When talking about easy energy saving ideas, we often think first of compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. And while their energy efficiency is significantly better than traditional incandescent light bulbs, you might be surprised to discover that CFLs release about 80% of their energy as heat. On the contrary, ENERGY STAR® qualified Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights tend to be cool to the touch and emit light in a very focused and efficient way. In recent years, there’s been a broadening of LED applications, including different forms of portable, room and tabletop lighting.
How LED Lights Work
You’ve probably seen more LED lights than you realize — power indicator lights in coffeemakers, stereos, remote controls and other devices, for example. Here’s how they work: LEDs are a type of solid-state lighting, meaning they create light when electrons move through semiconductor material. In the best LED lights, a small amount of heat gets absorbed by part of the bulb (called a heat sink), making for a much more efficient — and literally “cooler” — light source.
The Potential Of LED Lights
Exciting new developments in LED technology have already produced some amazing results. We recently read about a 10-watt LED bulb developed by Philips Lighting North America, which won the first U.S. Department of Energy Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize (L PrizeSM). But even before August 2011, when the L Prize was awarded, other types of LED lights were successfully in use for things like traffic and streetlights, exit signs and even taillights on cars. You may have even used LED lights to brighten the holidays last year during our annual energy safety and efficiency program, Holiday Cents.
The buzz about new LED lights has a lot to do with the fact that they use about 75% less electricity and last about 25 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs. That could mean long-term savings on utility bills and a host of even bigger benefits for energy conservation. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that rapid adoption of LED technology could translate to $265 billion in energy savings in just the next two decades. At that rate, the demand for lighting-related electricity could be reduced by nearly a third by the year 2027.
LED Lights For Your Home
The BrightenSM Online Energy Store, an online resource from TXU Energy, has a variety of these new LED lights ranging from desk lamps and surface-mount ceiling lights to under-cabinet cove lighting and more. Whenever you’re shopping for LED lights, look for the ENERGY STAR label, which means you’re getting something that’s been rigorously tested to ensure quality manufacturing, constant and bright output with no flickering, and instant-on functionality.
Have you used any of the new LED lights yet in your home? How do you like the difference? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.