As the costs of energy continue to rise, industries have been actively searching for energy efficient alternatives and sustainable solutions. Over the years, consumers have selected more fuel-efficient automobiles, purchased energy-efficient appliances and constructed homes and buildings using the latest building materials and designs to reduce their energy consumption. Lighting represents a major cost to any business or household and it is perhaps the single most important artificial commodity that is utilized today.
Most lighting used in the commercial sector today is outdated technology and extremely wasteful. It is estimated that there are over 2.3 billion inefficient lighting systems made of incandescent bulbs, fluorescent tubes and high intensity discharge in commercial facilities today. Ranked by technology, fluorescent tube lighting is the overall highest electricity consumer at 42%, followed by high intensity discharge (HID) at 26%, and incandescent lighting at 22%. LED lighting solutions are fast becoming one of the top sustainability measure taken by businesses and organizations both in the private sector and the public sector in order to save costs and lower their carbon footprint.
Light Emitting Diodes are part of a family of lighting technology called “Solid State Lighting.” They are semiconductor devices that produce visible light when an electrical current passes through them in a process called “electroluminescence.” This process involves moving electrons across a special gap within their internal structure, which gives off photons when electrons enter the gap. These photons are the light we see and their different colors are based on the materials used to make the LED and the energy band gap. A smaller band gap that requires low energy for electrons to cross emits a red light, where as a larger band gap that requires higher energy emits a blue to violet color.
LED lights are “directional” light sources, meaning they emit light in a specific direction, unlike incandescent and compact fluorescent lights, which emit light and heat in all directions. In addition, LED bulbs use an array of various LEDs along with reflectors specially designed to replicate the patterns and brilliance of standard lights in various shapes and sizes. This not only produces far less heat, but also generates equivalent amounts of light for roughly 80% less energy than traditional incandescent lamps. Moreover, due to the makeup of LED light bulbs, which lack a filament or a glass bulb, they are more durable and longer lasting than incandescent bulbs.
Factors that make LEDs stand out against various types of lights:
- Low energy consumption. LEDs consume 50% - 80% less power for the same lighting intensity as traditional light bulbs, making them the lowest energy consuming lighting products in the market.
- Generate less heat. Most electrical power supplied to traditional light bulbs, specifically incandescent light bulbs, is transformed into heat emitted by the bulb. This contributes to heat build up within the immediate environment. LEDs on the other hand produce virtually little to no heat, thus reducing cooling requirements.
- Environmentally friendly. LEDs contain no mercury, hazardous chemicals or materials in its makeup, producing a cleaner alternative to florescent and CFL lights. RoHS compliant.
- Instant-on. Unlike gas discharge bulbs that require an ignition period before reaching full lighting capacity, LED lights produce full light instantly.
- Power instability. LEDs are less affected by power instability such as current and voltage irregularities. Although extreme variations affect their light output, they don’t however cause LEDs to break down or malfunction.
- Longer life span. Due to the make up of LEDs, they do not shatter or break making them much more durable than conventional lights. In most cases LEDs will last 15 - 20 times longer than traditional lighting products.
- Enhanced visibility. LEDs emit white light (warm and pure light) without glare resulting in better illumination and higher visibility to the human eye. In comparison, sodium bulbs produce dim orange light with high glare that reflects off objects in different colors reducing visibility.