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A Simple Guide To LEDs

Author: Sarah Wigmore
Published: November 17, 2014

Lighting represents almost 20% of global electricity consumption according to the International Energy Agency. Energy efficient, long lasting and environmentally friendly LEDs are revolutionising the way we light up our homes and will have a direct impact on the reduction of electricity consumption long-term.

So what are LEDs and how do they work?

LEDs illuminate digital clocks, traffic lights, mobile phones, bridges and famous buildings. They were even used to light up the London Eye at the 2012 New Year’s Eve celebrations. They are becoming an increasingly popular light source for the home too.

LEDs (light emitting diodes) are semiconductor diodes which glow when a voltage is applied. A diode is an electrical component with two terminals which conduct the electricity in one direction. LEDs differ to the traditional incandescent bulb in the way in which they produce light and they don’t use a tungsten filament that can burn out.

The Benefits

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LEDs have numerous benefits compared to other light sources:

  • High Efficiency vs an incandescent bulb (LEDs use 90% less energy than a traditional incandescent)
  • Bright, intense and controllable Light
  • Instant light up (no warm up time as seen with some fluorescents)
  • Low heat output
  • No UV rays
  • Shock and Vibration resistant
  • Long lifespan of up to 50,000 hours (50 times longer than the incandescent bulb)
  • Reduced maintenance costs
  • Compact size

These benefits make LEDs a very versatile option for lighting up the inside and outside of your home. They can be used in flexi-strips for illuminating tight spaces, used underfoot for paths and driveways and used to display heat sensitive paintings and artwork. LEDs are a solid state form of lighting and outperform other lighting technologies in terms of their durability.

LEDs – the future of home lighting

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LED lighting is both cost effective and environmentally friendly and is going from strength to strength in terms of market penetration and quality output. Although the price of an LED bulb is currently higher than that of a standard incandescent bulb, due to its increased lifespan and energy efficiency, any initial outlay will soon be recouped.

The impact of LEDs in the lighting industry should not be underestimated. This is backed up by the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2014 being awarded to the inventors of the blue light-emitting diodes which were needed for the creation of energy efficient white lighting. It is predicted by 2020, on a global level, that 70% of residential lighting will be LED.

For more useful information check out our Lighting Ideas section.