Most Americans are familiar with LED lights as the little green spot of light on the TV that doesn’t shut off or the tiny ultra-bright laser pointers often used in presentations. But now, LED (short for Light Emitting Diode) fixtures are becoming the newest trend in the commercial lighting industry. The benefits of LED lighting are multiple and exciting. First, LED lights conserve energy by consuming significantly less watts than incandescent lamps. While an incandescent flood lamp consumes about 75 watts per hour, its LED counterpart uses a mere 11. LED lighting is also more cost-efficient. If there is a major switch to LED, the US Department of Energy projects a savings of $120 billion dollars over the next 20 years¹. In studies of businesses that had partially converted to LED, the yearly energy savings were approximately 40%². Another astounding characteristic is their longevity. LED lights burn for so long that there is no feasible way to test their entire life span. However, the projected “useful” life for an LED light has been estimated to be 35,000 to 50,000 hours³, approximately five years of continual burning. With incandescent flood lamps’ life span maxing out at 3000 hours, this figure represents a huge leap in technology. Lastly, LED lamps do not contain mercury, making them an environmentally friendly option. No doubt about it—LEDs are taking the lead.
Unfortunately, there is a downside to the explosion in LED technology. Considering the rapid pace of development (roughly a new generation light every six months), concerns are being raised about quality. To address this issue, the Department of Energy has introduced CALiPER (Commercially Available LED Product Evaluation and Reporting) testing. CALiPER acts as the “mystery shopper” of the lighting industry, randomly grabbing LED products off the shelves and submitting them to numerous field tests. The results thus far have been mixed: while some products have lived up to the bold reputation of the LED revolution, others have not. The DOE hopes that this guerrilla method will encourage consumers to try LED with the assurance that they are making informed choices. More detailed information can be found at:
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