In Focus: LED Lighting
Around here we joke that in the future, children will grow up not knowing how to change a light bulb. And if that happens, it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. That’s because energy-efficient LED lighting is so long-lasting that you could go 20 years or more without having to replace a burned out light in your home.
Hard to believe? Well, consider this. If you swapped out all the recessed lighting in your home with an LED light fixture like the Cree CR6 LED Downlight, which is designed to last 50,000 hours, you could leave that light on five hours a day, seven days a week and it could last more than 27 years!
And long-life isn’t the only perk. LED lighting consumes significantly less energy than traditional lighting technologies. So if those same recessed lights in your home have 65-watt halogen lights, you could reduce your energy consumption by 85 percent by replacing them with a 9.5-watt CR6 LED downlight!
How does LED lighting look?
But you’ve probably heard all of this before. You know LED lighting saves energy and lasts a long time, but does it look any good? At Cree, we believe LED lighting should look as good, or better, than the lighting it’s replacing. For our indoor lighting products, that means beautiful, dimmable, warm light that help make colors pop. No one should have to endure the warm-up time, flicker and even buzzing that comes along with some fluorescent products. With Cree LED lighting, you don’t have to.
Shopping for quality LED lighting
The new Lighting Facts label gives a lot of good information (click to enlarge).
So how do you know if you’re buying an LED light that’s going to look as good, or better, than the lighting you’re replacing? The Federal Trade Commission is making it easier with the introduction of new Lighting Facts labels on lighting packaging. The label is similar to the nutritional facts label you see on food packaging, only it features concise information about a light’s output and savings.
In particular it emphasizes lumens, which measures the amount of light produced. Back when incandescent lighting ruled your light fixtures, you used to buy bulbs based on watts, which measures the amount of energy required to illuminate lighting products. But with energy-efficient lighting, which consumes fewer watts, you need to gauge brightness based on lumens not on watts.
For example, the average 40W incandescent bulb has a light output of about 500 lumens. But a CFL that puts out 500 lumens might only consume 10 Watts. And an LED light that produces 500 lumens can consume even fewer Watts.
Other features of the new labels include:
- Wattage: You’ll still be able to see how much energy your light consumes.
- Estimated yearly energy cost: You may be spending more on the up-front cost of an energy-efficient bulb, but this will allow you to gauge estimated savings to see the true value.
- Life based on three hours of usage a day: Since Cree LED lights are designed to last 50,000 hours, their life expectancy would be more than 45 YEARS if used for only three hours a day.
- Light Appearance: There’s a scale measuring the light from warm to cool, including the specific color temperature. No more guessing whether soft white means warm or cool or somewhere in between.
- Mercury Alert: Bulbs that contain mercury (ah hem: CFLs and other fluorescents) are required to disclose that on the package, and include a link to the Environmental Protection Agency’s site that details how to clean up a broken mercury-laden bulb.
We believe you should have it all with LED lighting: Long-life, energy savings and beautiful light quality. And, of course, we believe you shouldn’t have to spend your time showing your children how to replace burned-out lights.
This is a guest blog post from Ginny Skalski, Social Media Specialist at Cree. Aside from being friends of SEM whose headquarters are just a few miles from our office, Cree also makes of some of the best LED lights on the market. We’re currently running a promo giving homeowners $1,500 worth of LED lighting with the purchase of a solar PV array (click here for more info), and we asked Ginny to help give our readers a little expert insight into the many benefits of LED lighting. Enjoy!
Ginny Skalski is the Social Media Specialist at Cree. Read their blog, Lighting The LED Revolution, here.
Southern Energy Management is a North Carolina-based sustainable energy company offering energy efficiency, green building and turn-key solar services for homeowners, builders, companies, government and military clients across the country. A certified B Corp, SEM's mission is to have a measurable impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, and to build a sustainable triple-bottom-line company. SEM was founded in a living room in Raleigh in 2001, and now employs a team of more than 100 sustainable energy professionals. SEM is consistently recognized as an industry leader both locally and nationally, and is among a small handful of companies in the U.S. to earn the National Energy Star Partner of the Year award five times (in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011). SEM also received the City of Raleigh 2011 Environmental Stewardship Award and the 2010 Green Jobs Award from SJF Institute & Green For All. For more information, visit www.southern-energy.com.
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