LEDs: The Future of Lighting
With the phasing out of the traditional halogen lamp there are a few alternative options on offer to us. Compact fluorescent bulbs are widely available and it's easy to believe that these bulbs will be the new go-to lighting solution for most applications but research by the Energy Saving Trust implies that it is LEDs not CFLs which will come to replace the halogen bulb in the future.
The potential of the LED
LEDs are eco-friendly, energy saving, long lasting and cost cutting. At the moment the most significant barrier to LEDs taking over in the home is that the initial cost of an LED bulb is higher than the initial cost of the CFL. But with prices falling its forecast that LED lighting has the potential to be the dominant technology in domestic and commercial lighting by 2015.
Currently domestic energy use account for more than 27% of the UK's total CO2 emissions. Lighting account for about 18% of a home's electricity bill, meaning that it makes up a significant amount of total energy use in the UK. For this reason it's really important we explore energy saving options for lighting and the LED has been shown to offer us unrivalled energy saving possibilities.
Social Housing LED Lighting Trial
A 2008 trial conducted by the Energy Saving Trust which installed LED lighting in communal areas in social housing which were lit 24-7 found that LEDs can improve lighting, reduce energy consumption and lower the cost of maintenance. The main findings to come out of the study were:
- Lighting levels increased by either 100% or 57% (depending on the conditions of the trial)
- LED lighting across the sites trialled will generate on-going savings in excess of 3,372,058kWh per year which is the equivalent of the energy needed to light 5,788 typical UK homes per annum.
- LEDs produced brighter, whiter light much closer to natural daylight which enhanced the ambience of most sites.
- Colour rendering improved at most sites.
- The lights sustained their performance. Over six months of use they maintained an average performance of 93.6%
- Return on investment in LED could be around 2 years.
Since the Energy Saving Trust gathered such good results for LEDs they now have the task of promoting LED lighting to consumers through their Energy Saving Trust Recommended programme. The Trust has also been in discussion with the UK government and OFGEM to try and encourage the inclusion of LED fittings in existing and future energy-saving initiatives. So if you want to get ahead of the game and lead the way to a cheaper, more sustainable lighting future for the UK then why not make the switch to LEDs sooner rather than later?
OSRAM, one of the light bulb brands LampShopOnline stock, completed their own trial into how much money an average family could save by replacing their traditional lights with LED lights. In their trial, they revealed that over a year, the household saved between £215.81 and £343.37 on their energy bill, depending on how many light bulbs they had. One of the participants said, 'We were amazed to find that they light up instantly, the quality of the light is excellent and the cost savings are significant. We will certainly stick with LEDs from now on.'
In early 2014 the Financial Times reported that the UK now uses nearly a third less electricity to light homes than in 1997 and that this was thought to be down to more homes installing LED bulbs. The report stated, 'The Energy Saving Trust says the UK could save as much as £1.4bn on electricity bills every year if households phased out their remaining filament bulbs. Those savings could be even greater if people switch to light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, which have long been used in car brake lights and the infrared beams of television remote controls but are now so powerful they can light a whole room.'
LED lights from Lamp Shop Online
LED lighting is the fastest selling form of lighting currently on the market due to the following benefits:
- 61 % energy saving compared to a 6ft 70w standard fluorescent tube
- 30,000 hour life span (10 years average)
- Direct retrofit for 2ft-6ft tubes, no lamp gear is required as tubes are wired straight to mains
- 2 Year guarantee with all LED lighting
- 100% use of lumen output (no wastage)
- All our LED lighting is CE marked and ROHS compliant
- Choice of colours 4000k (Cool white) or 6500k (Day light)
LED lighting is rapidly becoming the number one lighting solution, this has seen global companies such as McDonalds use LED lighting in all there stores due to the energy and cost saving implications.
For instance replacing a standard 70w fluorescent tube with a 30w LED Tube working 60 hours per week, 50 weeks per year at an average electricity cost of 0.19p kw/hr saves you a staggering £22.90 per year.
How do LEDs work?
A light emitting diode (LED) is a two lead semiconductor light source. It is a p-n junction diode, which emits light when activated. When suitable voltage is applied to the leads, electrons are able to recombine with electron holes within the device, releasing energy in the form of photons. This is called electroluminescence, and the colour of the light corresponding to the energy of the photon is determined by the energy band gap of the semiconductor.
What does it mean if an LED is buzzing?
An LED normally will only buzz slightly if they are dimmable. This is due to a restriction in current when adjusted on a dimmer switch if the system doesn't acknowledge a minimum load at lower settings. Non dimmable LEDs shouldn't make a buzzing noise at all. If they do, then there may be a problem with the quality of the lamp.
What does it mean if an LED is flickering?
Flickering will only occur if the LEDs are dimmable and not being compatible with the dimming switch. For example if the minimum load on the dimmer isn't met it will cause the bulb to sometimes give a flickering/strobe light effect. Most reputable manufacturers such as Philips and Osram make their dimmable lamps compatible with most types of dimmers. However there are so many new and old versions it is more than likely some people will experience problems. If the LEDs are non-dimmable then this shouldn't happen unless the quality of the bulb is poor.
What are the possible reasons for and solutions to interference with LEDs?
An LED does not produce an 'interference' with products such as radios, televisions etc. An LED is simply a diode that emits light when a DC current is run through it. The power source generating the voltage to run the diode is what can produce an interference.
If the circuit is poorly designed it can cause this problem. The best way to avoid this is sticking to reputable brands who design and manufacture their products properly.
Are LEDs bad for your eyes?
Any type of light can cause serious harm to your eyes if you look at it directly. We advise to never intentionally look directly at any light source.
We are surrounded by light all of the time, and this won't cause damage unless you are using a light source at an incredibly close distance for 12 hours or more.
What are the overall benefits of LED lights?
Benefits to LED lights include huge savings on energy bills, the choice of different colour temperatures to suit different environments and in most cases, you will never have to change your bulbs again.