Image by Skakerman
There are many advantages to LED lighting and very few disadvantages. Most people looking into replacing standard or halogen lighting with LEDs whether in home, office or other commercial premises usually come to the conclusion that it’s something better done sooner rather than later.
The advantages of LED lighting fall into four broad categories, namely financial, environmental, safety and design.
The most common reason for choosing to switch to LED is the long-term cost saving implications. Simply put, they’re more expensive to buy, but far cheaper to run as they use less electricity, so typically pay for themselves over an 18 month period or less.
Ongoing energy bills associated with lighting can be reduced by up to 90%. That’s because LED lights are a very efficient light source, using far less power to produce the same brightness of light when compared with traditional lighting.
According to UK Government statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, UK electricity prices have risen by over 50% during the last five years. This has caused an understandable increased interest in saving energy costs, with LEDs one of the easiest to implement.
As well as using far less power, LEDs are also much more durable. A typical LED light bulb is usually guaranteed to last between 30,000 and 50,000 hours, with most lasting longer still in practice. This is around ten times the life of halogen or other bulbs and means ongoing maintenance costs are significantly reduced – particularly for businesses and public services with lighting in difficult to access areas.
What’s more, there are various private and public sector grants and financing arrangements available for LED lighting installations to help firms overcome the initial outlay. This, of course, is due to the second major area of LED benefits: environmental factors.
LED lights help reduce the carbon footprint in a relatively easy way. There’s also no mercury, unlike fluorescent lights, so no special arrangements for disposal or recycling need to be made. And there’s reduced light pollution as LEDs produce light which can be more accurately directed.
Finally from an environmental perspective, LED lights don’t produce ultra-violet or infra-red radiation, which is particularly beneficial for applications in museums and stately homes where conventional lights could otherwise damage fabrics, paintings and other exhibits.
From a Health and Safety perspective, there’s no glass with LEDs. Instead, they’re encased in robust plastic housing – particularly useful in food processing industries etc., where glass can be a problem. They’re also more hygienic as some LEDs come in fully-sealed units rather than in an “open” reflecting, luminaire form. Therefore, dust and insects can’t gather inside the unit. This makes such units useful for hospitals, food processing plants, care homes and the like.
LEDs also present less of a fire risk as they produce “cold” unlike hot-burning halogens – and this also means insurance costs are reduced.
Design-wise, LEDs are often preferred as they don’t flicker or strobe, are generally more aesthetically pleasing and robust, with instant light, achieving maximum brightness immediately.
All in all, the only true disadvantage is the initial outlay which is relatively high; otherwise, LEDs are the way forward.