Lighting is one of the most important energy expenditure at home. LED bulbs are an interesting alternative to “conventional” light bulbs. It’s an easy-to-do change that will make you save a few dollars on your next electricity bill. But what exactly are LED bulbs, and how do they make you save energy? Here are some answers.
From incandescent to LED bulbs
In 1878, Thomas Edison created the incandescent bulb. Light is produced by means of a tungsten filament which is heated to incandescence by the passage of an electric current. This type of bulb dominated the market for nearly a century, but is now considered obsolete given its relatively low brightness, and high energy consumption.
Subsequently, more efficient, less energy-consuming types of light bulbs were developed:
- The halogen bulb: A gas of the halogen family is inserted into the bulb. Combined with the tungsten filament, this new type of bulb was more durable than the incandescent bulb and provided a better luminous efficacy.
- The compact fluorescent light bulb: Composed of a bent fluorescent tube, the CFL produces a relatively bright light. CFLs are very energy efficient and are an interesting alternative to incandescent and halogen bulbs. However, they have a considerable slow starting time, which may be an annoyance when used in home lighting.
- The LED bulb (Light Emitting Diode): LED technology is more innovative, as these bulbs work with an electronic component that converts light into electricity. This technology has been is use in various electronic device displays since the 60s, but as the technology evolved, the LED bulb became available in all shapes and sizes.
A green solution
Electronic components inside LEDs require very little electrical power to operate, giving them an excellent light-per-energy ratio. Their operating life is also very competitive when compared to other types of bulbs: Approximately 50,000 hours compared to an average of 10,000 hours for a CFL bulb. Lastly, LED bulbs tend to generate less heat than other types of bulbs, which avoids energy losses in a function other than lighting.
All these arguments make the LED bulb the most economical solution in terms of energy (see diagram below).
The LED bulb: a household solution
While prices have decreased, LED bulbs can be a little more expensive than other types of bulbs. However, the difference will be quickly offset by the energy savings, not to mention their considerable operating life, as mentioned above. That said, it is worthwhile to invest a little more when purchasing LED bulbs.
There is also a bias against LED bulbs claiming that their light is cool and bluish. While this was indeed the case in the early-stages of commercialization of these bulbs, numerous models are now available in warmer light with a slight yellow hue, ideal for interior lighting. LED bulbs are an easy way to save energy at home and are now available in most department stores. There is a wide range of models, sizes, lighting intensity and tones to choose from, so you are sure to find a LED bulb that suits your needs.
Do you have questions for us about LED bulbs? Feel free to share your questions and feedback in the comments section!