Getting to Know Your LEDs

| 2/18/2009 11:14:00 AM


LED bulb 

Usually when people talk about using greener lighting, they're talking about compact-fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs. But what about the other green light bulbs, LEDs?

LEDs, or light emitting diodes, are all around us. These long-lasting, efficient light bulbs are used for all kinds of applications, and they’re especially good for those that involve gently glowing, bright-colored light. That includes stoplights, Christmas tree lights, exit signs, the display on digital clocks and the indicator lights that show when electronics are switched on.

Although LEDs are also being developed for general lighting, most of them still aren’t bright enough for say, reading. That may all change soon though, because there’s a lot of research happening in this area.

More Info: 

For a good general description of what LEDs can do, check out this article from Scientific American.

2/25/2009 1:12:17 PM

LED's really do save energy, but need to be used correctly. They really do save more than CFL's, given the chance--that means that they are wired properly and have reflectors and diffusers. It is up to everyone to educate themselves, and choose appliances and products wisely; some really do save loads of energy, and some only say they do. Remember that line from the Wizard of Oz, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" Well, we SHOULD pay very close attention to that 'man behind the curtain'!

2/25/2009 1:03:42 PM

I have noticed over the last few years, that yes, while the price tag for LED bulbs has dropped, so has the quality of the LED lights. LED's should last for closer to 100,000 hours, if they are of proper quality and are wired right. To optimize their lumen output, they must have really good reflector to bounce the light, and, need a diffuser to spread it where it is needed. BUT, [for instance] the 35 lumens LED GU-10 based [for track lighting] bulbs Walmart carries are rated to only last about 12,000 hours, and have only a tiny reflector and no diffuser, for about $15; Walmart recently started carrying a 200 lumens, Edison-based bulb that lasts a [whopping?] 20,000 hours. This uses fewer, larger, better quality LEDs, but still no real reflector, and no diffuser--for about $35. Couple that with complaints by the local power company here, that people were too effective with saving energy, and the power company was having trouble paying their bills...that happened right before the power company converted everyone's meters to computerized--and everyone's usage showed an immediate leap up. And include that people are scrambling for every scrap of profit, especially in this economy. That means manufacturers deliberately dumb down technology so it fails to save as much energy as it should, OR otherwise prevents technology from cutting into profit margins [i.e., GE "Energy Star" refrigerator components are "bench-tested" to pass qualifications for Energy Star Program, but get installed into larger, and still the same badly insulated boxes--forcing components designed to run smaller unit to run larger box--guaranteeing they use MORE energy.] Many industries have been manipulating data to pass energy mandates for conservation for some years, now they are doing it even more, due to the economy. It is the case of the "wizards of science" baffling the ignorant public [and legislators] with technical BS. It is up to ever

2/24/2009 4:14:31 PM

Some LEDs can be used for reading, depending on need. I have a LED that fits into by Halogen light receptacle. It doesn't give over all light but plenty to read by. Was a bit costy, but well worth it to save ov electricity and not be under a heat lamp. Some of the lights in my camper have been replaced with LEDs and are brighter. They are diodes on a board, so not the best looking, but save lots of time on the battery.

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