Green light: LED lighting more energy efficient
Commonly used to light up gadgets and everyday household appliances since the 1960s, LED lights are now outshining fluorescent and incandescent bulbs as the best alternative for energy-efficient lighting.
You’ve seen LED lights before – in your car stereo, your computer and even next to the on and off switch on your TV.
LED lights have been used in electronics for over 50 years, but it’s only recently that their technology has been adapted on a larger scale to light up rooms, buildings and signs; giving their fluorescent, halogen and incandescent bulb brethren a run for their money.
The greener alternative
With a longer life span of up to 50,000 hours, LED lights are being hailed as a greener lighting solution because of the many features they have over their filament burning, gas heating lighting compatriots.
In comparison to other bulbs and lighting tubes, LEDs are more durable and can withstand a relative amount of vibration and shock because they’re usually made of plastic.
This also allows LEDs to be more compact in size and conform to different shapes, making them perfect for tube and strip lights, downlights and other types of directional lighting.
LEDs also use less power by operating on a lower voltage, which makes them cool to touch when turned on. An LED will usually light up as soon as you turn it on and its bulb isn't prone to bust even if you switch it on and off or dim the lights repetitively.
This is because LEDs use a semiconductor to produce light – as opposed to traditional incandescent bulbs, halogen lights and fluorescent tubes - which produce light by burning a filament or heating up gases to produce a relatively small amount of light in comparison to the amount of heat they generate.
How do LEDs work?
The acronym LED stands for Light Emitting Diode, which basically means that it releases light by passing electricity through a diode.
The part that creates light inside the LED is usually made out of aluminum-gallium-arsenide (AlGaAs) and this diode is used as a simple semiconductor to release light from the moving electrons found in the electrical current passed through it.
The electrons then release their energy by producing photons, which are the atomic particles that emit light.
The shape of the LED bulb then pushes the photons forward to the rounded end and sides of the bulb, so that the light shines outwards.
This process actually makes LED lights more energy efficient because they use diodes to specifically produce light particles instead of heating filaments or gas, which produce more heat than light.
Find out more about How Light Emitting Diodes Work at the HowStuffWorks website.
LED Light Quality Assurance
Although LED lights have begun to flood the market, it’s best to check that the brand you’re buying has passed through the Lighting Council of Australia’s standards.
The Lighting Council runs an SSL Quality Scheme to give LED lights the tick of approval by measuring their energy efficiency, light output and colour requirements.
All LED lighting products that have passed through the SSL Quality Scheme are given a label (pictured above) to indicate that the LED lights you’re buying meet Australian standards.
The link the the Lighting Council of Austalia doesn't work (it has your address in front of the real one). Now fixed. Thanks Ed.
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