3 Benefits of LED Lighting
LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting has come a long way since the first LED was created in 1962. The first color, red, was quickly joined by yellow and green LEDs. They were widely used for indicators, calculator displays, and traffic signals, but they were unsuitable for lighting until the first blue LED was made in the 1990s. A white LED was first made by coating a blue LED with a phosphor that produced white light, which was quickly followed by producing white light by combining red, green and blue LEDs into a single light.
Since then, LED lighting technology has improved rapidly, and now LEDs are the most energy-efficient lighting available. The purchase price was daunting, but now LED bulbs cost 85% less than they did in 2008. With performance up and price down, the other advantages of LED lighting are sometimes overlooked.
Incandescent and florescent lights produce heat in operation, but LED lights remain cool, so there is no risk of burns from contact.
Compact florescent lights contain mercury, so broken bulbs are more hazardous than broken incandescent bulbs, but not to degrees that some people fear. Yet both are relatively fragile, and broken glass presents a hazard. LED lighting is solid-state and remarkably rugged, extremely unlikely to break in even rugged use.
As the Indiana University of Pennsylvania points out, LED lights emit almost no UV wavelengths, so they’re ideal to use where materials are sensitive to ultraviolet light, such as archeological sites and art museums.
Longevity Means Ecologically Sound
According to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, LED lights are expected to last for 50,000 hours of operation, at a minimum. For a bulb operating for 8 hours per day, it would be about 20 years before it would need to be replaced.
This is not just another cost reduction factor, but an ecological one as well. Every LED bulb that we use is about 5 CFL bulbs or 50 incandescent bulbs that we don’t manufacture or eventually dispose of. When we factor in the fact that LEDs are made of recyclable materials and present no toxicity if disposed of, they are a clear leader in ecological friendliness.
Intrinsic Directional Control
LEDs emit light directionally, which makes it easy to design a bulb that illuminates in one direction, without the need for reflectors. Using LEDs for street lights or parking lot illumination could markedly reduce the amount of light pollution in urban areas.
Light on what we want to illuminate without spilling light into the sky or on objects that we don’t need lit at night would be beneficial to wildlife that is now affected by light pollution as well as stargazers.