With the current economic problems and global climate change that we face today, new innovations have never been more important. Dubbed as “a pivotal emerging technology,” by the United States Department of Energy, light emitting diodes or LEDs have set the new standard for greener lighting. Once used basketball scoreboards, cellphone consoles, traffic lights and colored Christmas lights, rapid improvements have enabled its use in buildings and streets.
There are several benefits to this new lighting. First, durability. LEDs are estimated to last for 22 years or more and they contain no toxic materials like fluorescent lights, thus disposal is not a problem. The fixtures itself are semi-permaneant in comparison to the disposable lightbulbs. Secondly, LEDs are more than twice as efficient as fluorescent lights which is currently the choice form of energy saving lighting.
Thirdly “Studies suggest that a complete conversion to the lights could decrease carbon dioxide emissions from electric power use for lighting by up to 50 percent in just over 20 years; in the United States, lighting accounts for about 6 percent of all energy use. A recent report by McKinsey & Company cited conversion to LED lighting as potentially the most cost effective of a number of simple approaches to tackling global warming using existing technology. ”
However, as always there are drawbacks. Because it is a fairly new piece of technology, cities are cautioned in taking rash actions that could lead to dissatisfaction. Also the initial cost may scare away some homeowners. “An outdoor LED spotlight today costs $100, as opposed to $7 for a regular bulb.” LEDs generally provide only “directional light” rather than a panoramic glow, making it better suited for streetlights or ceiling lights rather than lamps.
Especially with President Obama energy stimulus bill, cities such as San Jose, Calif. have explored the possibility and “plans to use $2 million in energy-efficiency grants to install 1,500 LED streetlights.”
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