Tuesday, 12 January 2010

LED: lighting the way to a greener future

Hotel Rafayel is proud to be the world's first LED only hotel. We hope to lead by example and we encourage all our guests and visitors to embrace modern technology and help save the environment by switching to LED in their homes and offices.

Sonya Bilanis reports for the Pocono Record:

"If everyone in the United States had a dripping faucet and everyone fixed that faucet, how many billions of gallons of water would be saved?

Now change that line of thought to saving energy.

According to LEDlight.com, if everyone in the United States replaced just one incandescent light bulb with an LED bulb, it could save 24,184.4 mega (million) watts per day.

Colour LED bulbs have been around since 1962 and commonly used in electronic displays, flashlights, TV remotes and indicator lights, but they have recently been made more affordable to use in the home.

What is an LED? LED stands for light-emitting diodes. A diode is a simple semi-conductor device typically made from gallium, arsenic and phosphorus, which allows the movement of electrons to conduct an electric current, giving off an energy released in the form of a light source (photons).

What's the difference between an LED light bulb and a conventional, incandescent light bulb? The incandescent bulb produces light from a filament that glows, which produces heat and, in turn, creates light. However, incandescent bulbs consume more power than light.

"LED lighting is more efficient, durable, versatile and longer-lasting than incandescent and fluorescent lighting. LEDs emit light in a specific direction, whereas an incandescent or fluorescent bulb emits light — and heat — in all directions. Therefore, LED lighting uses both light and energy more efficiently," said Paul Canevari, PPL regional community relations director.

"The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the rapid adoption of LED lighting in the U.S. over the next 20 years can deliver savings of about $265 billion, avoid 40 new power plants and reduce lighting electricity demand by 33 percent," he said.

Christmas comes but once a year; however, those Christmas lights are generally on for about a month and a half straight. "Looking ahead to the 2010 holiday season, each string of LED lights saves energy because it uses 80 percent less electricity than conventional holiday lighting, which obviously means they cost less to operate as well. Plus, they are made of tough material, so they don't break as easily," Canevari said.

Michael Chabal of Friedman Electric in Stroudsburg said there are two main reasons LED lamps are the future in lighting.

"The first being that the LED has approximately 50,000 hours of lamp life verses a regular light bulb, which has about 2,000 hours of lamp life. The second being the most energy efficient in lighting," he said. "A 10-watt flood LED lamp gives the same output as a 65-watt incandescent flood light," he said.

In addition to saving energy, you can also save on cooling bills.

"Traditional incandescent bulbs give off a lot of heat," Chabal said. "Feel a regular 60-watt light bulb after it's been on for one hour, just right above — do not touch it — it's hot. LEDs do not give off much heat at all."

Why are LEDs so expensive? "LEDs are costly like any other new technology, but the cost will come down in the next two years based on more demand and more competition," he said.

Friedman Electric has 10-watt LED dimmable flood lamps for $100, and, non-dimmable is around $65.

Friedman Electric offers programs that can do a cost analysis for companies on how to save more energy.

Scott Cerullo of Home Depot in Stroudsburg said that LED lights will eventually take over the lighting market and the incandescent light bulb will be a thing of the past, but for now, the shelves are stocked with few choices and little movement.

The initial cost factor is a hefty investment for anyone. "It's four to five times the cost of a regular incandescent light bulb," Cerullo said.

With the cost of electricity increasing by 30 percent in some markets in 2010, LEDs may become more a necessity than just another option.

It is hard to fathom the unseen energy savings until you see it on your electric bill. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the savings will be noticeable and the cost of an LED bulb will pay for itself in about a year.

And, according to ledlights.com, LED bulbs can be recycled because there are no harsh chemicals — they are made of plastic and metal."

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