For the past several years, traditional incandescent bulbs have been phased out in favor of halogen, compact fluorescent (CFL) lights, and now on Light Emitting Diode light sources, or LED bulbs.

Known for their longevity and efficiency, LED lights yield an estimated operational life span of up to 50,000 hours. This measures out to 6 years of continuous operation. If you were to use an LED fixture for eight hours per day, it would take approximately 17 years before it would need to be replaced.

LED lights are different from other light sources, as LEDs do not contain a gas or filament of any kind. Instead, the entire LED is made up of a semiconductor, which is solid in nature and makes LEDs more durable. LED lights are small, packed electronic chip devices where two conductive materials are placed together on a chip (a diode). Electricity passes through the diode, releasing energy in the form of light.

Unlike CFLs that require a few minutes to warm up before reaching their full level of brightness, LEDs achieve full illumination immediately. LEDs can also be dimmed, allowing maximum flexibility in usage.

LED FACTS

Eighty percent of the electricity used by an incandescent bulb is lost as heat.

LEDs are ideal for outdoor use because of their durability. LED lights are resistant to vibrations, shock and external impacts such as exposure to weather, wind and rain. LEDs are temperature resistant and operate in colder outdoor temperatures.

When purchasing an LED light, look for the Energy Star label to ensure you have a genuine product for several reasons. There are poor quality LED products in the marketplace. Some of these products are manufactured with components that produce low light levels, don’t stand up on long service life, or have exaggerated energy saving claims. Visit energystar.gov for more information about Energy Star LED lights.

While it is true that LEDs generally cost more to purchase than fluorescent and incandescent lights, they are much less expensive to operate over time. LEDs are energy efficient, so the replacement and maintenance requirements are dramatically lower. In addition, as with other electronics, prices are expected to come down as more products enter the market.

The Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives free app, “Save Energy, Save Money” for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, includes a lighting calculator showing the potential savings from replacing incandescent lamps with either CFLs or LEDs.

Talk to the energy experts at Access Energy Cooperative or visit www.accessenergycoop.com to learn about more ways to save energy around the home!

Source: Anne Prince, NRECA