In recent years, the United States government has taken steps to promote more efficient use of our resources – especially our energy consumption – through legislation like The Energy Independence and Security Act. The reasoning behind the lighting provisions is pretty direct. Incandescent bulbs convert less than 10 percent of the energy pumped into them into light. The other 90 percent is lost mostly as heat. More-efficient bulbs could save billions of dollars, decrease dependence on foreign oil, and significantly reduce greenhouse gases.
The answer to some of our biggest energy questions might be the light-emitting diode (LED). LEDs are a semiconductor light source. When a suitable voltage is applied to the leads, electrons are able to recombine with electron holes within the device, releasing energy in the form of photons. This effect is called electroluminescence. These lights are often used in the lamps as a replacement of incandescent light sources.
LEDs have advantages compared to incandescent and fluorescent bulbs:
– longer life
– require less power
– small in size
– high efficiency
– high reliability
– high brightness levels
LEDs are used in applications as diverse as aviation lighting, automotive headlamps, advertising, general lighting, traffic signals, camera flashes and even LED wallpaper. LEDs have allowed new text, video displays, and sensors to be developed.
One report report by Allied Market Research, “Global Light Emitting Diode (LED) Market,” estimates the LED market will reach $42.7 billion by 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of 13.5 percent from 2014–2020. This means that LED lighting will command about 20 percent share of the global lighting market by 2020.
However, LEDs powerful enough for room lighting are still relatively expensive, and require more precise current and heat management than compact fluorescent lamp sources of comparable output. But that’s quickly changing with constant improvements of the technology.
Most of us can’t just run out and replace all of your lighting fixtures. But people who have upgraded their light fixtures generally did so for three reasons – light quality, price, and energy efficiency. When we do need to replace broken lighting fixtures or as lower cost upgrade instead of completely remodeling a room, we can look to LED technology to save us money and improve our surroundings.
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