Major milestones and new advancements bring exciting new possibilities to the world of light-emitting diodes, or LED’s. With 20 million LED’s now illuminating U.S. buildings and dozens of thrilling new products in development, LED’s are increasingly surpassing other high-efficiency lighting.
The Economics of Energy-Saving Lighting
Innovative companies like Sustainable Investment Group often use energy-saving tools such as LED systems to help commercial developments establish energy efficiencies and achieve ENERGY STAR status. In addition to the terrific environmental benefits of these plans, ENERGY STAR-rated commercial buildings use about 35 percent less energy than other facilities. That energy savings translates to a considerable financial savings.
While both LED’s and CFL’s have higher purchase prices than incandescent bulbs, they boast lower operating costs and much longer lives. LED’s use 75 percent less energy than traditional lighting and last as much as 25 times longer. If every U.S. home replaced one incandescent light with an ENERGY STAR bulb, nearly $700 million in energy costs and 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions would be saved.
The Match-Up: CFL’s or LED’s?
CFL’s, or compact fluorescent lamps, have progressed mightily over the past two decades. Although they can save nearly as much energy as LED’s, they emit considerable heat, take 30 seconds to three minutes to illuminate fully and contain mercury vapor. That mercury can present breakage and environmental disposal challenges, even with new non-breakable casements.
LED’s, on the other hand, offer the most sustainable energy option and last about five times longer than CFL products. They emit almost no heat, which saves significantly on cooling costs. They light to full capacity instantly, aren’t sensitive to humidity or low temperatures and are extremely hardy. A recent two-year study by Oak Ridge National Laboratories revealed that buildings featuring LED’s used 55 percent less energy than buildings with CFL lighting.
Exciting New Developments
Lighting manufacturers recently revealed impressive new LED technologies at several worldwide shows. From three-way task lamps and new “white” lights to Bluetooth-enabled systems controlling 64 lamps, LED’s are lighting the way to more sustainable energy use. Other intriguing new developments in LED technology include glare-free downlights, flexible strips of LED’s, high-efficiency tubes and stellar organic LED’s available in flat panels of light.
With all of the compelling new technologies on the horizon, commercial building owners and managers can expect to see companies like Sustainable Investment Group continue to encourage use of LED’s in increasingly ingenious and beneficial ways.