I finally see the light: LED light bulbs // 11.14.2008 at 12:01 PM
by Alan Baker
LEDs, or light emitting diodes, have been around for quite some time. I remember as a kid when LEDs were pretty much only good for science experiments and simple indicator lights telling you a switch was on.
I had a friend who worked for an LED manufacturer and their target market was city governments looking to replace their street lights and traffic signals with more efficient and longer lasting LED.
These lights have obviously come a long way from the days of dim little red lights telling me I properly connected the postive and negative wires from my LED to my battery. Now, they can provide proper illumination.
We can even use them in the home. The incandescent light bulbs that most consumers use last an average of 1,000 hours of use. By comparison LED light bulbs typically last 60,000 hours. That's nearly 7 years of continuous, I-never-turn-off-the-lights usage.
When looking at energy consumption, the LED is the hands-down winner. A 60-Watt incandescent light bulbs uses, you guessed it 60 Watts of electricity. By comparison, the equivalent LED light bulb uses only 5 Watts. Over a 60,000 hour lifespan, you'll have used 300 kWh for the LED bulb and 3,600 kWh. Averaging $0.10 per kWh, you're looking at a cost savings of around $330.
Are they more expensive? Yes, but the longer life of the bulbs mitigates the cost. On the surface, the cost of the bulb looks daunting at around $45-50 per light bulb. But think about buying one LED light bulb in comparison to buying about 60 light bulbs. You'll pretty much break even on the cost of the light bulb itself. Factor in travel costs of going to the store 60 times to get light bulbs, and the energy costs saved, LED is the much cheaper option.
Tim Sanders on 11.24.2008 at 5:17 PM
This is the key: Finding alternatives that save money and energy at the same time.
With LED, depending on the installment, the ROI is short term given current power costs and instant when power costs spike (as they will, especially when the economy comes back).
Readers - see if there are LED substitute opps in your company's facilities. We've done it at home with CFLs, and that plan is a money/earth saver!
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