Home Lighting: Going Green with LED
More and more home, apartment and office owners are looking for ways to go green. The benefits not only improve the quality of our environment, but they also make for significant tax deductions at the end of the year. As energy efficiency is becoming more prevalent in household lighting and home lighting design is becoming more popular, it is no surprise that LED lights are coming to the forefront as a leading choice for illumination. We are all familiar with the traditional incandescent light bulb. These bulbs are filled with a gas and then a filament is stretched across the inside. When electricity is run across the filament, it heats up to often very high temperatures.
The bulb’s glow is a result of the filament heating up. The heat is a result of wasted energy. Incandescent bulbs also suffer from inherent fragility. These lights weaken over time as the heat separates atoms from the whole and causes thin spots in the filament. Eventually these thin spots will break and you will need to replace the bulb.
An alternative light to the incandescent is the halogen bulb. In a halogen bulb the envelope that holds the filament is a lot smaller, made of quartz and is filled with a halogen gas. These bulbs can burn a bit brighter and will last for longer periods of time. It is halogen lighting that is currently used quite often by movie theaters, television studios and movie sets. These bulbs are still heat inefficient, however. The most common halogen light used for indoor and outdoor home lighting is the twelve volt MR16 halogen light. The LED, light-emitting diode, bulb is a culmination of the best of both the incandescent and halogen worlds but with the efficiency that neither can provide. In an LED bulb, the science on which it is based is completely different from the other two options. There is no filament and very little heat. The light source is a diode that emits light when electricity is applied.
This mechanism for creating light allows for much lower energy use, brighter light, and longer lasting bulbs. One of the most common LED home light bulbs available is the LED Lenser Leflector. These bulbs can replace any halogen bulb up to twenty watts. The leflector can burn continuously for more than 50,000 hours before needing to be replaced. That is more than five years of continuous use and over thirty years if the bulbs burn an average of four hours a day. LED home bulbs are over ninety percent more efficient than a halogen bulb and can be operated for pennies a year. These features make them perfect for moving your home – kitchen, living room, game room; you name it - to a more environmentally conscious dwelling. Outdoor applications for LED lights are many. They work well for outdoor accent lighting because of the many color options available and can be adjusted to be both spotlights and security flood lights. Updating light fixtures in a home or office is an excellent way to reduce household costs, save energy and at the same time improve upon your home lighting design.
~Ben Anton, 2008.