LEDs, or light emitting diodes, are a technology that breathed new life into modern lighting systems.
For years, it has been applied in an increasing number of areas of both industrial and consumer lighting, replacing traditional light bulbs and fluorescent lamps.
Probably many times you have met with advertising slogans, praising the LED technology for its low energy consumption. Is the difference compared to traditional bulbs really so noticeable? The answer is definitely yes!
For consumed electricity, we are usually billed in kilowatt-hours, that is the electric power of a given device (expressed in kilowatts) multiplied by the time of its operation. Traditional bulbs in their days of greatness were able to have up to 150 watts and more. In order to compare, however, it is worth relying on the most popular (before the introduction of EU regulations) bulbs – that is, those with an average power of 60 W.
On average, each bulb in our home is on about 5 hours a day. Considering that we have at least 20 such bulbs in our home (including bedside lamps, desk lamps and other lighting elements), it gives us energy consumption of over 2,000,000 Wh per year.
With a price of 1 kWh oscillating around 15p, we get £300 spent annually on just the light! This is where the bulbs and LED lamps are used – due to the technology used, their power is created at a much lower level than traditional incandescent bulbs. The equivalent of a 60 W incandescent bulb is at the moment the one with a power of 6 W. It is easy to count that our account decreases ten times and amounts to only £30.
Even greater savings and differences in costs will be felt by those who have a lot more points of light at home and live with a large family. Not only that – these differences can be further increased by adjusting the power of light more closely to our needs – not every lamp is to serve as the main source of light in the room – sometimes we only want to use accent lighting. In this case we can use lamps, tapes and bulbs with much lower power – even below 1 W! Devices such as dimmers, motion detectors and more advanced systems of automatic lighting control can also help us reduce the energy consumption.
Shaping space with light
Ever wonder how are the places where you can not put a traditional light bulb lit? Thanks to the small size of an LED diode (its diameter is only a few mm), as well as various forms of lighting systems, they can be ‘squished’ almost everywhere.
The basic forms of LED lighting, except for bulbs with a thread, are:
- LED strips – longitudinal, flexible strips on which LEDs are placed at equal intervals,
- LED lamps – they can take various shapes – from those resembling traditional chandeliers, through sophisticated desk lamps, wall lamps and ceiling lamps, to complex systems in which only the architect’s imagination is a limitation of their form,
- ‘halogen’ bulbs – small incandescent bulbs that resemble traditional halogen in the form, but are equipped with LED diodes.
Where can you apply them?
Tapes are ideal for places where we care about equal lighting, as well as hiding the source of light. We can use them, for example, in the kitchen, illuminating the worktop from below wall cabinets. A great place to put LED strips are also suspended ceilings – thanks to this solution, we can create interesting lighting sceneries in our living room.
Another place where the shape of the tapes works in our favor are stairs – just place the tapes under the protruding elements of the steps to get an impressive effect.
LED lamps can be used wherever we care not to hide, but even to expose and underline the original shape and form of the light source – designer chandeliers, floor lamps, lighting panels, bedside and desk lamps – there are many different configurations on the market that can be customized to your taste. A separate category are also industrial lamps – among them we can distinguish wall and ceiling plafonds with light sensors, emergency lighting systems, workshop lighting, and even street lamps.
LED bulbs – both with thread and with pins, can be put in place of traditional ones where we already have frames fixed in place. They work well in chandeliers, sconces, recessed stair and ceiling fixtures, as well as in external frames illuminating our house at night.
Speaking of LED lighting technology, it is impossible to ignore the issue of security. The bulbs we have known so-far have been characterized by the fact that a huge part of the energy feeding them was wasted on excessive heating of the device, which was associated with unnecessary risk. LED diodes use most of the energy to obtain the lighting effect, so their operating temperatures are much lower than the traditional bulbs.
In addition to their production, no harmful substances such as mercury (present in, among others, fluorescent bulbs and energy saving bulbs, whose contamination was associated with a high risk of poisoning by the user), as well as other compounds and elements such as argon, neon or halogens are used.
LED diodes in comparison to traditional incandescent lamps have a much longer life. What exactly is the advantage? Depending on the source of information and type of bulbs, this relationship changes, but in the vast majority of cases these are really huge differences. For example, the typical lifespan of an energy-saving bulb is from 1 to 3 years, while for LEDs it can be up to 10 years and more, and these are not even extreme examples!
In addition, LED bulbs are much more resistant to frequent on and off switching, which significantly reduces the useful life of the traditional ones. They are also not influenced by shocks, impacts and vibrations that could very quickly damage other light bulbs – this is possible due to the elimination or limitation of the use of sensitive glass elements in their construction. We also do not find any filaments in them, but only good quality plastics, metals and rigid and durable electronic systems.
The quality of light
Thanks to LED technology, we can get practically every possible color and temperature of light. There are LEDs in blue, green and red on the market, various combinations of them, as well as a plethora of white color temperatures (from warm, yellow-orange, through neutral, to cold, turquoise).
Many bulbs, lamps and strips also allow you to change the color and temperature of light by remote control and adapt it to your individual needs. It is also possible to dimm them and smoothly switch them on and off, which gives us unlimited possibilities in obtaining the desired effect.
Sensitive questions about LED technology
Q: The prices of LED bulbs and lamps are much higher than traditional ones. Is saving on energy consumption really worth spending so much money on?
A: When calculating profitability, you can not count only the purchase price of a single light bulb. Saving on electricity is much bigger than it, and when you add to it, that you do not have to buy a new light bulb every now and then, you get a result that unquestionably tilts towards the LEDs.
Q: It is often said that LEDs are not temperature-resistant. Is it true?
A: The short answer would be ‘Yes’. However, there must always be some ‘BUT’. This is also the case here: The problem of resistance to high temperatures applies only to places where they are really very high (such as are not found in any home or public place), or occur very violent jumps. However, even in these places special LED systems adapted to work in difficult conditions can be used . At home, the use of appropriate frames for light bulbs and aluminum profiles for strips will help – they protect them not only against the temperature, but also against moisture and dust, significantly extending the life of the diodes.
As an example of their durability, let us use the fact that our LED strips have been successfully used, among others in saunas or car chassis.
Q: Are LEDs more sensitive to overvoltages and changes in power parameters than traditional incandescent bulbs?
A: Yes, but it is worth paying attention to the fact that there is always a converter or controller between the power source and the diode. It is responsible for giving the right voltage to the diode and the resistance to overdriving of the whole system depends solely on it. For example – our SunLED lamps, despite their low power, can easily operate under a very wide voltage range – from 100 to 300 Volts!
Q: Can LEDs reproduce color as faithfully as traditional light sources?
A: The lower color rendering index (CRI) for LEDs is frequently mentioned. LED technology, however, has come a long way in recent years, which resulted in the creation of diodes with much better parameters. They are used even in advanced devices – the most expensive televisions and screens (OLED screens) or special lamps used in the preparation of professional printouts.
I hope that thanks to this information, switching to LED technology will allow you to save a lot of expenses and help save the environment with us!