LEDs in Action

The hallway that leads to the bedrooms in Susan’s house is lined with pictures she has taken on her treks around the world. While I was looking at a beautiful photo of Crater Lake I noticed it was a little dim, so I looked up to the light. It was apparent that the lights in the lamp fixtures were no ordinary incandescent bulbs. Nor were they the compact fluorescent bulbs that I have seen in most fixtures I have looked into. Even the ferry we took to Long Island had light-emitting diode (LED) lights, the future of lighting.

CFLs come in all shapes, sizes, and colors

CFLs come in all shapes, sizes, and colors

A compact fluorescent light (CFL) uses 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and will last ten times longer making for an easy, efficient, low cost solution to reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released in to the atmosphere at your expense. LEDs have the ability to use half the energy of a CFL and last four times longer, roughly 30,000 hours.
All lighting options will have their drawbacks. 90% of the electricity you pay to light an incandescent bulb ends up as heat, the other 10% as light. Their low cost makes them attractive, but they’re horribly inefficient when contrasted with the CFL, which does contain a tiny bit of mercury. When I say tiny bit, I mean only about 5 milligrams, so if one happens to break in your home there is no reason to have a baby about it. If you do happen to have a baby around the broken CFL, I would remove him or her from the room for a little while, but no reason to freak, for reasons explained here. CFLs should also be disposed of properly, and this link will help you find a place by you to do that. As I saw with Susan’s LEDs,

Susan's LEDs

Susan's LEDs

they were dimmer than CFLs. Their light is also directional, which makes them tough for indoor lighting where you need a space illuminated and not just one spot. The cost per bulb for an LED is steep, even though you would end up spending more on incandescent lighting over the life of the LED. Susan bought her LED bulbs because of their efficiency and lack of mercury. A pioneer in the home lighting world, Susan is a little cooler, both figuratively and literally for using them. She is also a little ahead of the game, for in the near future we will all be as cool as Susan with LEDs lighting our hallways.
For a great in-depth and unbiased comparison between the three types of bulbs, including comparisons of savings, check this out!


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August 2009
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