Light emitting diodes (LEDs)
Lighting LED lights are the future of lighting, their low energy consumption coupled with their ultra long life spans results in massive electricity and maintenance cost savings.
In 2009, after the rolling blackouts of 2008 and Eskom's warning of massive price increases, we started looking at solutions for people and businesses to reduce their electricity consumption. While investigating the solar industry we came across the fairly new range of LED lights. We realised then that, even if half the claims LED lighting manufacturers were making would be true, it would result in massive energy and cost savings for individuals and businesses alike.
With the idea of providing cost effective lighting solutions we took the plunge in what was still a fledgling market in South Africa with regards to LED lighting. Since Eskom's promises of massive increases did eventually materialise, we were and are, driven to provide cost effective, high quality and energy efficient lighting to help save South African's as much money as possible and to protect them from annual electricity hikes!
LED Light Bulbs
The 2nd area to address for energy efficiency after solar water heating is lighting. With the prices of high quality LED’s having fallen by 50% in real terms (after exchange rates) in the last 2 years, reducing your electricity bills through replacing inefficient old lighting technology is now a real option, with attractive financial returns on the investment.
As an overview:
Incandescent bulbs are very inefficient with the majority of the electricity being wasted through heat.
Halogen bulbs do not save any energy over incandescent.
Low voltage lighting (12V) is actually less efficient than mains 220V lighting.
CFL lighting can save up to 70% of the electricity used in an incandescent bulb and enjoy a much longer life.
LED lighting can save up to 85% of the energy in an incandescent bulb for the same lumens output. They also enjoy a very long life of up to 60 years before failing.
7 LED Lighting Myths Busted
Before investing in LED lighting technology consumers need to be aware of some of the potential pitfalls:
If LED down lights are not correctly fitted with sufficient space for the heat to be dissipated efficiently, their anticipated life may be reduced to months or a few years.
The lumens output is not always as much as claimed particularly with cheaper product from unknown brands. A 5W LED may for example only produce 4,5W output after a short period, rendering the light output to be inadequate. For example a 6W LED in replacement of a 50W halogen will probably be a better bet than a 5W that claims to have the same lumens output as the 50W halogen.
A number of manufacturers now offer a variety of light colors, for example yellow light rather than the harsh cold daylight colors which many people find unattractive. Dimmable LEDS are also now available.
As the investment can be considerable, it is advisable to buy better known brands with strong warranties and as with all energy efficiency to do the research. There is a lot of information readily available over the Internet.
The return on capital expended can provide a payback on the investment of 2 years or less, but only if the LED is good quality, and it is correctly installed.
DIY installation on down lights is generally simple and straightforward, and should only take about 2 minutes per fitting.
LED COMPARISONS TABLES
Most people don't know what wattage LED lights will replace their current lighting options they have in their home and business. The below tables are designed to help you with that dilemma. It shows you exactly what LED lights you should get to replace your current light fittings.