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LED Lighting Environmental Impact: 10 Ways LEDs Help the Planet
The advent of LED lighting technology has proven to be a game-changer for environmental- and energy-related matters.
Over the last ten to fifteen years, it has demonstrated to be an easy, cost-saving approach for manufacturers and consumers to reduce their long-term effect on the environment and decrease large electricity expenses.
LED bulbs have shown to have much less of an environmental impact than high-intensity discharge (HID), fluorescent, or incandescent lamps. This considers their entire product lifecycle, from manufacturing to transport to disposal.
10 Ways That LED Lighting is Environmentally Friendly
LED lights are a cost-effective way to reduce energy consumption. LED luminaires are as much as 80 percent more efficient than conventional lighting such as incandescent and fluorescent lights. Higher upfront costs of LED lights are recouped within months. This is due to immediate savings that are realized on energy costs.
Another way that they demonstrate efficiency is that they have “instant-on” capability, which saves energy. By contrast, HID lights, such as metal halide and high-pressure sodium, have a long “warm-up” period when turned on before the lights can reach their optimal intensity. The material inside these lights needs time to evaporate into plasma. This period requires more voltage to operate.
Another downside to using HID lights is that they become less efficient over time as their lighting quality degrades. This is not the case for LED lights. They provide the same quality of lights throughout almost their entire lifespan.
2. No Toxic Elements
LEDs are easy to dispose of and are fully recyclable. Because of this, no special handling is required for their disposal. They can be taken to any standard recycling center without having to worry about special considerations.
By way of comparison, HID and fluorescent lights have small amounts of mercury inside their glass tubing. Since mercury is toxic, even modest amounts are a problem for waste incinerators and landfills where the mercury from lamps might be discharged and contribute to air and water pollution. Disposal of them requires special handling. It must be arranged through a registered waste carrier.
3. Long Lifespan
LED Lights can last up to six times longer than other types of lights. This means that you need fewer replacements. Consequently, fewer resources are needed for manufacturing processes, packaging materials, and transportation. This also means lower maintenance and repair costs.
Typically, LED lights run at full capacity for at least 60,000 hours. In some cases, they can last up to 100,000 hours. That is two to four times as long as most metal halide, or high-pressure sodium lights. They have more than 40 times the lifespan of standard incandescent bulbs.
4. Zero Uv Radiation
If a lot of powerful HID lights are needed to illuminate a large area, it becomes a big safety concern. Most HIDs emit a considerable amount of UV radiation and necessitate specific UV-blocking filters to meet safety standards in industrial areas.
Excessive amounts of UV radiation can cause health issues that can be detrimental to people in a facility. These include eye and skin damage. It can also be damaging to sensitive materials such as paintings.
LED lights do not have this problem. They do not emit any UV radiation. No filters are required to meet these standards.
LED lights are more likely than other types to endure harsh vibrations, corrosion, or moisture. They are better able to handle harsh outdoor environments as well. This is due to solid-state lighting technology. This means that LED lights use diodes instead of plasma, gas, or electrical filaments. Brittle glass bulbs/tubes and long thin filament wires used in older lighting technologies are not nearly as durable as LED lighting.
No glass is used in an LED light’s construction. This means that there is nothing that can shatter and cause safety issues. This is especially important where there is a danger of glass shards becoming a hazard to personnel or in food preparation areas.
7. Less Heat is Emitted
When LED lights are turned on, very little energy is wasted on heat. 95% of the energy in LEDs is converted into light and only 5% is wasted as heat. This is compared to fluorescent lights which convert 95% of energy to heat and only 5% into light. Even the small amount of heat that LEDs produce is further dissipated by metal heat sinks. Less heat emitted by LED lights reduces the energy load on heat-sensitive systems such as refrigeration and air conditioning.
8. Quality of Light
LEDs have a better quality of light than other types of lighting. They have a more focused light pattern and so less of it is wasted. This also helps to reduce light pollution. Unwanted light is not scattered in places that it is not meant for. Noise pollution is also reduced. Some other types of lights produce vibrations or humming noises.
Fewer LED lights are needed to reach the same level of brightness emitted by incandescent, fluorescent, or HID lights. Using fewer lights reduces energy consumption and thus helps the environment.
9. No Bugs
LED lights generally do not attract insects. Other types of lights attract them due to several factors. One reason is that they have a hot bulb surface when powered on. This and their specific wavelength of light attracts bugs. This is not the case for LEDs because they do not emit ultraviolet light. This is especially beneficial in warm, humid environments.
10. Smaller Carbon Footprint
LED lights have a much smaller carbon footprint than conventional lights due to their high level of efficiency. Much less electricity is consumed when using LEDs, therefore less carbon dioxide is generated.
As far as CO2 production goes, LED lights produce half as much as compact fluorescent lights and one-tenth as much as incandescent lights. According to a study by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, if you could replace only one light bulb in every household in America, carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by nine billion pounds.
How Do LED Lights Help the Environment
LED bulbs use less energy than other bulbs and thus they are more efficient. One LED bulb can last about 10 years, which is 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb. This makes LED lamps less costly in the long run.
About the Author
Neil Peterson is Chief Operating Officer at LED Lighting Supply. He has been active in the LED industry for over 10 years and is responsible for product planning and management as well as revenue and operations at LED Lighting Supply. Much of Neil’s time is focused on customer engagement for large commercial and industrial lighting requirements. When not working, he enjoys family time, camping, fishing, and sports..