Lumiere Elec­tric: Mr. LED, noted win­ner of the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics, thank you for com­ing back for Part 2 of our inter­view. You’ll be address­ing the LED’s ben­e­fits to home­own­ers, among other things. Is this correct?

Mr. LEDYes, that is cor­rect. But for a refresher, I do sug­gest review­ing our first inter­view.

Lumiere Elec­tric: By all means … but, first, an obvi­ous point: won’t the Amer­i­can pub­lic miss the incan­des­cent bulb? It’s iconic design has become part of our cul­tural heritage.

Mr. LED: I’m well aware of the Amer­i­can fas­ci­na­tion with nos­tal­gia, even when some­thing lacks effi­ciency or has a wor­thy suc­ces­sor. But they’ll get over it. The incan­des­cent was not very energy effi­cient. It only con­verted 10% of the energy to pro­duce light. The rest — 90% of the energy — was lost on heat. Even the most nos­tal­gic among us would not find that very appealing.

Lumiere Elec­tric: True. But what about the CFL? The com­pact flo­res­cent is dom­i­nat­ing the light bulb mar­ket­place right now. How will the LED com­pete with it?

Mr. LED: Through fur­ther edu­ca­tion, pri­mar­ily. Hands down, the LED pro­duces bet­ter qual­ity light than a CFL, and does so at a lower cost and with less of an impact to the envi­ron­ment. These exam­ples are for an equiv­a­lent 60-watt bulb:

  • LEDs have an aver­age life span of 30,000 hours com­pared to 8,000 for CFLs
  • LEDs con­tain no mer­cury. CFLs con­tain mer­cury, a highly toxic metal
  • LEDs use less power (watts) and annual oper­at­ing costs are 50% less than CFLs
  • LEDs pro­duces 50% less CO2 emis­sions than CFLs

For home­own­ers desir­ing out­door light­ing Trees_Lightedfor both secu­rity and aes­thet­ics, the LED is def­i­nitely the way to go. CFLs need to be pro­tected from the ele­ments and are bet­ter suited for ambi­ent light­ing and not for direct­ing a beam of light on a par­tic­u­lar object. For a spot­light­ing a water fea­ture, for exam­ple, an LED light is the best choice. LEDs are also per­fect for hol­i­day lighting.

Lumiere Elec­tric: Thanks for explain­ing the obvi­ous ben­e­fits of the LED over the CFL. Indeed, impres­sive stuff. What about your construction?

Mr. LED: I’m made of tougher, more resilient stuff and the tech­nol­ogy is pretty cool. I’ll be light­ing up rooms for a long, long time.

Lumiere Elec­tric: Can you elab­o­rate on how an LED pro­duces light?

Mr. LED: Sure. Bear with me. It may get a bit tech­ni­cal. The light from an LED comes from a pin-hole-sized semi­con­duc­tor and is mea­sured in lumi­nous inten­sity, or lumens. A 100 watt bulb, for exam­ple, is rated approx­i­mately 1700 lumens. And how well a light source pro­duces light is called effi­cacy. The higher effi­cacy num­ber, the better.

Lumiere Elec­tric: What about price?
Until recently, con­sumers have found it hard to ratio­nal­ize spend­ing approx­i­mately $40 for a sin­gle 100-watt-equivalent bulb. But prices have come down to about $20 for a 100-watt and are in the $10 to $15 range for 40– and 60-watt equivalents.

Mr. LED: Here’s the pièce de résis­tance. Spend­ing a lit­tle extra on a light bulb that burns brightly for 30,000 or more hours is always going to be money well spent. That’s a 30-plus-year life span and 30x more hours of light than a sim­i­lar incan­des­cent. Sans equiv­oque, the LED will be a boon for Amer­i­can home­own­ers. It’ll save tax­pay­ers bil­lions, decrease our depen­dence on imported oil and even reduce green­house gas emis­sions, n’es pas?

Lumiere Elec­tric: Mr. LED, you cer­tainly know light­ing and have made an excel­lent case for your­self. I want to thank you – and maybe I should thank you as well for the French lesson.

Mr. LED: That’s not nec­es­sary. It just so hap­pens to be what I do. But thanks.

Lumiere Elec­tric: What do you mean exactly?

Mr. LED: It’s my job. I illu­mi­nate the world each and every day. Merci encore!

Click here to read  An Inter­view with Mr. LED, Win­ner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics: Part 1