Wherever you go these days, you see businesses switching their lighting systems from old-fashioned incandescent or harsh fluorescent to bright and shiny new LEDs. The local supermarket, the office where you work, the train station, restaurant or department store—all of these businesses are seeing the benefits of this rapidly developing technology. The light produced by LED bulbs is brighter and warmer and more focused than ever before, and business owners love the savings to their energy bills. But what about consumers?
Lights are no longer just for lighting.
With the development of LED lamp technology, the lowly light bulb is doing more than turning on and off. A lamp can be the centerpiece of an environment meant to improve health, moods and even food.
LEDs can create light in multiple colors, generate less heat and use a fraction of the energy of older types of bulbs. And LEDs can be controlled remotely from a PC or smartphone app, as programmable as a television. Continue reading
It starts with an innocent string of incandescent holiday lights around a porch window, maybe a plastic caroler or two on the front lawn.
Then it escalates: Twinkling lights are in the shrubs, Santa’s on the roof, an inflatable Frosty the Snowman is on the lawn and next to him is one of those little white wire reindeer with a head that turns ever so slowly.
Nice work, holiday decorator. But do you have lights that can be controlled by tracing your finger over the face of a smartphone? Do you have 16 million colors available at the flick of a switch?
The town of Richmond Heights, Ohio, has a little more than 10,000 residents and a whole lot of financial problems. Luckily, Richmond Heights also has the solution to their troubles with LED lights. A solution that will save money they don’t have and increase public safety at the same time.
In 2012, the city’s bill for street and traffic lighting was over $118,000, and they were forced to come up with creative ways to save money. They tasked Police Chief Gene Rowe with the duty of personally turning off every other traffic light in town in an attempt to achieve some of the savings they needed. The chief systematically shut down the lights in a pattern of one on, one off throughout the small town. A total of 54 of the 122 traffic signals were turned off in this move to save money, which is a traffic nuisance and public safety danger to say the least. The total savings of the move amounted to a mere $26,000, leaving lots of fat to cut in the budget still.
The other day I found myself at a loss in the light bulb aisle of my hardware store. I might as well have been shopping for a carburetor. There were too many options with too many symbols and verbiage that I couldn’t decipher (LED, CFL, halogen, lumens, Kelvin, CRI), not to mention all of the various brands (GE, Philips, Cree, EcoSmart — each with its own packaging lingo). Since when do you need an electrical engineering degree to buy a light bulb?
After 134 years, the incandescent light bulb has finally outlived its usefulness. Incandescent bulbs are disappearing from store shelves in the US and many more will be gone within a few months. For those of us who forgot to hoard light bulbs, what are we to do the next time we are left in the dark? As we put to bed our old favorites, 60 and 40 watt bulbs, it is time to look to the future and make the best replacement choices for ourselves and the environment. That look to the future is filled with hints and mentions of LED lighting and the recent advances that have made it into a truly viable solution to our lighting dilemma.
The city of Batesville, Arkansas is a sleepy little town a little less than two hours from the thriving metropolis that is Little Rock. It is a warm and friendly place and a great place to raise kids. In fact, it has been voted one of the 100 Best Small Towns in America. It is also a town that is committed to the community and the environment. The county’s recycling program won the Arkansas community development award and Batesville was selected as the state’s Volunteer Community of the Year. Now the city has made another move towards being a better place to settle: one local shopping centre has replaced old parking lot lights with bright, shiny new LED lamps in a move that will save them over $42,000 a year in energy and maintenance costs, as well as greatly reduce the carbon footprint of both the centre and the town.
When the Eagle Mountain Shopping Centre decided to replace their existing metal halide parking lot lights with LED lamps, the initial estimate of $84,000 may have seemed a bit over the top, but by the time it was finished, that number was the farthest thing from the minds of the building owners as they smiled all the way to the bank. Continue reading
Early in the development of Light Emitting Diodes (LED), the rumor started that LEDs are bad for human eyes. Unfortunately, this misinformation continues to spread. Some people say that because some people claim to see a halo around a blue LED, this proves the theory. The reality is that there is no definitive proof that LEDs used properly routinely cause eye damage.
It is true that LED light intensity is not standardized. It is true that some irresponsible writers have wrongly compared LED lights to looking directly at the sun. It is true that the industry monitors itself. It is true that staring directly at an LED is not a great idea. But, most importantly, it is true that there is no scientific proof that LED lights cause eye damage. Continue reading
100 watt incandescent light bulbs are no longer being manufactured. From now until 2014, standard A-line 100 to 40 watt incandescent light bulbs must use 30% less energy but produce the same amount of light that incandescent bulbs use today. Continue reading