen incandescents, CFLs, and LEDs. The new bulbs provide a wide range of choices in color and brightness, and many of them last much longer than traditional light bulbs. The lighting standards, which phased in from 2012-2014, do not ban incandescent or any specific bulb type; they say that bulbs need to use about 25% less energy. The bipartisan Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007) established these efficiency standards.

 

The new energy-saving light bulbs — halogen incandescents, CFLs, and LEDs — could save you about $50 per year when you replace 15 traditional incandescent bulbs in your home. The new efficiency standards require light bulbs to consume less electricity (watts) for the amount of light produced (lumens). For example, the traditional, inefficient incandescent 100 watt (W) bulbs gave way to choices — including halogen incandescent bulbs — that use only 72W or less to provide you a comparable amount of light (lumens). If you are replacing a 100W bulb, a good rule of thumb is to look for a bulb that gives you about 1600 lumens. Your new bulb should provide that level of brightness for no more than 72W, cutting your energy bill.


Why LEDs are different from other light bulbs?

To understand how LED bulbs are different from other light bulbs, it is essential to have an idea of how other light bulb technologies (incandescent bulbs and CFL bulbs) work.

LEDs

LEDs are more durable than either of the above mentioned technologies. They are unbreakable and are more energy-efficient. They do not contain any hazardous materials either. LEDs are also relatively cool and will not heat up the room like incandescents do. Though they cost much more than CFLs and incandescent, their long life span is a big advantage for the buyers. Traditional incandescent bulbs had to be bought regularly. LED bulbs can last as long as some lamps do. Therefore, the initial investment lasts a purchaser much longer than other bulbs.

Fluorescent lights and CFLs

Fluorescent lights are tubes filled with fluorine gas and have no filament. They pass electricity through the gas, which makes the glass glow. Fluorescent lights produce much less heat, so they use much less electricity than incandescent bulbs, and they last much longer. Their light is naturally bluish and they tend to flicker. Older designs also contain mercury, which is toxic. CFLs are designed to fit into light fixtures originally intended to take incandescent. Few also have filters to make their light appear yellower.

Incandescent bulbs

Incandescent bulbs are the traditional bulbs which were popularized by Thomas Edison. They produce light by forcing electricity through a tiny tungsten coil. The coil, or filament, resists the electricity, and the resistance creates both light and heat. After a certain time, the filament burns out. Since much of the energy these bulbs use is turned into heat rather than visible light, they are very inefficient. They use much more electricity than newer technologies.

Some people prefer the color of incandescent lights but in most ways LEDs outperform incandescent and even CFLs. To compare the efficiency of LED bulbs to other bulbs, we should follow the lumens to watts ratio. Lumens measure light intensity and watts measure electrical usage, so the higher the ratio, the more light any given bulb gives off for the same amount of electricity.


Different types of LED bulbs available in the market

Even when considering only bulbs designed for household lighting, there are different types of LEDs to choose. Since the bulb must fit in the lamp, make sure to select a shape, size, and base configuration that matches the bulb that is being replaced. One should also consider the light intensity and color.

Bulb shape

There are four basic shapes for LED bulbs: A – line bulbs, floodlights, spotlights, candle bulbs. Other shapes are also there but they are less common. One reason bulb shape matters is that unlike the other lighting technologies, LEDs are directional, like flashlights. If an LED must light up a wide area, it has to be designed specifically for this function. Floodlights and A-line bulbs have wide angles. Floodlights suit recessed lighting and outdoor lighting, while A-line bulbs are good as room lamps. Spotlights have a narrow beam while Candle bulbs are shaped like candle flames and are designed for chandeliers and wall sconces. Though their beam is directional, they do provide ambient light.

Base configuration

It implies the shape of the bulb where it attaches to the fixture. If there is any doubt about the base configuration, take an old bulb to the store and look for a match. If buying online, compare photographs and measurements. Most household light fixtures require bulbs with screw-in, or Edison bases. Some of the most common sizes for Edison based are: miniature candelabra, candelabra, intermediate, and medium.

Light intensity

It is measured in lumens. While replacing an incandescent or CFL bulb with an LED bulb, you should look for one that produces the same number of lumens that the old bulb did. Do not use watts as a measure of brightness; watts actually measure electricity usage, which varies between different bulb technologies.

It is more energy-efficient to replace an incandescent with an LED. However, if replacing all the bulbs in the house with LED bulbs is seems expensive, begin with the light fixtures that are used the most often.

Color

The older technology bulbs produce light in only one color; additional colors are created by tinting the shell of the bulb. LEDs do not need tints and filters. Depending on the design, an LED can create light in several different colors. Some can even produce more than one color. While some LED bulbs produce a slightly bluish white light, others produce a much warmer, soft white tone. For indoor use, warm white is the preferred choice, and cooler tones can look unflattering. LED bulbs in other colours, like red, green, and blue are also available.

When choosing a color, the two considerations are: color rendering, or how well the light shows the true color of objects, and temperature. The higher the temperature, the brighter the white. Bulb temperature is measured in Kelvins, and warm white LEDs are usually between 2,500 and 3,000 K. Bright white is 4,500 to 5,000 K. Color rendering is measured on a scale of 1 to 100. LEDs generally score as high as 85.