Low energy LED lights are expensive, but the price is coming down rapidly and they use a pittance of electricity
Low energy LED lights are all the rage right now, but you can't avoid the fact that they're hideously expensive. Even the smallest LED bulb of a decent wattage (a minimum of 10-12, which is about the equivalent of a 60-75 watt incandescent) costs tens of dollars. That's significantly more than even one of those CFL bulbs.
So why bother?
We're so glad you asked. In this article, we'll take a look at why LED light bulbs are the coolest thing since sliced pickles.
A Bit of Background
We've all seen LED lights before. "LED" is short for "light emitting diode," and they've been used as indicator lights for electronics for decades, not to mention for the readouts of some alarm clocks. But LED light bulbs are a significant evolution of those pedestrian uses.
As it turns out, if you put a big grouping of these little LEDs together with a few radiator fins, you can produce a surprising amount of light without using a lot of energy. In fact, an LED bulb uses 95% less electricity than an equivalent incandescent uses.
Some Economic Advantages
Just think about that, and what it translates to in the real world. If an LED light bulb uses just 5% of the energy used to power an incandescent bulb, that means you can operate 20 LED bulbs for the energy costs of one incandescent. That's pretty impressive from an economic standpoint.
Let's do the math here. One 100-watt equivalent LED light uses maybe $4 worth of electricity a year. A 100-watt incandescent can use as much as $75-80 of electricity a year. Can you see now why lighting accounts for so much of your electric bill?
And get this: LED bulbs last up to 50 times as long as standard incandescents, all other things being equal. That's about 50,000 hours -- over five and a half years. That pays for most of the cost of an LED right there, and the electrical savings pay for the rest.
One More Thing...
I'd like to leave you with one other consideration: a little something called Haitz's law, which observes that LED costs have dropped precipitously over the decades, while the amount of light generated per unit of energy applied has risen significantly.
What does that mean? Simple. It won't be long before incandescent bulbs are extinct because they're too wasteful. Compact fluorescents probably won't last much longer. Low energy LED lights are the wave of the future, so you may as well catch that wave today.