Lighting is a necessity for virtually everyone on earth. Just over 10 decades ago we were just in the infancy of it all and appreciated the newness of being able to have light by just flipping a switch. Before this we had to light a gas or oil lamp.
About This New Lighting Technology: The LED
The LED, has come a long way since its inception and is advancing so fast that the latest advancements in the new technology are having a difficult time being incorporated into new products before more efficient lamps are being released. In the beginning, the LED lamp was run at a very low power, but now, with advancements in manufacture along with junction design efficiencies and larger packages, they are being beefed up and with this they are offering direct competition and replacing many of our past incandescent lamp applications.
One just has to look at the city of Las Vegas just after dusk to realize what we have. Buried within the maze of glitter are some of the latest in lighting advancements. There are the CFL’s. Some mercury vapor types, a few unmentionables and of course the neon along with the long time standard, the incandescent. Oh! I almost forgot the latest entry into our ever-expanding lighting industry… the Light Emitting Diode (the LED).
The industry is finding so many more uses for this new light source that all of our present… contemporary lighting is unable to compete with… Namely the LEDs ability to change its color with a virtually infinite spectrum range and at the same time give off so little heat in the process. Admittedly, there is still the initial cost factor, but their benefits are an extremely quick and continuous payback lowering their effective cost. The biggest advantage of the LED however is their much lower operating impact on our energy consumption… to begin with and the most important of all.
One of the toughest roads the LED will and is even now facing are retrofits into the well entrenched and long standing contemporary mainstream lighting. Given that the world is in a quagmire over the present use of the energy that we now have available and are looking for ways to cut down on the use of “fossil fuels” and the possible consequences of not doing so, I believe the LED is in an advantageous position for this market. It has been loosely estimated by the U.S. Department of Energy that if LED lighting were incorporated to their maximum into our present lighting industry that by the year 2025 we could save approximately $ 128 billion on lighting energy costs.
Advantages Unique To LEDs Only
Some of the more recent uses for LEDs have been where lighting is needed in remote areas where power utilities are not readily available and any of our contemporary lighting use in such areas would be cost prohibitive such as a simple flashing red light along some remote stretch of a highway, or a remotely located railroad crossing, where solar power is able to be used because of the much lower power consumption of the LEDs. Placement of traffic lighting in these crucial locations could possibly save some lives, thus justifying their costs.
The advantage of such use of LEDs is their low maintenance costs. It is hoped that the trend in the recent technological advancements continue, giving us even greater uses for LEDs that could enhance our lives even further and in the process lower the use of our precious fuels, whether they be fossil or renewable.