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LED Lighting: The Future Looks Bright

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Aug 11, 2012 01:02 AM
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by Brent Turner last modified Aug 10, 2012

There is perhaps no technology that promises more and raises more debate than LED lighting. Proponents will say it lasts virtually forever and is super energy efficient as well as non-polluting. Detractors will call it cost-prohibitive, an environmental bait and switch, lighting that looks like it came from an alien mothership.  So what's the real story about LEDs? Because most decisions are made ultimately with the pocketbook in mind, let's start with the math: LED Is for the Long Term According to : "A conventional 60-watt bulb lasts about 1,000 hours, uses 60 watts of electricity (duh) and costs $180 to run for 25,000 hours. The LED equivalent lasts 25,000 hours (nearly three years if you left it on 24/7), uses 12.5 watts and costs $37.50 to run for 25,000 hours."  I've outlined the math below. Now the calculations above are based on the Philips Ambient 12 Watt LED Medium Base Light Bulb , a light bulb that fits into any medium base fixture, intended to replace incandescent bulb usage. However, there are also tons of designs available with the LEDs built right into the design. The Equo from Koncept Lighting (pictured at the top of this post) is a perfect example of such a design. The cool, bright and lightweight LEDs are ideal for adjustable task lighting applications.  What about the LED color? For that, we turn to color temperature. A Warmer, Gentler LED You most likely have heard an incandescent bulb described as a "warm" light. This look or feel of the light is its color temperature. Lower color temperatures (in the range of 2700K to 3000K) appear yellow/white and are referred to as "warm"; higher color temperatures (5000K and higher) appear blue/white and are referred to as cool. LED lighting has typically been associated with these harsh looking higher color temperatures. But that is changing. Increasingly, LEDs are reaching down into the warm 3000K range, resulting in color akin to incandescent bulbs and much more natural light than most fluorescent lights. The environmental impact of LED lighting is difficult to compare directly against other options, but the circumstantial data is encouraging. Requiring 1/5 to 1/10 the energy of an incandescent bulb, LEDs clearly reduce strain on power plants. With a life span of decades, not months, LEDs reduce strain on landfills.   Unlike the compact fluorescent light (CFL), the LED doesn't contain toxic mercury.   Natural looking. Cost effective. Environmentally friendly. LEDs are a slam dunk, right? Well, assuming you find a style you like, the answer is probably yes. Here are a few designs that have been catching my eye: WAC Uber 5 1/2" Wide Platinum LED Pendant Light Koncept Gen 3 Equo Daylight LED Desk Lamp Black Dual Brass Bernie Turbo LED Tilt Base Holtkoetter Floor Lamp In the interview Cori conducted last week with Edmund Ng and Kenneth Ng of Koncept , they discussed the role of aesthetics in designing for LEDs. "Both form and function are equally important," explained the Ng brothers. "New materials enable new designs.  If we find a good material, we are able to create an exciting design around it." It's this type of commitment to design, technology and, ultimately, cost that lead me to believe the future looks bright for LEDs.    Images: Koncept , Kozai Modern , Toni Spilsbury






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