Light Emitting Diodes (LED’s) allowed us to upgrade from massive computer monitors the size of a microwave oven to slim, light models two inches deep, and are now becoming the go-to technology to replace incandescent and fluorescent lighting. Almost daily, manufacturers discover new innovations making LED’s even more efficient and versatile.
Let’s examine what sets this new technology apart from the previous generations of lighting products:
- Fragile light bulbs and fluorescent tubes hardly come to mind when you hear the word “durable.” LED products are durable in more than one sense. First, they’re very difficult to break and even if they do break, don’t shatter like a filament bulb or fluorescent tube. Second, they’re far more durable than old-style lighting in terms of service life. Many LED’s carry a warranty of at least five years and/or are rated to last 50,000 hours or more. When is the last time you bought an item with a warranty longer than one or two years?
- This longer life can lead to a greater return on investment in labor costs alone. Conservatively, it can cost $2 in labor to replace a bulb. If the bulb in question is an incandescent bulb—which will last 1,500 hours at most—you’ll change it at least 33 times during the 50,000 hours an LED would last. Using the LED would save you at least $66 per bulb before you factor in the cost of the 33 replacement bulbs or the energy used.
- LED’s tend to use less energy to produce the desired amount of light because they’re not spending energy to heat a filament or charge the gas inside a bulb. In some cases, this can be quite a savings; LED’s use 81% less energy than halogen bulbs, for example. Plus, you may save energy in other areas. Many older light fixtures produce significant amounts of heat, which can leave your cooling systems working harder and using more power. LED’s remain cool to the touch.
- New mandates may make it impossible to use incandescents. In 2007, Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act, or EISA. Under EISA, manufacturers are subject to new energy efficiency standards for appliances and lighting products. In the case of lighting, they’re required to produce bulbs using about 25% less energy than before. This is leading to a phase-out of incandescent bulbs, with 75 watt bulbs coming off the market this year and 60 and 40 watt bulbs being phased out in 2014. This leaves users with a choice of either Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL’s) or LED’s. If you have a large number of incandescent fixtures, it makes sense to change over now.
- Innovative manufacturers are making LED’s more versatile than ever before, and using them for applications no one would have expected just a few years ago. In the past, converting to LED’s often meant replacing whole lighting fixtures. Today, LED replacement bulbs are available for everything from table lamps to ceiling and wall fixtures to exterior lighting. This includes tubular bulbs designed to fit in standard fluorescent fixtures. LED bulbs and fixtures which change color can increase efficiency while providing the same dramatic effects in stage lighting and other applications that incandescent once did.
The revolutionary changes in lighting technology make this the perfect time to assess your lighting needs and costs and make the changes that will improve your bottom line