With so much emphasis being placed today on the environment, there's no surprise that building owners and contractors – and even home owners – are turning to the most “green” products they can find.
In the case of lighting, right now that is LED lighting as its energy efficiency and environmental friendliness is starting to make it the lighting of choice for those that want to do their part of the world.
However, just like with any product, there are pros to using LED lighting, and there are also cons. In order to make an informed decision about which lighting product is the best for your next project, it's important to have all the facts to be able to do a smart comparison.
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Here's a look at some of the main advantages and disadvantages to using LED lighting.
Pros of LED Lighting
Since we've already mentioned it, we will jump right into the advantages of LED light with energy efficiency. It is estimated that an LED lamp offers between 80-90% energy efficiency when compared to a traditional incandescent light bulb. That means when the LED lamp is turned on, about 80% of the energy is used to illuminate actually goes into making the light, while the other 20% is given off as heat. While that may seem like a lot, it's not when you compare it to an incandescent light bulb where's the direct opposite -- 20% of the energy goes into the light and 80% is given off as heat. Obviously there's quite a bit of savings there, both in terms of the energy used and money being spent on that electricity. Plus being the lamp emits much less heat makes it safe as it's cool to the touch.
Additionally, an LED lamp needs less electricity to get it going. For example, a standard 60 watt incandescent light bulb will annually use about 525 kWh of electricity. However, a comparable LED lamp will only need to use about 65 kWh of electricity. Again, savings all around.
The US Department of Energy estimates that is there is widespread use of LED lighting by 2027 in the United States, that could potentially save us about 348 TWh of electricity, for a monetary savings of more than $30 billion.
Another pro of LED lamps are there incredibly long lifespan. For example, a standard incandescent light bulb will last anywhere between 750 to 2,000 hours, and on average a fluorescent lamp will get you about 20,000 hours. However, some LED lamps can last for as long as 100,000 hours. Not only does its long life mean that you won't need to buy very many of them, it also means you can cut down on labor costs as you won't need to pay anyone to keep an eye on them or change them out for a very long time.
And when a LED lamp comes to the end of its very long life, it does not automatically burn out like an incandescent lamp. Instead, the LED diodes just start to operate at a lower energy level and the lamp loses some of its brightness.
Another feature of an LED lamp that helps it last longer is its durability. Because LEDs are not made from fragile materials like glass, they can withstand a lot more than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs can. That means vibrations are generally not an issue, allowing them to be used in applications like transportation and roadways. Plus LED lamps are not easily broken in shipment or during installation.
Another pro of LED lighting is that it is environmentally friendly. That is because an LED lamp is not made with any hazardous chemicals, compared to fluorescent lamps that include mercury and need to be disposed of in a special way. About 95% of all LED lamps are able to be recycled -- that would mean it would not have any type of hazardous material inside. It's a good idea to contact your local recycling center to find out if there any special instructions you need to follow in recycling LED lamps in your area. Additionally, some manufacturers may also offer recycling programs for you to send LED lamps to.
Cons of LED Lighting
Probably the largest disadvantage that LED lighting has going on for itself right now is in terms of price. Even though over the past years the price point for LED lamps has continued to drop, it is still a bit higher than incandescent and fluorescent lamps, which could potentially make them cost-prohibitive for some people.
For example, LED lamps generally cost between $10 to $40 each, while incandescent bulbs cost a few dollars and CFL lamps cost around $3 to $5. However, it's important to remember that over the long run, LED lamps are many times the most cost-effective choice due to their energy efficiency and long life.
Another potential con to using LED lighting is its ability to create white light. Generally an LED lamp will create white light using diodes of different colors that when all illuminated together makes white light. In the past, this has sometimes led to the color emitted by an LED lamp to be a bit too blueish.
Additionally, as the LED lamp is used, sometimes the LEDs themselves can begin to degrade in terms of the color quality of the light produced. And in lamps that are poorly designed, this can also lead to flickering, loss of brightness, and unbalanced light.
And LED lighting has also been found to be sensitive in terms of temperature. When it comes to temperature, how well an LED operates can be directly related to the temperature in which it is located. If an LED lamp is used in a location that has a raised surrounding temperature, it may cause it to overdrive and fail. To keep this from happening. LEDs generally require a heat sink to help keep it cool and working properly.