LED Light Bulbs Are Seen as the Future of Economical Home Lighting


LED Light Bulbs Are Seen as the Future of Economical Home Lighting

There is little doubt that the long reign of the tungsten filament globe is destined to come to an end in the near future. Already, the sale of these units has been banned in some countries and the reason for their governments’ concern is certainly a valid one. They may be cheap and have a lifespan of anything up to twelve hundred hours but, watt for watt, their performance is seriously outclassed by some of the more recent forms of illumination, such as compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs.

When developing his incandescent globe, Edison’s main focus was on ways in which to extend the lifespan of the filament, rather than reducing its energy consumption. As a result, for more than a century, most of the electricity consumed by households has been expended as heat rather than contributing to illumination. While both manufacturers and consumers knew that tungsten globes quickly became too hot to touch, only when concerns regarding the impact of excessive energy demands on the environment began to emerge, did the search for a more energy-efficient alternative to the incandescent filament gather serious momentum.

The last of the three main alternatives to emerge, although certainly not the least, were the LED light bulbs, which have proved to be the most energy-efficient option to date by far. While the inclusion of traces of iodine in tungsten halogen globes improved their efficiency to some extent, it is the compact fluorescents and light-emitting diodes that are dominating today’s market, and with good reason. While quite a bit more expensive than conventional filament globes, they consume just 14 watts to deliver as much light as a 60-watt tungsten unit. Moreover, with an average lifespan of around 25 000 hours, you can expect them to last more than 20 times longer as well.

Initially, some consumers expressed reservations about the new LED light bulbs, claiming that their bluish-white light was a little too clinical and that it failed to create a feeling of warmth. While the tendency to burn with a pure white light may still be a problem with some of the cheaper brands, the better-quality products are perfectly able to deliver that rich warm illumination that users of the old-fashioned tungsten globes have long become used to.

One other criticism levelled at this form of lighting when it was first introduced was that it could not be dimmed. Once again, the problem has since been overcome with the development of a new breed of dimmable LED light bulbs. However, not only have their properties been improved, so too have their designs. In addition to the flat-faced variety with their built-in reflectors, there are now spherical units and models shaped like candles available with either a pearl or clear glass finish that offer just as much scope for the budding interior designer as their energy-guzzling incandescent predecessors.

For eco-warriors, perhaps the biggest incentive to exchange hot filament globes for cool-burning and equally cool-looking LED light bulbs is that, while electricity is mainly generated by burning fossil fuels, each LED fitted will mean 800 kilogrammes less CO2 released into the atmosphere, during its lifetime, than by the 20 or so tungsten globes that would be needed instead.