As a child, I spent many hours tinkering with electronics with my father, an electronics engineer who worked in product development for several large companies in Europe. Once he showed me a 5mm LED and ever since I have wanted to convert the world to LED lighting. At first, LED lights only came in red and green. Then yellow became available and I finally got all the colors for a traffic light in my LEGO city. I thought it would be great if the real cities in the world could all be lit with LEDs.
My company, PCB Manufacturing in Sweden, has been working to reduce the use of electricity. After many years, we are facing an inescapable truth: LEDs are the future of lighting. Today we can see the LED taking over in our houses and factories, in our cars, in traffic lights, tunnel lighting, emergency lighting, in planes and in our TVs and smartphones. LEDs are everywhere.
LED lights pose a distinct environmental advantage over compact fluorescent (CFL) lights. CFLs contain traces of mercury; cumulative amounts are known to be harmful to the environment. CFLs are not RoHS compliant and must be disposed of as a hazardous substance in most countries. LEDs contain no mercury or any other hazardous material and may be tossed in the trash after use.
Electricity consumption correlates with CO2 emissions. As LED lights use about half the energy of CFLs, CO2 emissions associated with LED use are cut in half.
Energy Reduction and Longer Lasting Bulbs
LEDs consume less power and last quite a bit longer. The 60W incandescent light bulb is fading into history and the compact fluorescent may soon follow. A 6W LED light produces about 806 lumens – the same intensity of light as a 60W incandescent or a 15W fluorescent bulb. But the LED light does not require 110VAC, just 3-12VDC and only 6W maximum of power.
6W Warm White Light LED Spot Bulb (DC 12V)
|Daily electricity use (10 bulbs on 5 hrs/day)||3KWh||.65KWh||.30KWh|
|Daily Energy Cost (per US avg $.12/KWh)||$.36||$.078||$.036|
|Montly Energy Cost||$10.80||$2.34||$1.08|
|Bulb Lifespan (hours)||1000||4000||50,000|
|Energy cost per LED lifespan
(50,000 hrs or 27.4 years if used 5 hrs/day)
|Cost per bulb||$1.47||$1.36||$3.69*|
|Cost of 10 bulbs per LED lifespan (50,000 hrs)||$735||$170||$37|
|Total Energy and Bulb Cost per LED lifespan||$4286||$939||$392|
*The prices are constantly decreasing due to new technology and better quality
LED life spans are generally rated at 50,000 hours (source: eartheasy.com). Over this amount of time, LED bulbs will save over 90% of incandescent costs and over 50% of the CFL costs. In countries such as Australia and Germany where electricity costs are about triple those of the US, the cost advantage for LEDs is even greater.
One factor to consider is the effect of on/off cycling; LEDs show no effect of switching on and off rapidly, while the lifespan of CFLs are reduced dramatically. Similarly, LEDs are much more durable and can withstand jarring and bumping.
And if you were to use a single power converter, such as the unit pictured to the right from PCB Manufacturing, you would extend the LED four times longer because of reduced stress and heat on the LED. The external converter is installed where the main AC power comes into a home and converts AC to 12VDC for up to 90 LED lights. The price for the unit is $795 (US), not a bad investment if it means you don't have to worry about ever changing a bulb.
Another benefit of LED lighting is a lower risk of fire, since LED lights and wiring do not produce heat if used efficiently with a 12VDC light that can be connected to the power converter above. Fluorescent bulbs emit heat and have been known to catch on fire. LED lights are not sensitive to extreme heat or cold, whereas fluorescents may not work under -10 degrees or over 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
As governments around the world are passing laws restricting electricity use, and as consumers are becoming more sensitive to the environmental impact of their lighting choices, LED lighting is emerging as the clear favorite. My company and many others around the world are doing all we can to provide lighting at a lower cost and make the world a brighter place!
Editor's note: As a customer editorial, the statements and opinions of the author do not necessarily represent the views of Jameco.
Sebastian Berge, CEO of PCB Manufacturing, gives lectures about the LED lighting throughout Europe. For more information, see www.pcbmanu.com or email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org