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Why chose LED lights? Top FAQ’s!

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Energy Efficient LED Bulb

As we know, people are creatures of habit and oftentimes, venturing into something new seems a bit intimidating when it comes to technology! Even though LED lighting is not technically a new concept, the LED technology has been taking off more in recent years and is currently experiencing its fastest growth in history!

LED lights have taken a slower growth path compared to traditional lights, as their price in the beginning of their creation, made them practically unfeasible. Nowadays, the prices of LED lighting are lower than ever and very affordable!

With an increasing number of LED lighting products being introduced to our market, here are some things to know for businesses and consumers to make the right buying decision!

How are LED lights different from traditional lights?

Incandescent and halogen lights create light by heating the filament which is inside the bulb, meaning 90% of the energy they use is wasted to generate heat. Waste of energy, right?

Even though Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs use only 30% of the energy they require on generating heat, an electric current is still being driven through a tube that contains argon and mercury vapor. Mercury is a very toxic material which requires special care when disposing and which can then pose a high safety hazard if the bulb breaks.

Therefore, LED lights provide the safest and most efficient lighting option! LEDs use only a very tiny fraction of energy in generating heat and they don’t even produce heat in the form of infra-red or UV radiation! Instead, most LED bulbs have a heat sink in the base which is where the heat is dissipated into and allows air to flow to the LED lights which in return, keeps them cool. Plus, they are primarily created from shatterproof materials so there is no concern of breakage and they are very safe!

How efficient are LED lights?

The best LED lights on the market greatly exceed the efficiency of CFL and HID light options by far! In most cases, LED lights can reduce energy consumption up to 90%. On average, LED lights are the most efficient light source today.

While a 60W incandescent bulb obviously uses 60 Watts, the CFL equivalent uses between 13 and 15 Watts, and therefore the LED equivalent uses only 6-8 Watts; what a difference! This difference is even more significant when we talk about the kW/Hour used on a yearly basis, which you will notice as you pay your electric bill too! An average Incandescent bulb uses 3,285 kW/Hour and the average CFL light uses 767 kW/Hour! Now for the LED on an average, it uses 329 kW/Hour!

How long do LED lights last?

LED lights are high quality and have an expected lifetime between 30,000 and 50,000 hours. As a comparison, the average incandescent lights last up to 1,000 hours, average CFL lights between 8,000 and 10,000, and the best-quality fluorescent lights can last up to 30,000 hours.

How much money can you save if you convert to LED?

If you’re planning to switch to LED lights, most likely you’re probably eager to learn about the cost benefits for this switch. While this can vary widely based on the LED products you choose to purchase and the application of these LEDs, below is a table comparing the average lifespan, use of electricity, cost of electricity, and the total operational cost of traditional bulbs compared to LED lights so you can get an idea!

Compared are high-quality LED lights, high-quality CFL lights, and the incandescent lights. The difference is obvious, just by switching from incandescent lights to LED in a home, you would save $278 per bulb over 23 years! If we take into consideration that the average home has approximately 40 light bulbs, this amounts to $11,120 USD in 23 years!

With CFL lights, the difference isn’t so dramatic, but savings would still amount to over $1,100 in 23 years. Plus, there is no risk of exposure to UV or mercury and LED lights do not require special disposal.

COST & EFFICIENCY Incandescent CFL LED
Comparaison 60 Watts 13-15 Watts 6-8 Watts
Kilowatts Used 3285 kW/Hour per year 767 kW/Hour per year 329 kW/Hour per year

 

Do LED lights generate the same light output?

The main unit to measure incandescent bulb light output is wattage. Thus, the more watts a bulb has, the brighter it would be. Now that is not the case with LED lights, as they generate the same, if not greater light output by consuming up to 10 times less energy!

Below is focused on lumens to measure brightness, while wattage is more suited to measuring energy usage. Since LED lights generate higher light output compared to an incandescent light, and they use fewer watts, this also means more lumens per watt.

Incandescent lights normally produce 10-12 lumens per watt, CFL lights normally produce 50-60 lumens per watt, and LED lights start at 70+ lumens per watt. Many commercial LED lights can generate even 120+ lumens/watt, or more!

Approximate Cost per Bulb $1.50 $4.00 $15 (or more)
Average Lifespan 1,200 hours 15,000 hours 45,000 hours
Watts used 60W (0.06kW) 14W (0.014kW) 7W (0.07kW)
# of bulbs needed for 45,000 hours of use 36 3 1
kW/H of electricity used over 45,000 hours 0.06kW * 45,000
= 2,700
0.014kW * 45,000
= 630
0.007kW * 45,000
= 315
Total cost of electricity use (45,000 hours at $0.12 per kWh) $270 $63 $315
Total Operation Cost over 23 Years $324 $75 $46.50

 

What is CRI?

Another important indicator of the quality of light is the Color-Rendering Index (CRI), which is a measurement of how a light source renders the color of objects, compared to an ideal or natural lighting source. CRI is measured on a scale between 0 and 100, with 100 representing natural daylight. Meaning that the higher CRI rating, a truer color rendering and appearance! Some LED lights even have CRI values of 90 or higher.

High-CRI LED lights are a smart choice for industrial and commercial lighting, or even office spaces since poor lighting often can lead to headaches and eyestrain. LED technology provides a crisp and bright light which comes close to the natural daylight, leading to a better mood and morale, especially on dark, winter days.

Are LED lights environment-friendly?

Yes, LED lights are, without doubt, the most efficient light source of today with a positive impact on the environment and LED lights emit less carbon dioxide! So, let’s assume there are 30 light bulbs in a workspace, and if those lights are LED, the average yearly emissions of CO2 will be 451 pounds. Meanwhile, the yearly emissions of CO2 from 30 CFL lights would be 1051 pounds, and from 30 incandescent lights - 4500 pounds. This means that by switching to LED, CO2 emissions can be decreased by a staggering 95%!

LUMENS Incandescent Wattage CFL Wattage LED Wattage
400 - 500 40W 8 - 12W 6 - 7W
650 - 850 60W 13 - 18W 7 - 10W
1000 - 1400 75W 18 - 22W 12 - 13W
1450 - 1700 100W 23 - 30W 14 - 20W
2700 + 150W 30 - 55W 25 - 28W

 

Where can LED lights be used?

LED lights are very versatile and can be used entirely in almost any application where incandescent or fluorescent lights were once used! It’s really simple to “retrofit” existing fixtures for LED lights in any application, since the wide variety that LED lights come in from durable, waterproof, outdoor area lights; to ambient under-cabinet kitchen lighting, replacing traditional lights with LED lights.

Are there any rebates or incentives if you use LED?

Of course! In the US, there is a variety of incentives being offered currently by energy utilities, along with local, state and federal governments. Consult the DSIRE website (Database of State Incentives for Renewals and Efficiency) for a comprehensive list of incentives available in your region.

Additionally, the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Deduction, simply known as Section 179D of The Energy Policy Act of 2005, allows tax deductions based on the energy efficiency of commercial buildings, making the highest possible deduction of $1.80 per square foot. This deduction involves new commercial and municipal buildings, retrofitted buildings, and LEED buildings.

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  • Mary S