What is LED Lighting?
Light Emitting Diodes (LED) are able to emit nearly all spectrum of light, cleanly and efficiently. This has led to their nearly universal adoption as a light source for a wide range of applications from: status indicator lights, to traffic signals, to today's advanced LED bulbs used as primary light sources. The latest in LED technology allows this type of lighting to be used for general area lighting such as hallways, closets, table lamps. Track lighting, halogen replacements and florescent tube replacements bring LED lighting into the home and work place.
LED lighting is a type of solid state lighting (SSL). The term "solid state" refers to the fact that light in an LED is emitted from a solid object a block of semiconductor rather than from a vacuum or gas tube, as is the case in traditional incandescent light bulbs and fluorescent lamps. Compared to incandescent lighting, however, SSL creates visible light with reduced heat generation or parasitic energy dissipation, similar to that of fluorescent lighting. In addition, its solid-state nature provides for greater resistance to shock, vibration, and wear, thereby increasing its lifespan significantly.
Benefits of LEDs
- Extremely low power consumption
- Very efficacious-convert energy to light, not heat
- Extremely long life span (50,000-100,000 hours)
- Durable, insensitive to vibration
- Dimmable and programmable, in many cases
- Super-fast turn-on, unlike compact fluorescents
- Lightweight and compact
- Color, without the use of filters and lenses
- No reflectors are required to direct the light
- Very environmentally friendly no mercury or other toxics. Recyclable
According to the EPA's website, nationwide over 670 million mercury-containing (CFL type and others) bulbs are discarded each year. Most of these bulbs are still discarded with municipal solid waste that is ultimately landfilled or incinerated. These disposal methods can lead to a release of elemental mercury into the environment through breakage and leakage and ultimately contaminate the food chain. These bulbs should, therefore, be recycled after they burn out.
The amount of mercury contained in CFL's is small, typically less than 5mg or about 1/100 the amount found in a typical mercury fever thermometer. But with 670 million bulbs consumed in the US each year and growing, CFL's are clearly not a long term, global solution to reducing energy consumption.