The application of common sense can avoid wasted energy. Simple ideas like turning off the lights when you leave the room or reducing the amount of light sources in one area. All of these ideas can help. But the real solution to excessive energy use is found at the source, by changing the type of lighting we use. This is where the LED really shines.
What is a Light Emitting Diode?
A diode is a basic semiconductor. This semiconductor produces electroluminescence (light) when a current is passed through it. Think of the diode as split into two halves: the N-type half and the P-type half.
The N-type material has electrons and the P-type material has holes. These electrons (-) will move into the P-type material and the holes (+) move into the N-type material. It is this interaction between electrons and holes that generates light.
Ordinary diodes are not very efficient at producing light; the semiconductor itself will absorb most of the potential light. But Light Emitting Diodes are constructed to have a high output of light. The plastic casing also plays a large part in the increased amount of visible light. All light will be concentrated to flow in one particular direction, producing the same amount of light you have come to expect with the traditional light bulb.
What is the difference between the bulbs I have now and the LED?
Most households use the traditional incandescent bulb. This bulb was undeniably a revolution when Thomas Edison perfected the invention. But today, the model has become outdated. The problem with the traditional incandescent is that it wastes so much energy to produce light. Only 5-8% of the energy that goes into this bulb is converted into light. The majority is wasted heat.
The LED generates very little heat and as a result a much higher percentage of electricity is being used to produce light. Traditional bulbs also rely on a filament to work. This filament will burn out over time; this is why they need replacing so often. The LED does not use a filament and will last much longer. The plastic casing of the LED compared to the glass casing of the incandescent makes it much more durable and also increases the life span. To compare the cost and duration of the LED vs. the incandescent take a look at our battle of the bulb section.
Why are LED lights more expensive than incandescent bulbs?
The traditional filament technology used in incandescent lighting is cheap to produce. Part of the reason for this is the mass production of the technology. If the LED light was produced on the same scale as the incandescent, retail cost could be cut by 30%.
For the LED light to rival the light output of a 100-watt incandescent, the diodes must be clustered together into large groups. This means reproduction of the same technology and this increased the production costs. But as you will see, this initial cost is quickly offset by the many benefits of the LED.