Tuesday, October 16, 2007

LED Lighting

Read an article on TreeHugger that summarized an article on Green Talk. Mostly they're discussing commercial applications, which are more ready for the market than residential uses, but I decided to check out residential LED options.

After doing some research on LED light bulbs, I think there is some disingenuous thinking and comparison going on. As far as I can tell, the standard/best LED replacement bulb produces about 120 lumens. The equivalent of a 25 watt light bulb. This would work well in an area where multiple bulbs are already in use, such as a vanity cabinet, or a ceiling lamp/fan fixture with multiple bulbs. Of course, these are applications where the quality of the light is probably more important.

One of the comparisons I've seen repeatedly is that a single LED bulb will save $250-350 over its lifetime, compared to a standard bulb. One such comparison was between a 2W LED bulb and a 60W incandescent. Of course, the comparison didn't point out that to get a similar lumen rating, it would take 6-8 LED bulbs, thereby raising both the upfront costs, and the operating costs. And the need to find additional fixtures to put all those additional bulbs in. Not counting the cost of fixtures, this reduces the savings to $25-$120 over the course of the life of the bulb. Most of that cost is in the initial purchase the bulbs. At those costs, adoption is only going to occur among the hard core with money. CFL's per bulb price point is going to make them much more attractive, though there are still some light quality issues that I've observed in the few that I've installed.

LED lighting needs to make an advance in 3 areas: cost per bulb, per bulb output and light quality, and as one of the commenters on TreeHugger said, "And by the time WalMart and friends have successfully switched the masses to CFLs, it'll be time to re-educate everyone on how wasteful CFLs are compared to the next generation LEDs".

Want to see some LED lighting vendors and prices?
C. Crane