Ever wondered how LED light bulbs came into the spotlight?
Due to climate change fears, one of the biggest trends for 2008 and 2009 was energy conservation. Yet despite significant efforts to reduce energy usage in our homes and offices, it seems that real results would have to take much more. This problem eventually led to a focus on light bulbs and energy efficiency.
Light bulbs may look small and insignificant, but if you have more than a dozen running your home, you can really see some changes on your electric bill if you install low energy solutions. Lighting takes up to 20% of your home's energy consumption, and that's already with the use of popular compact fluorescent lamps, which are popular due to their longer lifespan and low energy use. If you use incandescent bulbs, that number can go as high as 30%.
In retrospect, it's amazing what only a few years can do. In the early 2000s, CFLs were hailed as the next big thing in the world of lighting. But as the public found out about the fact that they contain mercury, a crucial component in their lighting process, it became fairly evident that a new lighting standard would have to be introduced. Everyone knows that mercury is nasty stuff, and breaking a bulb meant having to dispose of the materials carefully.
Despite the heightened focus on LED light bulbs, light-emitting diodes themselves have been around for decades. They're fairly common; in fact, if you take a look around your home, you're likely to come across one you may have ignored prior to reading this article. They're frequently used in electronic devices, such as remote controls, regular appliances and computers. More recently, LEDs have been used to light high-definition television panels.
With insides more similar to electronic devices than lighting systems, LEDs are simple, clean, and more importantly, highly efficient. They contain no sensitive parts such as filaments and are incredibly durable and long lived.
Compared to CFLs, LED light bulbs are also clearly superior. As mentioned earlier, they're clean and completely free of mercury, or any other toxic material for that matter. They also turn on instantly, unlike CFLs which require a few minutes to power up to full strength. They don't burn out, and are resistant to extreme temperatures.
But as with all great things however, there's always a catch. LED light bulbs are very expensive, with bulbs costing up to $100 in 2008 and 2009. But prices have dropped steadily since then, thanks to the efforts of both lighting manufacturers and early adopters who believe in the potential of LEDs.