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. LED: Yes, 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 for 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!