The New kid on the block in lighting, LED, is rapidly gaining in popularity as its development is maturing.These days it appears that LED innovations are advancing at the same pace as computer technology. We hear about new products and developments on a daily basis. Exciting times!
Is easy to see why LEDs are so popular:
- LEDs Last forever
- They are Energy-efficient
- LEDs produce Less heat
- There is less UV damage
- LEDs are not affected by cold temperatures
- They are eco friendly
- There is no Warm-Up Time
- And they are made for creative, colorful, spectacular lighting displays
1. LED Lamps have a long life span
Right now the operational life of a white LED lamp (bulb) is up to 100,000 hours. That's 11 years of leaving the lights on 24/7! Compare this to the paltry 5000 hours for an incandescent lamp. Rejoice, you folks with cathedral ceilings!
It would be wonderful not to have to drag out a ladder for the next 30 years to change bulbs.
I am also elated that I no longer have to stand in a precarious spot and try to poke those little pins of the lamp into some miniscule holes in the socket while trying not to touch the delicate halogen lamp with my bare fingers.
Contrary to standard light sources, LEDs don't suddenly burn out and stop working, but fade slowly over the years. The typical lifetime you read on the box is the average number of hours it takes until the light is down to to 70% of the initial brightness. You might still get years of good use after that, and you will definitely never have to look for a replacement bulb in the dark again.
2. LED Lamps are energy-Efficient
Just like we compare cars based on how many miles they get per gallon, we can measure the efficiency of light bulbs (incandescent, fluorescent and LED) based on how many lumens we get per watt.
Lumens measure how much light you are getting from a bulb. More lumens mean it's a brighter light; fewer lumens means it's dimmer.
The more lumens per watt, the more light we get for our money.
LEDs can produce up to 64 lumens/watt. Compare this to the 10-18 lumens per watt produced by incandescent light bulbs and 15-20 lumens/watt we get from line voltage halogen lamps.
3. LED lamps generate less heat
Just like the good old Edison bulbs and halogen lamps LEDs convert part of their energy into light and part of it into heat. They are just more efficient in converting more of the energy into light. Well-designed LED circuits convert 80% of the energy to light. Compare that with incandescent lamps, where the numbers are reversed: only 20% of the energy is used to give off light, while 80% heat the house. Might be nice in the winter, but will definitely add to cooling cost in the summer. So, incandescent lamps might be wonderful to keep your baby chicks warm, but LEDs might be the choice for illumination.
The heat is emitted from the back of the LED lamp instead of the front. This is definitely a plus in many applications. With less heat where you could touch the lamp, LEDs are ideal for use in kids' rooms, nursing homes. They shine in the illumination of produce or other heat sensitive items, like wine.
The heat produced from the conversion of electricity into light must be drawn away from the LEDs to keep them from overheating and burning out. A heat sink is a passive device built into the lamp that absorbs the heat and distributes it into the surrounding environment. A design with good thermal management assures that the LED will have a long life span and will degrade at a slower rate.
4. Light up your artwork without concerns for heat and UV damage.
Since LEDs produce little infrared light and have close to no UV or IR radiation in their spectrum they are highly suitable for illuminating sensitive objects at close range.
At the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Osram just completed an extensive installation of 7000 LEDs individually designed to bring Michelangelo's frescos out of the shadows. The color spectrum was custom-adapted scientifically and with high precision to the exact color pigments of the paintings
I just can't wait to go! I remember the frescos from my last visit as magnificent, but not very easy to see clearly. They were very dimly lit as the windows that had provided Michelangelo the light to paint them were covered to protect them from fading.
As an aside, I can't stress enough, how important it is to choose THE best LED for your artwork. THIS is where it is worth every penny to spend a few extra bucks. Look for the highest CRI (number on the Color Rendering Index scale) as a guideline. Aim for the 90s.
The Mona Lisa is illuminated with several Toshiba LED lamps with a CRI of up to 98!
5. LEDs are cold tolerant
LEDs are ideal for operation under low temperatures. They work wonderfully as display lights with their crisp light and many precise color options. That’s the reason we now see so many well-lit freezers at grocery stores. Of course this also translates to outdoor lighting, where LEDs shine. Incandescent lamps have a thin envelope of glass that doesn't agree with being hit by hail or snow. Fluorescent lamps don't like cold temperatures. In contrast LEDs are much more rugged and as mentioned above don't mind the cold at all.
6. LEDs are Green
As mentioned above LEDs are an energy-efficient alternative to traditional incandescent lamps that waste 80 percent of the energy they consume on heat. Unlike CFLs they contain no mercury or other toxic substances and last, but not least, because of their much longer life span there is a lot less waste associated with LEDs. The long life of LEDs mean that there are a lot fewer lamps (bulbs) of any kind in the landfill.
7. LEDs are Rugged
LEDs are highly rugged. They don't have a delicate filament and thin glass that can be damaged due to shock and vibrations. Ideal for the garage light above the basketball hoop!
8. Slim Profile
It is so exciting to see all the new lighting designs that are now possible because there is not a 7 – 8" bulb that needs to fit into the design or be covered up. Because of their slim profile LEDs easily fit almost anywhere.
9. No Warm-Up Time
LEDs are not affected by frequent switching and they don't have a warm-up period. (It always amazes me, how irritating that miniscule moment is where we wait for an old-fashioned fluorescent lamp to turn on.)