Let there be LED light...


Opting for LED lights in place of traditional bulbs can save energy. Also, LEDs have a long operational life, writes  Natasha Menezes

Light emitting diode or LED makes use of solid state lighting such as semiconductor LED (LED), organic LED (OLED), or polymer LED (PLED) to illuminate the surroundings as compared to electrical filaments, plasma (used in arc lamps such as fluorescent lamps) or gas used in conventional lighting. There are several advantages of using LED lighting in place of traditional lighting and other energy savers available in the markets today. LED is digital whereas other conventional lighting is analog. 

Long life

The main advantage of an LED is its long operational life. When compared to an incandescent bulb, compact fluorescent bulb and linear fluorescent bulb, the life of an LED ranges from 35,000 to 100,000 hours vis a vis 750 to 2,000 hours for an incandescent bulb, 8,000 to 10,000 hours for a compact fluorescent bulb and 20,000 to 30,000 hours for a linear fluorescent bulb. This means 22 years on a 50 per cent usage or 11 years on a 100 per cent usage of a single LED.

In simple terms, if you use an LED light for eight hours every day, you will need to replace it only after 20 years. The lifespan of an LED is rated differently when compared to traditional or conventional lighting. Conventional lights stop functioning when its electrical filament breaks. On the other hand, LEDs will only fade in brightness over a period of time and when the light falls to 70 percent of its initial brightness, the LED is said to have completed its life span and can be replaced. Long life spans also mean less maintenance work and cost.

LEDs are smaller in size measuring about three to eight millimeters in length. They can be used singularly or as part of an array. Due to their compact size, they can be used in places that are too small to accommodate traditional lighting.

Saves power

LEDs have an energy efficiency of around 80 to 90 per cent as compared to 20 percent energy efficiency of traditional lights.  This means that there is only 20 per cent wastage of light in LEDs versus 80 per cent wastage for traditional lights; majority of the light from LEDs gets converted into light and remaining 20 per cent is lost to heat. This means a lower electricity bill. For example, if you use traditional lighting and have an electricity bill of Rs 1,000, then Rs 800 was spent on heating the room and Rs 200 on lighting the room.
On the other hand, if you use LED lighting, then your electricity bill would be Rs 200 and you would have saved Rs 800 from wastage.

LEDs give off light in a specific direction, hence there will be less wastage and more efficiency in application.

They can be used to emphasise a particular area or bring into focus a specific design. They do not contain toxic chemicals like mercury that are used in traditional fluorescent bulbs. LEDs are free of toxins and are 100 per cent renewable, which means that they help reduce carbon footprint by one-third.

Due to its long life span, one LED bulb can save the production of 25 incandescent bulbs, thus paving the way for a greener future. They are made with sturdy components that are durable and hence can withstand rough weather conditions. They are also shock resistant and resistant to vibrations and external conditions like wind, rain, traffic exposure and construction. They produce nearly zero UV emissions and little infrared light. Due to this, LEDs are suitable for places and materials that are heat sensitive and UV sensitive like art galleries and museums.

Also they have flexible designs and can be moulded into a number of shapes and designs to provide effective and efficient lighting. LEDs can be controlled individually thus resulting in an efficient control over illumination, colour and distribution.

LEDs always remain cool and can function in both cold and hot weather conditions whereas operations of a fluorescent bulb may get affected in very cold temperatures.
They also require a very low voltage power supply to illuminate, thus making it extremely viable in the outdoors as well as rural areas. They can brighten up almost immediately when powered as compared to traditional lighting. Also, frequent switching of power from on to off does not affect its light emission or lifetime as compared to traditional lighting where life expectancy reduces considerably by constant switching of power.

- Energy star qualified LEDs give the best output over a projected lifespan.
- The LED bulb must be as bright as a conventional light bulb.
- It must have efficiency equivalent to a fluorescent light.
- It should light up instantly when turned on.

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