LED stands for Light-Emitting Diode. LED is the latest lighting technology that emits light more efficiently than traditional light sources. Traditional bulbs have been lighting up homes since the late 1800s, which is why their light sources are produced with the use of filaments that burn out over time. Advancement in lighting technology has led to the creation of diodes within bulbs, making LED bulbs “semi-conductor devices.” LEDs do not burn out; instead, they have electrons that move around and release energy as light, rather than as heat. Other traditional light sources use significantly more energy because of the heat emitted, giving LED bulbs a much longer lifespan than traditional bulbs by thousands of hours.
Conventional light sources are measured in units of watts. Wattage indicates the amount of energy (or electricity) needed to produce light, not how much light is actually emitted.
LED light sources are measured in lumens. Lumens measure the actual amount of light produced, not how much energy (electricity) is consumed.
An LED bulb's wattage rating doesn't indicate its brightness; its lumens rating does. So, the more the lumens, the brighter the light.
LED’s energy consumption, and consequently energy costs, is significantly lower in comparison to traditional lighting. Therefore, purchasing based on a bulb’s lumens ratings rather than its wattage makes more sense. A 40-watt-equivalent LED bulb, for instance, delivers about 500 lumens, roughly the same as a 40-watt incandescent bulb; except LED in reality is only using 7 watts to produce 500 lumens.
LED is available as indoor and outdoor lighting. It can be found in all sorts of devices, equipment and fixtures that require a light source. You will find LED in lamps, television and computer screens, display cases, traffic lights, gaming systems, remote controls, etc.
All light sources eventually diminish in output over time. Traditional bulbs simply burn out and suddenly produce no light. However, LED bulbs do not burn out. The light output levels of an LED bulb slowly starts to dim, usually when light output has reduced by 30%, indicating the need to replace the bulb. Switching a traditional light off and on impacts its lifespan, but has no effect on the lifespan of LED lights. Overall, LED bulbs can last more than 25,000 hours. Since there are only 8,760 hours in a year, if an LED bulb were used 24/7 continuously, it can last around 3 years or more. If used for only 8 hours a day, it can last over 8.5 years.
Traditional bulbs come with a cheap up-front price tag, but the downside is the high monthly energy bill. Also, traditional bulbs have a short lifespan compared to LED bulbs. Not to mention, the hazardous material found in traditional bulbs makes them unsafe for the environment. For all of these reasons, conventional light sources are being phased out across the world and replaced with more eco-friendly, cost-effective, and energy-saving products like LED. Up-front costs of LED are paid back fairly quickly in the form of substantial savings over the life of the bulb, making LED well worth the initial extra cost.
The world is moving toward more sustainable, energy-efficient and cost-effective technologies. LED is becoming a popular lighting source for this reason. While traditional bulbs have lower up-front costs than LEDs, the lifetime of LED bulbs and their low energy consumption make it significantly more economical.
The EU banned the production of all traditional incandescent lamps in September 2012 in order to reduce energy use. Halogen lamps are expected to be phased out by 2016, making room for even more energy-efficient LED light options on store shelves.
Savings-conscious consumers may be stocking up on fluorescent and incandescent bulbs with the expectation that cheap bulbs will no longer exist since production of traditional bulbs has ended. However, the longer lifespan and the annual savings on energy bills with LED lighting makes LED a far greater investment and more cost-effective than traditional lighting.