04/28/11

LEDs: Choosing the Right Type

By: Rebecca Fleischer

Lighting your home efficiently and economically has never been easier. With three different types of energy efficient light bulbs to choose from – halogen incandescent, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), and LEDs – you can be saving from 25 to 80% on energy. While CFLs are gaining the most attention in energy efficiency bulbs, lesser-known LEDs also boast significant energy savings and offer an impressive life span.

Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, are one of the most energy-efficient and rapidly developing technologies in today’s lighting market. A single ENERGY STAR-qualified LED light bulb can last up to 25,000 hours and use 75% less energy than an incandescent light bulb. According to ENERGY STAR, based on normal use, you can install a bulb in your newborn’s nursery and not have to change the light until they graduate from college.

If you’re new to the market, you are probably wondering what makes LEDs different than other light bulb options and what you should look for when purchasing one.

What’s the Difference?

Unlike fluorescent and incandescent lamps, which involve glass enclosures, filaments, coatings and gases, LEDs are comprised of either single or multiple semi-conducting chips typically 7 to 9 mm in size that can produce 30 to 150 lumens a piece (up to 4 watts).

Commonly seen as the red flashing light on your Blackberry, the light bulb form offered for your home are multiple LED devises mounted on a circuit board and attached to a bulb design.

Choosing an ENERGY STAR-qualified LED light bulb

ENERGY STAR ensures that LEDs meet the minimum lifetime and efficacy requirements set by a criteria established by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. When choosing an ENERGY STAR product, consumers are assured the maximum amount of savings.

Where to LED your home

Kitchens, above countertops, office desks, hallways and bathrooms are all recommended places to install LED bulbs. They offer mono-directional lighting that works well for recessed downlights that can be used in and around the home.

Shining Qualities

To maintain personal lighting preferences, LEDs offer a variety of color shades, shapes, and power to suit your design and usage needs. Average LED bulbs have the ability to replace 40W and 60W traditional incandescent lights.
Here are some characteristics to consider about LEDs:

  • Turn on instantly, no warm-up time
  • Produce significantly less heat than incandescent bulbs, reducing air conditioning energy
  • Performance improves in the cold
  • No breakable filaments or glass
  • Not all are dimmable, make sure to check the packaging