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Current and future economic challenges along with the increasingly widespread awareness of persistent global environmental issues has made it more necessary than ever to adopt energy efficient technologies and this has placed the lighting industry in a particularly auspicious position. As green-building practices mature, increased attention is being paid to extracting incremental savings from newer technologies. Lighting is at the forefront of this initiative because it is the single highest energy end-use across commercial buildings – in fact, estimates suggest that it draws 25% to 40% of total energy use. Cost-conscious building owners and consumers along with utilities’ energy-efficiency programs have taken notice and are purposely targeting lighting to achieve notable savings.

One of the most sensible ways to implement green technology across the board is via the utilization of Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs that, while initially associated with electronic gadgets, circuit boards, and flashlights, fast emerged into solid state lighting technology which achieved particularly promising results in the commercial lighting industry. Due to LED lighting's visual impact, high-efficiency performance and long-lasting attributes, it continues to successfully replace conventional lighting technology in countless commercial lighting applications with significant savings in energy costs. While the technology is decades old, it has become so refined within the past 24 months that practical, cost efficient LED replacements have been created for most incandescent, metal halide, high pressure sodium and fluorescent light bulbs.

According to multiple sources, including the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Appropedia, new and improved LEDs have the potential to provide good light output from 50,000 to 100,000 hours. The benefits of LED lighting are comprehensive, in that they:

  • Burn cooler and safer, reducing other companion energy costs such as air conditioning.
  • Are safe, non-toxic, durable, and very difficult to break, shatter or explode.
  • Deliver an effective source of direct light.
  • Help to reduce pollution associated with power plant generated energy and create far less landfill waste.

Available in the U.S. since the 1960s, LED lamps can be used for many applications, particularly because they last longer than current bulbs, they can be made in various different shapes and sizes, and their energy consumption could eventually be less than that of fluorescent lights. Unlike compact fluorescent bulbs, LEDs contain no mercury, they work quite well in cold weather and they generate a far more pleasing light. Furthermore, LEDs typically use 80% less energy than incandescent, 30% less energy than CFLs, and they can also be dimmed more cost effectively simply by varying the current. Both CFL and LED lighting technologies deliver impressive energy savings with marginal environmental risk, which is likely why GE Lighting is devoting 50% of their resources to each. Green LED Technology replacement light bulbs have proven to use 40% to 90% less energy than the traditional lighting that they replace and last a minimum of 50,000 hours with no maintenance necessary.

LED energy savings are substantially more than the cost of replacement bulb(s) considering that LEDs have an average life span of about 50,000 hours (as opposed to incandescent or high-intensity-discharge lights that have a life span of 3,000 hours or less). That translates into measurable financial savings based on the fact that fewer replacement bulbs must be purchased and LEDs are a consistently better performing product overall, generating a higher intensity light. The typical commercial consumer must be confident that their business will be sustainable (from 5-15 years) in order to appreciate the savings. Considering the challenging economic times that we live in, this narrows the penetrable market somewhat to federal, state and municipal governments as well as condominiums and public schools. Still, as worldwide governments continue to execute economic stimulus programs to combat the global downturn, the outlook for eco-friendly lighting that cuts carbon emissions and saves a significant amount of electricity looks quite positive due to heavy investments in public works projects.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 August 2010 19:51