With our world become more and more interested in energy efficiency, “green” energy and responsible use of natural resources, most people have heard about LED lighting. More specifically, most people have heard that an LED light bulb is a safe and extremely power-efficient way to light a home, a store or an office. The fact is that many homes and businesses have already made the switch to LED-based lighting, because it is an incredibly easy thing to do. Many devices in your home or at your work may already work with LED’s. They are so common that many people simply don’t notice them anymore.
LED lighting has become a hot topic of conversation in the last few years as its use becomes more widespread, but Light Emitting Diodes have been in use since 1962! The first incarnation of the LED light bulb, however, couldn’t have lit an entire building, or even an entire room for that matter! They could emit only very low-intensity light, and they couldn’t be any color other than red. Even when other colors became possible, it simply wasn’t possible to make an LED bright enough to use as business or residential lighting. LEDs in those days were mainly used as indicator lights on electronic devices, or as the numbers on digital clocks.
Advances in technology have allowed the LED light bulb to reach its full potential, however. No longer the small glowing dots of light that told us when the power was on or whether the batteries were getting low, LED lighting can come in as many colors as designers can imagine and it can be powerful enough not only for indoor lighting, but for outdoor floodlighting as well. Fortunately the revamp in LED technology hasn’t taken away LED light bulbs’ ability to shine for a long, long time without needing to be changed, and while consuming only a fraction of the energy needed to power an incandescent or fluorescent bulb. This efficiency allows LED lighting to be put to use in many different ways.
The first place many people see an LED light bulb is in their own home. These bulbs are made to replace old-style incandescent bulbs, so they can be placed into the light fixtures that are already part of the building. They come in different shapes and sizes to fulfill the same roles as incandescent or fluorescent lighting, so they can replace small desk lamp bulbs as well as long, tube-style fluorescent ceiling lamps. LED flashlights are also becoming very common. The long life of an LED flashlight makes it useful during unexpected power-outages.
LED light bulbs are also encountered outdoors. Many traffic lights have been converted to LED technology. The long life of these lights lowers the possibility of traffic lights going out, and reduces the time that workers need to spend in the dangerous situation of working in traffic. Since an LED light bulb can be created in many different colors, this type of lighting also sees a lot of decorative use. Floodlighting the face of a building in beautiful colors used to be very expensive in both energy and money. LEDs make it possible to have colorful outdoor light shows at a comparatively low cost.
The automotive industry is also making extensive use of the LED light bulb. Decorative LED lights on cars have been in use for a long time but more and more cars are being made with LED headlights and taillights. These burn much longer than traditional car lights, making the car safer to drive in low-visibility conditions. Interior automotive lighting is also being converted to LED technology, which is convenient for drivers who want to be certain of having a reliable light source at all times.
The LED light bulb may not be a new invention, but it is seeing new uses in more and more places. Because of its safety, its flexibility and its high degree of energy efficiency, LED lighting technology is only going to become more and more common in our homes, our businesses and our cities. Making the switch may seem expensive, but it saves money in the long run. It’s a safe, green way to save money, save the environment and keep up with the latest technology.