LED Lighting: How does LED Lighting work?

What is Led Lighting?

LED stands for light-emitting diode. LED lighting products produce light up to 90% more efficiently than incandescent light bulbs. An electrical current passes through a microchip, which illuminates the tiny light sources we call LEDs and the result is visible light.

The light-emitting diode (LED) is one of the most energy-efficient and fastest developing lighting technologies today. High-quality LED light bulbs last longer, have a longer service life, and offer comparable or better light quality than other types of lighting.

Energy Savings by Changing Your LED Lighting

LED is an extremely energy-efficient lighting technology and has the potential to fundamentally change the future of lighting in the United States. Residential LEDs, especially ENERGY STAR-rated products, use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lamps.

The widespread use of LED lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in the US. By 2027, the widespread use of LEDs could save around 348 TWh of electricity (compared to no use of LEDs). This corresponds to the annual electrical output of 44 large power plants (1000 megawatts each) and a total saving of more than 30 billion US dollars at today’s electricity prices.

How Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs Compare with Traditional Incandescents

According to Energy.gov, you can save $ 75 each year by replacing the five most commonly used lights or lightbulbs in your home with models that have earned an ENERGY STAR.

Energy-efficient light bulbs such as halogen lamps, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have the following advantages over conventional incandescent lamps:

  • Typically use around 25% to 80% less energy than traditional incandescent lamps, which saves you money
  • Can take 3-25 times longer.

Today’s energy-efficient lamps come in a variety of colors and levels of light that you would expect. While the starting price for energy-efficient lightbulbs is usually higher than traditional incandescent bulbs, newer lightbulbs cost less to run, saving you money over the life of the lightbulb. Many of the newer lamps last significantly longer than traditional lamps so you don’t have to replace them as often.

According to Energy.gov, the following table compares a conventional 60-watt incandescent lamp with energy-efficient light bulbs that provide similar lighting conditions.

led lighting

How LEDs are Different

LED lighting is very different from other light sources such as incandescent lamps and CFLs. The main differences include:

  • Light Source: LEDs are the size of a pepper spot, and a mix of red, green, and blue LEDs are usually used to create white light.
  • Direction: LEDs emit light in a specific direction, reducing the need for reflectors and diffusers that can capture light. This feature makes LEDs more efficient for many applications, e.g. for recessed lights and work lighting. With other types of lighting, the light must be reflected in the desired direction and more than half of the light must never leave the luminaire.
  • Heat: LEDs give off very little heat. In comparison, incandescent bulbs give off 90% of their energy as heat, and CFLs about 80% of their energy as heat.

LED Products

LED lighting is currently available in a wide variety of household and industrial products, and the list is growing every year. The rapid development of LED technology leads to more products and improved manufacturing efficiency, which also leads to lower prices. Below are some of the most common types of LED products.

Industrial and Commercial Lighting

The high efficiency and directivity of LEDs make them ideal for many industrial applications. LEDs are increasingly being used in street lights, parking garage lighting, sidewalk, and other outdoor lighting, cold room lighting, modular lighting, and work lighting.

Kitchen Under-Cabinet Lighting

Because LEDs are small and directional, they are ideal for lighting countertops for cooking and reading recipes. The color may appear cooler or bluer than is usually desirable in a kitchen, and there may be excessive shadowing on some faucets. It is therefore important to compare products in order to find the best luminaire for your space.

Recessed Downlights

Recessed downlights are widely used in eat-in kitchens, hallways, and bathrooms, as well as in a number of office and commercial environments. DOE estimates that US households have at least 500 million recessed downlights installed and more than 20 million are sold each year. Both CFL and LED technology can reduce the output of the downlight by 75% or more.

LED Replacement Bulbs

With performance improvements and falling prices, LED lamps can replace incandescent lamps with 40, 60, and even 75 watts. It is important to read the lighting data label to ensure that the product is the correct brightness and color for its intended location. With careful selection, LED replacement products can be an excellent option.

LED Holiday Lights

LEDs use far less electricity than incandescent lamps, and decorative LED fairy lights like Christmas tree lights are no different. LED Christmas lights not only consume less electricity but also have the following advantages:

  • Safer: LEDs are much cooler than incandescent lights, reducing the risk of combustion or burnt fingers.
  • Sturdier: LEDs are made with epoxy lenses, not glass, and are much more resistant to breakage.
  • Longer lasting: The same LED string could still be in use 40 holiday seasons from now.
  • Easier to install: Up to 25 strings of LEDs can be connected end-to-end without overloading a wall socket.

Estimated cost of electricity to light a six-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days

The estimated cost of electricity to light a six-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days

Incandescent C-9 lights $10.00
LED C-9 lights $0.27
Incandescent Mini-lights$2.74
LED Mini-lights$0.82

Estimated cost* of buying and operating lights for 10 holiday seasons

Type of LightCost
Incandescent C-9 lights$122.19
LED C-9 lights$17.99
Incandescent Mini-lights$55.62
LED Mini-lights$33.29

Assume 50 C-9 lamps and 200 mini-lamps per tree with electricity of $ 0.119 per kilowatt hour (kWh) (AEO 2012 Residential Average). The prices for lights are based on the prices quoted for purchases from large hardware stores. All costs have been discounted at an annual rate of 5.6%. A service life of three seasons (1,500 hours) is assumed for non-LED luminaires.

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