Let’s talk LED lighting. There have certainly been story after story from this site about Green Lighting as you all know since I authored the book Green Lighting with TAB McGraw-Hill.
However, here is a refresher course per se.
According to the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, LED lighting will save Americans more than $30 billion annually in electricity costs and cut lighting consumption in half by the year 2030. But there are more incentives to switch to LED lighting than just trimming your budget. According to The Climate Group, lighting accounts for 6 percent of our global CO2 greenhouse emissions. This figure is roughly equal to 70 percent of the CO2 emissions of the world’s passenger cars. Whether you want to save money, the environment, or both, there are easy and creative ways you can go green. But first, let’s take a look at LED’s competition:
Shedding light on the competition
LEDs, otherwise known as Light Emitting Diodes, produce a light when an electrical current passes through. Up until the last few years, LEDs were expensive and didn’t shed enough light for most people’s preferences. Today a 9 watt LED bulb replacing a 60 watt incandescent bulb proves 84 percent more efficient. LEDs cost more to purchase at roughly $15 a pop, but last 25 times longer, or 1,000 hours vs. 25,000 hours of an incandescent bulb.
CFLs or (or compact fluorescent light bulbs) are also known for being long-lasting and efficient and work in a similar fashion as LEDs. However, CFLs employ a small amount of mercury that equates to less than the tip of a pencil. While the amount of mercury and its potential toxicity is tiny, it can cause worry for some. And, remember, those bulbs could end up in a landfill and collectively create an issue. CFLs also don’t work on dimmers and are not practical for recessed lighting where they can waste about half of the energy produced.
Halogen lights are often used for car headlights, workshop lights and outdoor floodlights. Halogens have argon-filled bulbs where a chemical called tungsten evaporates off the filament and darkens the bulb with a soot-like substance. That dark grit eventually dulls the light and can damage the bulb.
Now that you have some insight on why LEDs may be a better choice for your lifestyle, let’s look at ways to infuse them into your life:
Update your home decor by phasing out incandescent and other bulbs in favor of LEDs. Start by stocking up on LEDs for your fixtures and lamps and take it a step further. Consider replacing a chandelier, adding a bath bar light and outdoor LED sconces instead of halogen floodlights.
Using LEDs in your home also offers easy recycling options. Most last five times longer than competing bulbs and need to be recycled less often. If you’re replacing CFLs, you likely already know many states and cities outlaw disposal of the bulbs in the trash due to their mercury content and must be disposed of appropriately.
Turn your car into a green machine by switching out tail, brake and turn signal lights with LED bulbs. Look through your car to identify what less obvious lights can be replaced — think about LED license plate lights, headlights and interior lighting. It can be awkward to access various bulbs in cars, like the license plate, but LEDs give an advantage. They burn out so slowly that you could buy and resell the car years before the bulbs ever need replacing.
Most smartphones, including iPhones, employ LED lighting for screens and other accessories. The bright light makes it easy to transform your phone into a multi-use tool. For example, turn up the light on the screen to use it as a flashlight instead of buying a separate flashlight batteries and bulb. But perhaps the biggest advantage is controlling your home’s LED lighting, and even its color hue, with the use of a handy smartphone app. Phillips Hue now sells LED bulbs with a color palette that are WiFi enabled, making it easy to set the mood or when to turn up and down the lights as needed.