LED Lighting

Technical Option | Generic Example
Climate & Air | Energy

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While CFL (compact fluorescent light) light bulbs have been put forward as the environmentally friendly energy efficient alternative to traditional incandescent light bulbs it now appears as though LED (light emitting diodes) light bulbs may be the future for environmental friendly lighting choices. LEDs are solid light bulbs which are extremely energy efficient. Traditionally LEDs were limited to single-bulb use in applications such as instrument panels, electronics, pen lights and, when used in clusters, illuminating traffic lights and forming the images on large outdoor television screens. Until recently, LED lighting has been impractical for most other everyday applications, such as domestic and commercial lighting, because it is built around costly semiconductor technology and because of an inability of LEDs to generate significant brightness. With the price of semiconductor materials dropping in recent years, LED lighting is now becoming more commercially viable. In addition, LED developers have got round the brightness issue by clustering many small LED bulbs together in a single casing to concentrate the light emitted.


LED lighting is put forward as being more efficient, durable, versatile and longer lasting than incandescent and fluorescents lighting. LEDs emit light in a specific direction, whereas an incandescent or fluorescent bulb emits light — and heat — in all directions. LED lighting uses both light and energy more efficiently.

Incandescent bulbs create light by passing electricity through a metal filament until it becomes so hot that it glows. According to the U.S. EPA (Energy Star: LED Lighting) incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat. In a CFL bulb, an electric current is driven through a tube containing gases. This reaction produces ultraviolet light that gets transformed into visible light by the fluorescent coating on the inside of the tube. However, while more efficient that a traditional bulb a CFL bulb releases about 80% of its energy as heat. However, unlike CFL and incandescent bulbs LED lighting products use light emitting diodes to produce light very efficiently. The movement of electrons through a semiconductor material illuminates the tiny light sources called LEDs. A small amount of heat is released backwards into a heat sink, as a result LEDs are cool to the touch as only a small proportion of the bulbs energy is released as heat.

Benefits of LED Light bulbs (See LED Lighting)

Longevity:LED bulbs are expected to last up to 10 times as long as CFL bulbs, and significantly longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Durability:since LEDs do not have a filament, they are not damaged under circumstances when a regular incandescent bulb would be broken. Because they are solid, LED bulbs hold up well to jarring and bumping.

Temperature:LED bulbs do not cause heat build-up. According to Eatheasy LEDs produce 3.4 btu's/hour, compared to 85 for incandescent bulbs. This may also cuts down on air conditioning costs in the home.

Mercury-free: unlike CFL bulbs no mercury is used in the manufacturing of LEDs.

Efficiency:LED light bulbs use only 2-10 watts of electricity (1/3rd to 1/30th of Incandescent or CFL) Small LED flashlight bulbs will extend battery life 10 to 15 times longer than with incandescent bulbs. Also, because these bulbs last for years, energy is saved in maintenance and replacement costs. Many cities in the US are replacing their incandescent traffic lights with LED arrays because the electricity costs can be reduced by 80% or more (LED Lighting).

Cost-effectiveness:- although LEDs are expensive, the cost is recouped over time and in battery savings. The lower energy use and longer life of LED bulbs make the initial expensive investment worthwhile.


Energy Efficiency & Reduced Energy Consumption

The expected primary impact following a domestic and commercial uptake of LED bulbs would be an improvement in efficiency of the lighting process with a resulting decline in energy consumption for lighting needs. A substantial uptake in the use of LED bulbs would lead to a decline in energy consumption, thereby reducing emissions associated with the energy generation process.

Modelling this Measure

Within a given modelling framework the effects/impacts of the instalment of LED bulbs can be captured through their impact on a number of key modelling parameters:

  • Activities­– the degree to which the implementation of LED bulbs reduces energy consumption across the economy. One would expect that if significant numbers householders and business were to switch to LED bulbs this would result in a reduction in energy consumption given the energy efficiency superiority of LEDs over existing bulb alternatives.
  • Costs– the financial costs associated with the purchase of LEDs.
  • Benefits– the energy efficiency superiority of LEDs over alternative bulbs will result in a reduction in energy consumption for a given level of demand. As energy consumption falls there will be an associated change in emission levels and the benefit of which are felt through impacts on health.
  • Utility– the degree to which LED purchases impacts on a household’s financial well-being. There are two reasons why LED bulbs save money. The first reason is because they use less energy. It is this reason that accounts for most of the cost savings of LED lighting. The second reason is a result that follows from the fact that the LED bulbs last longer. Due to the longer life of LED lights the frequency of replacements is much lower. This saves on new fixture purchases and costly maintenance.


Site Entry Created by Policy Measures Admin on May 19, 2010

Reference This Source

Policymeasures.com (2019). LED Lighting. Available:
www.policymeasures.com/measures/detail/led-lighting Last accessed: 19th February 2019

Reader Comments

This is a test comment

Posted by Karen Hanratty on 12 August 2010 at 06:15 PM

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