The Greenest Light: LEDs Light the Way to a Brighter Tomorrow
It's not always easy being green. We clean and sort recyclables. We bring our own bags to the store. We buy cars that are better on gas, and we drive less. There are so many little things to do, and while they do all add up, sometimes it just gets overwhelming. How about a solution that takes less work than the eco-offender it replaces?
Replacing a 75-watt incandescent bulb with an 18-watt LED light bulb accomplishes quite a bit without sacrificing brightness:
- Over the 100,000 hour lifetime of the bulb, you'll save 570 kilowatts of energy
- More than one thousand pounds of carbon dioxide will be kept out of the atmosphere
- None of the nuclear waste and sulfur oxide incandescents waste will end up in a landfill
With a current 21 percent of all energy (coal, gas, nuclear, and oil) going into lighting, just imagine what would happen if every light in the country was replaced with LED light bulbs, which consume 10 to 20 percent of the power that incandescents gobble up.
What About Compact Flourescents?
Even the new compact fluorescent craze isn't as friendly as we'd hoped. Every single one of these supposedly eco-friendly bulbs contains mercury, which is a neurotoxin. Imagine that you replaced it with an LED light bulb. There's no mercury. They last twice as long as compact flourescents. They're more durable because of their solid-state construction. They light and achieve full brightness in microseconds, and they do all of that without even a faint hum.
The Right Direction
LEDs have the unique quality of being directional, which means no wasted light. This wasted light is often referred to as light pollution. This may seem a bit dramatic, but the light produced by a city blocks out the star a bit too much like a cloud of smog. The directional nature of LED light bulbs also eliminates the need for mirrors and lenses to focus the light, which means even less waste and energy used.
A Bright Idea
Since their creation in the 1960s, the brightness and energy efficiency of LEDs has doubled roughly every 36 months. This means that LED light bulbs will continue to outclass other lighting options on every front.
When it comes time to replace a light in your home, remember that an LED light bulb saves you money ($45 over its lifetime at eight cents per kilowatt) and that it's friendlier to the environment than any other light bulb. It'll last twice as long as those glass mercury-capsules, too, which means less time spent buying and replacing bulbs. From track lights at home to tube lights at work, you can find an LED light bulb that will fit the spot you need. LED light bulbs are simply the greenest light; go pick one up.
Country Time Gazette, Environmental Benefits of LED Lighting, by Ben Anton
Diogen Lighting, Why L.E.D.
Nanophotonics, The Life and Times of the LED--a 100-year History