LED lights have revolutionized the lighting industry. As it stands today, the most energy- efficient lighting source is the LED (light emitting diode) bulb. This is in comparison with its nearest counterpart, the CFL (compact fluorescent lights). As to their predecessor, the familiar incandescent bulb, its inefficient, energy-wasting days are all but over.
LED lights today
- The LED light today is the most energy efficient bulb on the market today, saving far more power than the CFL.
- It also has a longer life expectancy which can readily be determined when comparing the life expectancy statistics on the packaging.
- The LED light is safer as it contains no mercury. The mercury content of CFLs always presented a concern for the safety of homeowners as a broken bulb was a potentially significant hazard.
- Unlike the CFL which needs to warm up, LED lights switch on instantly.
- LED lights generate less heat than CFLs which reduces the need for air conditioning.
- LED light prices are becoming more affordable as higher demand and production have met with competition amongst manufacturers who lowered their rates in response.
- LED lights have been shown to be effective for indoor plant growth which has many implications for indoor farming in areas where there is a lack of sunshine.
The Evolution of LED lighting technology
One of the initial concerns expressed by consumers when LED lighting products emerged onto the market was that they were not compatible with existing light fittings. This was where the CFL maintained its advantage to a significant degree in existing structures as it could be used in the fittings which had accommodated incandescent bulbs.
Users found the cost of retrofitting a structure to allow for the use of LED lights prohibitive and elected to focus only on ensuring that new structures were wired to accommodate LED lights.
Much research and development were done in this regard, and after some adjustments, today the consumer can purchase LED lights that can fit into traditional light fittings. This has allowed a whole new segment of buyers to enter the LED market, further driving competition in this fast-developing field.
The future of LED lighting
LED lighting is here to stay for the foreseeable future. The technological advances and consumer concerns raised when it was first marketed drove its evolution. The most current application being explored for the market is the use of the LED light to replace recessed light bulbs. Also, the LED light is being touted as the ideal solution to installing light fittings in limited spaces.
Research suggests that there are many more ways in which the LED light can be modified and improved to suit the needs of the burgeoning consumer market further. So, the future of the LED light is both literally and figuratively bright!
Where to from here?
Of course, innovations and advancements are continually being explored as it is in our nature as humans to never stand still but seek new ways of making our lives better. Enter the laser diode. It is widely believed that we will be using lasers for lighting in the future, although the development of such products has only explored the tip of the iceberg.
The laser diode is smaller than the LED and research suggests that in the future, one laser diode could light up an entire house, producing about 1000 times more light than an LED light, and using only about 2/3 of the energy. This would be possible with the use of a fiber optic cable to distribute the light. Vehicle manufacturer BMW is experimenting with laser diodes on its i8 hybrid vehicle.
The full and final transition to laser diode lighting is still many years away as there is still much research and development required. Experts agree that LED lights are the future right now and that their full potential has yet to be explored.