The Benefits of LED Lighting
LED bulbs have been available for several years, when they were originally introduced they were very expensive, had a low light output and poor light color, that has now changed, prices have reduced dramatically and there is now a huge range of bulbs on offer with various light outputs, colors and beam angles.
Why Choose LED Lighting?
They have a working life of approximately 50,000 hours compared to an incandescent lamp which is approximately 2000 hours. This has significant benefits in terms of maintenance cost savings, especially for commercial premises, an incandescent bulb would need to be replaced 25 times during the lifetime of one LED equivalent. The cost saving is not just the reduction in the work hours of the maintenance staff required to replace the bulbs, but also the cost of purchasing the 25 replacement incandescent light bulbs.
The environmental benefits of are many, reduction in mercury content, reductions in carbon emissions not just because they require less power but because 25 incandescent bulbs need to be manufactured to provide the same service as one LED bulb. See the energy consumption table for more information.
They are considered to be the safest type of light source because they produce very little heat, do not shatter and do not contain mercury or a filament.
Additional advantages compared to other types of bulb are that they are not adversely affected by vibration so are useful in harsh environments, they produce instant maximum light output compared to a CFL type lamp, there lifespan is not affected by switching on and off, and they are physically small in size.
LED Bulb types
The most common type of bulb is the MR16, which is about 45mm or just under two inches in diameter, it usually has either a GU10 type bayonet or a two pin connector on its base which connects to its power source.
Various powers are available 3, 4, 5 and 7 watt are the most common, the 7 watt and is equivalent to a 60 watt incandescent or 50 watt halogen bulb.
Dimmable bulbs are now available, the GU10 bayonet fitting type are powered by mains voltage and the 2 pin base type by a low voltage transformer usually 12 volts.
The beam angles available range from a narrow 20 degrees to a wide 70 degrees, the type chosen would depend upon the lighting requirement, a narrow beam might be used to light a picture or object, whilst a wide beam would be used for general lighting in a living room for example.
Bulbs are available in a range colors, the warm white type are commonly used in the home, the color is similar to that produced by a halogen lamp. Cool white which is similar to that of fluorescent lights are often used in shops and offices. Daylight which is a very white light with a tinge of blue is often used in bathrooms and kitchens
Some bulbs are powered directly from the mains supply these are normally the type with a GU10 bayonet base, the type with a 2 pin connector use a 12 volt DC supply, a transformer must be used to reduce the mains voltage to 12 volts, because the lamp draws so little current a special type of transformer is required, commonly called a LED driver.
Drivers are available with various power ratings, the most common are 10 and 30 watts, several bulbs can be powered from each driver, to calculate divide the driver rating by the bulb rating, for example a 100w driver could power 5 x 20w bulbs.