4 Important Facts You Need to Know About LED Lights

An LED can also be described as a light emitting diode and it is a product that is assembled into a lamp. It is particularly used for the purpose of lighting. These bulbs have a lifespan as well as an electrical efficiency that are several times greater than a normal incandescent lamp. These are also highly efficient when compared to a normal fluorescent lamp. Some important things that you must essentially learn about LED bulbs have been explained below:-

1. Are LEDs expensive?

Gone are those days when LEDs were expensive. As the demand of these bulbs in recent times has increased and also the processes of manufacturing has also streamlined, the costs have gone down significantly. The efficiency of these bulbs have also resulted in a lot of customer craziness. Everyone wants to get their hands on this one. It is one of the important things to remember.

2. Where can you use LED bulbs?

You can use these bulbs absolutely anywhere. There are many households that follow a guideline of dimension for a familiar shaped bulb. There are also many that have a bulky look to them. You can also find these light in spotlights, floodlights and other lighting formats. Other places include various designer formats such as various flat panels.

3. Wi-fi connection

Many LED bulbs are also connected to wireless internet. These can be operated through your smart phone. You can use this facility to switch the bulb on and off and this is a very efficient way to monitor and control your LED bulb.

4. Applications of LED lamps

These lamps can be used for both special and general purpose of lighting. These white light lamps have a long life expectancy and also high efficiency. These sources of LED are also compact and are able to offer a great amount of flexibility in designing the lighting features. This bulb by using the principle of color mixing can emit a very wide range of colors thus making it multi-purpose.

In recent times, there has been a lot of research as far as LED bulbs are concerned. You too can make good use of these bulbs. These can be used anywhere as they are multipurpose. Always make sure that the LED bulb you use is multipurpose and can serve all you needs and requirements with respect to your lighting. These can help you a lot in the long run.

Business Use Of LED Panel Lights

Companies wanting to increase energy efficiency for the business will want to consider LED panel lights. These new lights can help businesses to be more energy efficient while still providing plenty of light to do business. These lamps are very long lasting and may not need to be replaced for many years.

A LED panel makes and efficient replacement for more traditional fluorescent tubes that are often used with suspended ceilings. The lamp can replace the panel that holds fluorescent tubes. The electrical draw of the LED systems is much less than the tubes. The panel will draw less electricity than one traditional sixty watt lamp.

The light provided by the LED lamp is full spectrum white light. With fluorescent lamps the spectra is not complete, thus some colors are not present. This can cause clothing and makeup to appear different colors. It can also cause eyestrain in some people. The full spectra light offered by the LED lamp is the same spectra as provided by the sun or a traditional lights. The result is much less eyestrain.

While businesses will pay significantly more for the initial installation cost of LED lighting, they will recover the cost through the years with lower power bills and less maintenance costs as the panels will not need to be replaced as often as other types of lighting. LED lamps can help to reduce global use or natural resources.

A close inspection of the panels may seem somewhat strange to persons used to other types of lighting. The panels are made of many individual lights. Each of the lights add together to provide a bright even lighting for the room. LED lighting is also effective when used outside as well as inside the business.

LED panels offer durable lights that are an excellent form of energy savings. They can be used in business establishments as well as public buildings. Power requirements are much lower and the panels will last for many years, lowering both maintenance and energy costs.

Why Are LEDs Replacing Other Light Sources?

LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes) have been in our lives for a long time already. In the simplest of examples, they are commonly used in electrical appliances to signal that the unit is on – e.g. the little red standby light on the front of your TV. Now manufacturers have expanded the product line of LED’s into everyday household light fittings such as GU10 spotlight bulbs.

But what about the cost? Yes, they are not the cheapest bulbs available. But there is so much more to this story than just the initial cost of this bulb.

    • Long Life span: The life span of LED lights definitely stands out as one of its top benefits. LED bulbs and diodes have an outstanding operational life time of up to 50000 hours. To put it into a time frame, an LED bulb could last up to 11 years in continuous operation or if it was used for 8 hours per day it would take 20 years before it would need to be replaced.
    • Energy Efficiency: LEDs are undoubtedly the most efficient way of lighting, with an estimated energy efficiency of 80%-90% compared with the traditional incandescent light bulbs who operate at 20%. The remaining percentage is lost and converted into other forms of energy such as heat. Here is an example to put that into perspective: If you use traditional lighting and have an electricity bill of £100, then £80 of that money has been used to heat the room, not to light it! Using LED Bulbs with 80% efficiency, the electricity costs would be around £20 and you’d have saved around £80.
    • Environmentally Friendly: Whereas conventional fluorescent light bulbs contain hazardous materials such as mercury, LED bulbs contain no toxic materials and are 100% recyclable. Not only do they therefore help reduce your carbon footprint by up to a third, the long life span means that one LED bulb can save material and production of 25 incandescent bulbs.
    • Durability: LED bulbs are built with sturdy components that are highly rugged and can withstand even the roughest conditions. Because they are resistant to shock, vibrations and external impacts, they make great outdoor lighting able to withstand rough conditions and exposure to weather, wind, rain or even external vandalism, traffic related public exposure and construction or manufacturing sites. LED bulbs are also ideal for operation under cold and low outdoor temperature settings. For fluorescent lamps, low temperatures may affect operation and present a challenge, but LED illumination operates well also in cold settings, such as for outdoor winter settings, freezer rooms etc.
  • Design Variety: From different colour temperatures, beam angles, dimming options and shapes, LEDs continue to produce highly efficient illumination. LED mood illumination is a good example of how the design technology is being used. It is already being utilized in airplanes, classrooms and many more locations and we can expect to see a lot more LED mood illumination in our daily lives within the next few years.

Another important question to ask yourself: Are incandescent bulbs being phased out?

Although on the most part incandescent bulbs were never banned, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) stated that any lamp that failed to meet its energy standards could no longer be manufactured.

A FAQ document posted by Energy Star explained these restrictions I this way:

“The standards are technology neutral, which means any type of bulb can be sold as long as it meets the efficiency requirements. Common household light bulbs that traditionally use between 40 and 100 watts will use at least 27% less energy by 2014.”

Putting it into layman’s terms, if a manufacturer wants to sell incandescent bulbs beyond 2013 then they would need to come up with more energy efficient technology.

However lighting manufacturers have yet another hurdle ahead with EISA. In 2020 light bulbs will have to be 60-70% more efficient.

So do the 2020 standards set by EISA spell the end for incandescent bulbs?

With the major price reductions in CFLs and LEDs in recent years, as well as the drastic difference in energy efficiency and their drastically different lifetimes, it is not too hysterical to prophesise of incandescent bulbs being discontinued altogether in the 2020s.

Tips for Protecting Your Home With LED Security Lights

Adding security lighting is the number one step homeowners can take to protect their property from unwanted intruders. Statistics show that burglars bypass targets that are difficult to access without being noticed. A well-designed security lighting system can make would-be robbers think again before approaching your property. This guide will show you how to create an effective, low-cost LED security lighting system for your home or business.

Use many smaller lights rather than fewer, more powerful lights

Big, powerful flood lights are good for open spaces, but can sometimes leave shadows if there are obstacles on your property like buildings and trees. Using a combination of LED flood lights, area lights and wall packs will reduce shadows and blind spots that intruders can use to hide.

Keep lights high and out of reach

It’s important to make it difficult for burglars to tamper with your security system. Many thieves will plan heists for several weeks and finding a way to disable security lights is often a top priority. Even the best security lighting can be rendered useless if an intruder is able to incapacitate the system. Keeping lights high and out of reach will make it difficult for your system to be tampered with. Placing lights high will also soften the light for a pleasant look and increased coverage.

Use Motion Detector Lights

Motion detector lights are an effective way to scare off intruders. Burglars will be on edge during a robbery and having a light flick on as they walk by is often times enough to scare them away. A good combination of LED spotlights and motion detector lights will work to keep intruders off of your property and scare away those who choose to enter.

Focus on Entrances and Exits

Most criminals seek out targets that can be accessed at night without being seen. Ensuring excellent light coverage at all entrances and exits will deter criminals from planning a robbery at your property.

Why LED?

Efficiency: LED lights offer exceptional efficiency and are more cost-effective in the long run. An LED light fixture will use 90% less electricity than an equivalent incandescent. This is also important if your security lights are forced to run on a backup generator. Less energy draw means your lights will last longer on a limited supply of power.

Longevity: A quality LED bulb can have a useful life of 25,000 hours or more. This is more than 25 times long than traditional light bulbs. Safety: LEDs run cooler than conventional light sources and are therefore less of a fire hazard. Durability: LEDs lack filaments or glass enclosures, making them more durable than traditional alternatives. Same colors as traditional bulbs: LEDs can achieve the same colors as traditional bulbs. Use the Kelvin temperature color scale below to help identify the hue a bulb will produce.

Why LED Lighting Is Not In Your Home Yet

Conventional LEDs have been used for indication and display applications for several decades. The inherent benefits of LED technology are well-known and documented, and include, maintenance and power savings, as well as performance features that are taken for granted by electronics-savvy consumers such as durability, reliability, longer life span, and consistent color and brightness levels. These benefits, combined with society’s growing environmental concerns and subsequent demand for green, energy-efficient products, have continued to drive the development of LEDs for challenging new industries and markets, such as general illumination for commercial and residential buildings. With the escalating demand for solid-state lighting, LED manufacturers are motivated to develop high-lumen LEDs while LED lighting companies are working hard to integrate the latest technology into retrofit packages and luminaries. However, new perspectives may be necessary for people to adopt LED technology as an illumination source in new installations, or incorporate LED technology in existing light fixtures.

Are LEDs suitable for commercial and residential lighting applications?

LEDs are arguably the most energy-efficient light source available. Case in point, LEDs have created upwards of 80 percent energy savings in the traffic signal industry. However, in this application, the LEDs had two natural advantages:

1. LEDs are monochromatic, so almost all of the light generated is used. In contrast, the white light generated by an incandescent bulb needs to transmit through a colored filter. Light outside of the frequency of the colored lens is wasted.

2. LEDs are directional, so almost all of the light generated was emitted towards the lens. In contrast, light from an incandescent bulb needed to be reflected toward the lens, resulting in loss of efficiency.

Commercial and residential lighting applications stand to gain similar, if not more, energy-savings by converting to LEDs. However, most applications are not as straight-forward as stuffing a PC board with a bunch of directional red, amber or green LEDs. LED light fixtures and retrofit packages have to be designed to distribute the directional light generated by the LED over wide areas. Moreover, white LED technology, while continuously improving, does not yet have the optical color and brightness that consumers have become accustomed to with incandescent lights. However, the power savings can be significant, for example, in California the energy commission has adopted efficiency standards for residential and commercial buildings. These standards, Title 24, have accelerated development of LED illumination technology.

Why LEDs are not in your house?

Unlike incandescent bulbs, high-power LEDs cannot be simply plugged into a wall socket. Several companies are working to overcome the technological and economic challenges by developing LED light fixtures and retrofit LED lighting products using high-power LEDs. Thermal management, complex drive circuitry, optics, and packaging are challenging hurdles for developers to contend with. There are also educational barriers to overcome in the development of commercial LED illumination products. Getting users to adopt new types of fixtures, understand the illumination characteristics of LEDs, choose the appropriate viewing angle for a given application, select the appropriate intensity for a given application, and understand the limitations of LED color temperatures are pivotal to developing the market for LED technology in commercial and residential lighting.

Thermal Challenges

For the past couple of centuries, traditional luminaries have consisted of a light bulb and lamp socket that enables consumers to continually replace bulbs that have burned out. Whether it is an incandescent, compact fluorescent or fluorescent light bulb, it will simply screw or drop into an industry-standard socket and the luminary will continue to be operational. A few LED lighting companies have developed high-flux LED bulbs that retrofit into existing sockets; but this approach is less than ideal. For example, a traditional light bulb socket provides a very poor thermal path for cooling an LED light source. Incandescent light bulbs are basically heaters that produces visible light, and the socket it is screwed into is designed to protect the lamp base and wiring from that heat. With high-power LEDs, most of the wattage consumed is converted to heat and, if it can’t be dissipated through the lamp socket, will dramatically shorten the LED life.

Complex Drive Circuitry

To protect the LED from degradation factors, such as heat and voltage spikes, the drive circuitry design is critical. Ideally, LED circuit designs should be tailored to the specifics of the application because mechanical and economic constraints make it difficult to design a “catch-all” circuit. Most LED indication or lighting designs operate from a high voltage AC power source. Since LEDs are DC-driven, utilizing a specific AC to DC power supply to achieve a DC source voltage is often the most cost-efficient and reliable LED lighting solution. To ensure efficient LED operation, DC-to-DC LED driver circuitry may also be required in conjunction with the primary power supply. In addition to providing the necessary power and protection from current fluctuations, LED drive circuitry also generates heat – adding to the thermal management challenge. And, generally, the greater the volume of light that is required, the more LEDs are needed, leading to more complex the circuitry, packaging challenges, higher heat flux, etc.

Optics: Illumination Angle

LEDs are extremely energy-efficient from an illumination efficacy standpoint, i.e., lumens per watt. Upwards of 95 percent of the light can be directed at the target area of illumination whereas a typical incandescent bulb may be only 60 percent effective. In other words, a lot of the light produced by an incandescent bulb does not go to the intended target. Incandescent bulbs require reflectors, louvers, and/or diffusers to compensate for unnecessary light. Fluorescent bulbs are more energy-efficient than incandescents, but the ballast may consume up to 20 percent of the electrical energy going into the fixture. Retrofitting LED technology in traditional luminaries is tricky because most fixtures are designed to overcome the limitations of traditional spherical light output. Reflectors, cones, masks, shades and diffusers help bend, redirect, or shield the light emitted from incandescent, fluorescent and halogen sources, but it creates unnecessary physical barriers for implementing LED technology. Designing specific forward-fit LED-based luminaries can produce several times foot-candles on a given area per watt than other traditional incandescent bulb technologies. Because of the directional illumination pattern that LEDs provide the light can be directed to the specific area that needs to be illuminated.

Optics: Light Color

Over the years, fluorescent bulb manufacturers had some challenges getting users to accept the white color produced by fluorescent technology. Because of the limitations of phosphor technology, the fluorescent industry introduced subjective terms such as “cool white” or “warm white” to draw comparisons to incandescent white. Not coincidentally, white LED manufacturers face the same challenges since white LED technology is based on phosphor energy. To put things in quantitative perspective, LED manufactures have referred to Color Rendering Index (CRI) which is a measurement of a light source’s ability to render colors accurately. The higher the CRI, the more natural the colors appear, with natural sunlight having a CRI of 100. However, this may not be the best metric for comparing light sources. Originally developed in 1964, this index is based on color models with broad spectral distributions. White LEDs are narrow-band sources. Color Temperature may be a more suitable tool for comparison because it is a less subjective measure, based on degrees Kelvin. Presently there are several white emitters to choose from in the 3,200 degree-Kelvin and 5,500 degree-Kelving range. No matter how the color is measured, LED manufactures have made great strides to match the warm white glow of an incandescent bulb with high-quality LEDs due to the tremendous demand for incandescent white tones.

Education

Users have come to understand the brightness of incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs in terms of watts; however a watt is technically the unit of electrical power used by the lamp during its operation. Consumers know from experience how much light a 40, 60, or 100 watt light bulb will produce. The same cannot be said for LED assemblies, as LED lamps are generally designed to meet the specific targeted illumination requirements of a given application. For example, it is possible to compare an LED equivalent to a 50 watt MR16 bulb as this type of lamp is used as a directional light source. However, a typical 60 watt incandescent bulb produces a spherical light pattern. An LED lamp that could provide equivalent light in all directions would be tricky to design in the same mechanical envelope. With present technology, multiple LED emitters and/or secondary optics would be required to achieve a 360-degree illumination pattern.

But the bigger issue is, the light intensity benchmark for an LED lamp is not the watt. Traditional LEDs used for simple status indication and displays come in small epoxy packages and their light output is measured in candelas because this is a measurement of direct-view luminous intensity. With the recent development of high-power LEDs for illumination purposes, the lux or lumen (one lux is equal to one lumen per square meter) is a more suitable unit of measurement to compare the LED light output to traditional sources because we are more concerned about the volume of light rather than the directional intensity.

These terms are certainly known in the LED and lighting industry, but not by the general commercial and residential consumer. And the question is how willing is the consumer to learn new terminology and understand their lighting needs?

Why Businesses Are Moving to LED Lighting

What is LED lighting?

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are a digital light source. LEDs started life as light indicators in electrical components manufactured by Hewlett Packard. The light is a result of electrons releasing energy in the form of photons better known as electroluminescence.

Their energy efficiency, low maintenance, robustness and long life mean that they are now a bright alternative to the energy-hungry and delicate analogue light sources we all grew up with.

Originally their cost limited their use as an everyday light source. However ever-increasing energy prices combined with improved manufacturing process has made them a viable alternative to Mr Edison’s invention.

Today they are used in televisions, traffic lights, car headlights, torches and signs across the world.

Why should I be using LED lighting?

  • LEDs use less energy. The first and foremost reason for using LEDs is that they can consume up to 85% less energy than traditional lighting. Less energy consumed is good for the environment but it is also good for business too. Less power usage equals more money saved.
  • LEDs last longer. The average age for a LED light is 10 years. Even then they will only need replacing as their light fades. Over a long period of time their light output gradually dims. They can last longer too; it depends upon the application.
  • LEDs are much safer – LEDs use low voltage (12-24) volts and are less of a fire risk than light bulbs and particularly neon lighting. LEDs emit no UV and very little heat so they can be used in areas where too much heat is dangerous.
  • LEDs are easier to maintain. LEDs can be left alone and a quick wipe over once in a while is all they need.
  • LEDs are solid state. There is no filament or glass to break and they are robust even in wet conditions. They can even be used underwater in some circumstances.
  • LEDs are easier to dispose of. Although there is no real way to recycle them at the moment they are tiny and therefore easier and less damaging to the environment than disposing glass bulbs and gas-filled tubing.
  • LEDs are much, much smaller. They can therefore be used in much more creative ways than traditional lighting. For example lightboxes can be slimmer, LEDs can be even be embedded into acrylic panels for certain applications.

I’ve heard it is more expensive?

Initially LEDs can be more expensive than traditional light bulbs and fluorescent tubes but their benefits more than redress this. Businesses face energy audits and a commitment to reduce their carbon emissions, never mind the need to cut costs. LEDs are part of the answer to these issues.

What do I do with my existing lighting?

Many businesses believe that to upgrade their existing lighting, for example fluorescent tubes in ceiling strip lighting and signage, will be hugely disruptive and expensive. We call it retrofitting. There is a range retrofitting LED products that can use existing analogue light fittings. You get the benefit of less power consumption, low maintenance and long life but you don’t have to invest in new light fittings. Changing to LEDs is as easy as changing a bulb.

What are the products out there?

LEDs are made in a variety of colours and shades. Simple electronics can control the brightness and duration of each LED so the effect you can get with an LED product are extremely varied. The market is broadening rapidly.

Simple LED modules Individual modules are usually produced in banks of 4 LEDs but they also come in a variety of different shapes and sizes and usually run off a simple 12v transformer. They can be installed without the need for an electrician.

LED grids

LEDs can be bought ready fixed into a sheet of plastic or run along the edge of a piece of acrylic which can then be cut to suit the particular application. The tight formation of these LEDs means that a very even area of light can be achieved.

Slimline LED lightboxes

When fluorescent tubes are placed too close to the front of a lightbox you often see a striping effect. Fluorescent tubes are also short lived. If one goes you face an expensive call out for a replacement. LEDs allow for a thinner lightbox and a more even light source for your graphics. Long life and low maintenance means that site visits are much less frequently required. Just an occasional wipe-over should do it!

Retrofitting non-LED products

There are now retrofitting products that simply fit into current fluorescent and light bulb fittings. This is a short to medium term fix when you have a large amount of traditional lighting, like strip lighting, and don’t have the budget to change the fittings. You will instantly benefit from the energy savings associated with LED lighting. The most common products are fluorescent tubing replacement units and halogen replacement spot lights.

Neon replacement LED tubing

Neon is an eye-catching way to advertise your business. It is also very expensive to produce, takes high levels of energy to run and is bad for the environment too. Now you can simulate a neon effect with a range of neon tubing replacements. LED tubing can be cut and bent into any shape, much like traditional neon. But, because it runs cold and uses low voltage, can be installed by anyone – you don’t need a qualified electrician to connect to the mains.

Low energy LED products LEDs are low voltage and this gives us an opportunity to use solar power cells and wind turbines for the first time. It is now possible to have an illuminated sign that runs off its own power.

Which products should I use?

The LED market is, like all markets, filled with good products and bad products. LED lights are made on a single sheet called a wafer, much like computer chips. As many as 6000 LEDs can come from just one wafer. There are imperfections across the surface of each wafer so individual LEDs are graded once they are pressed out. Quality control differs from manufacturer to manufacturer so it is important to make sure you select a trusted supplier. There is a level of quality with LEDs ranging from the whitest, brightest lights through to the low cost mass produced LEDs that won’t last as long or give you the same quality of light.

There is little point investing in the cheapest possible LED lighting when the bulbs are going to have a short life-span. The electronics powering the LEDs are also important factors in the results you get from your LED lighting. Octink has invested considerable time and money into researching and partnering with the best LED suppliers in the UK and Europe. We understand the technology and are knowledgeable about all the products suitable for our customers.

LED Lighting Industry and Home LED Lighting

THE COLORED LED AND WHITE LED MARKETS

Whereas the market for colored (Red, Green, Blue) RGB LEDs is well established, the market for white LEDs is still growing. Why? When you think of industries that still rely on white, non-LED lighting, such as televisions, automotive manufacturers, computer monitors, notebook computers, LCD backlights, etc., you can understand the push to become the leader in white LED manufacturing. Many people are surprised that a business would pass up a revenue generating opportunity that converting a home or business to LED would create. However, just because replacement white LED bulbs and retrofits are finally on the market, does not mean that they should be on your immediate shopping list. In very simple terms, the market for colored and color-changing LEDs is mature. While engineers are still finding ways to make them brighter and more efficient, the holy grail of the LED industry is in developing volume production of high-efficiency, high-brightness white LEDs.

It may be easier to think of colored LEDs (RGB) and white LEDs in terms of another industry: Automotive. RGB LEDs are like the internal combustion engine: Reliable, abundant, easy to use and manufacture, and fairly well developed in terms of the potential for new or breakthrough technologies. There are lots on manufacturers and each has their own set of patents and “tricks of the trade” to help give themselves some marketing leverage over the competition. White LEDs are like the alternative energy industry for transportation: Quite varied, still relatively “new”, still needing to be market proven, more expensive, more challenging to manage. There are many manufacturers, each using a different technology or combination of technologies to achieve what they believe is the “the next big thing.” Following this analogy, RGB LEDs are mature enough to compete on cost alone and the drop in costs is what fuels new applications for colored LEDs that had not been thought of previously. White LEDs, on the other hand are still developing technically and should not be shopped based on cost alone. The need for quality and longevity is what fuels the further research and development into white LEDs.

11 THINGS TO CONSIDER IN DETERMINING LED UPGRADES

Because there are so many variables that need to be considered, making a quick and easy recommendation about transitioning to white LEDs is not possible. To get a jump start on the future, consider every lighting source in each room and establish what it’s primary purpose is. Once you have done this, review the following items to help determine where on the priority purchase-list each replacement should be. Here are a few general guidelines to help you determine if an LED upgrade is the right choice for you:

1.) Is the lighting located in a home where the primary resident is older or has mobility issues?

If the LED replacement produces adequate light levels, LED alternatives are perfect for use in homes where safety is a top priority. Knowing that an ill or older person will not need to change a burned-out light bulb again can provide peace-of-mind.

2.) Is initial cost a primary factor in determining if you are going to upgrade?

The current nature of the white LED market means that prices are still relatively high, especially compared to traditional lighting. Being an early adopter means paying a premium; are you comfortable with knowing you could have paid less for the same technology if you had waited?

3.) Is the light located in bright daytime sunlight or an area of high heat?

High levels of heat will noticeably shorten the lifespan of any LED, especially white LEDs. When considering LEDs, try to ensure that both the fixture and the location allow for adequate passive cooling to avoid color-shift and longevity issues. This is a much bigger concern when considering retrofit bulbs versus considering a “total package” LED fixture and lamp.

4.) Are you needing to reduce the heat output from a traditional light source?

In bathrooms, laundry rooms and small spaces, conventional lighting can produce uncomfortable heat. LED lighting is great for these areas because they produce no heat and because affordably illuminating smaller areas with LEDs presents much less of a challenge.

5.) Is the lighting located in an area of rough service or environmental extremes?

Garage door openers, unheated/cooled utility rooms and outdoor workshops place extreme demands of lighting equipment. Vibrations that can break a light bulb filament and cold temperatures that can cause a fluorescent tube to flicker are of no consequence to LED lighting, making these replacements a fairly easy decision.

6.) Is the brightness critical to the application?

LEDs are directional by nature, so trying to meet a specific brightness expectation over a wide area is not the best use of LED lamps. The current crop of standard fluorescent tubes or high-bay lighting will probably be more efficient for these applications.

7.) Are you trying to retrofit an existing lighting fixture to accommodate an LED replacement?

Most current lighting fixtures are designed to capture and reflect as much light as possible from conventional light sources that produce light from all 360 degrees. Because LEDs emit very directional light, there are often many compromises that must be made by manufacturers in order to make LEDs “work” for the greatest number of retrofits. When possible, instead of retrofit bulbs consider a “total package” LED lighting fixture that has been designed from the ground up to efficiently use LEDs.

8.) Is the light output and quality of the LED version acceptable compared to your existing lighting?

With the variety of lighting technology available (incandescent, fluorescent, LED, etc.) the only way to get an accurate idea of how the lighting will perform is to compare the light output or lumen and color temperature specifications instead of the wattage as is typical of most of us raised with traditional lighting in the home. The US Department of Energy has devised a standardized “lighting facts” label similar in concept to the nutrition label found on foods, to help consumers compare lighting.

9.) Are the bulbs you’re considering replacing difficult to access or reach?

If they are, LED replacements are great candidates because once they are changed, you will likely never have to change them again since LEDs do not “burn out” like a conventional bulb.

10.) Are you replacing all the light bulbs in a particular area or just a single bulb?

Unless you know the color temperature of all the lighting in the room, try to be consistent in whatever lighting technology you choose. For example, if your room uses primarily halogen lighting, it is likely a warm color temperature and changing a single reading lamp to LED with a cooler lighting temperature will not only be noticeable, but may also be distracting.

11.) Does the energy savings and/or return on investment (ROI) make it worthwhile at this point?Prepare an energy audit using free web calculators to determine how much money you will save on energy and what the potential return on investment is. Just enter your energy rates, the total wattage of your conventional lighting and the total wattage of the LED lighting that you are considering and the calculator will tell you exactly how much money each technology will cost you per year.

As you can see, every lighting situation should be considered individually against the above checklist. Doing so will help you to determine LED upgrade plans that fit within both your budget and your expectations. In general, LED lighting will continue to improve in both output and efficiency every year similar to the way the personal computer market has evolved. What could be considered a “middle of the road” LED lamp today, was very likely considered a premium product a year or two ago. Prioritizing your LED lighting purchases so that the basics are covered first and delaying your more demanding lighting requirements as the technology improves will ensure a comfortable transition to tomorrows lighting technology.