We’re hearing a lot about LED lights these days—and for good reason. LED technology has grown rapidly and prices continue to come down. Here at Roberts Electric, clients who are doing any kind of residential, commercial or industrial improvements are routinely upgrading to LED to save money and the environment.
LED based on semiconductor technologyLED is an acronym for light–emitting diodes—they’re semiconductor devices that produce visible light when an electrical current passes through them. LEDs don’t burn out or fail; rather, they depreciate. Their life expectancy is based on when their output has decreased by 30%. LED lighting is found everywhere–Christmas lights, traffic lights, car headlights and brake lights as well as lighting in and around your home. Cities, including LA, Seattle and Boston, are upgrading their streetlights to LED.
LED lights don’t radiate heat; rather, it is drawn away via a heat sink, a passive device that absorbs the heat and dissipates it into the surrounding environment. This keeps the LED from overheating and burning out.
An LED bulb costs significantly more than compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), or incandescent competitors, but its lifespan is dramatically longer. LEDs cut your lighting energy use and you won’t have to change the bulbs for an estimated nine years—if your bulbs are hard to get to, LED becomes a very attractive upgrade.
Converting to LED
LED bulbs will fit your existing light fixtures. In most cases, the bulbs are the same size if not slightly smaller than the bulbs they replace. LED bulbs are available at a variety of price points and quality varies accordingly. IKEA’s LED bulbs range from $4-9. As with most things, you get what you pay for. The bulbs at the lower end of the price spectrum do not last as long and do not come with a warranty. A recent consumer review rated the Cree 60W as an industry leader—cost is $10-15, but this bulb comes with a ten-year warranty. COSTCO also carries high-quality LED lights.
What’s the Payback?
This table compares initial cost and operating expense for a single LED PAR 30 bulb with the equivalent CFL, halogen, and incandescent bulbs. Given that many of the numbers Roberts Electric LED_paybackused here are more conservative than those in the government-mandated “Lighting Facts” table found on lamp packaging, this table represents a “worst case” scenario. The 15,000-hour LED bulb life estimate is itself conservative. In a fixture specifically designed for LEDs, bulbs can last two or three times longer (40,000 to 50,000 hours).