8 Reasons that you should go LED in 2018.

 With energy providers raising electricity prices by 20% from 1 July 2017 across Australia (for further information, refer to the Choice article here), there has never been better time to switch to LED than now. Here are 8 reasons why:

(1) LEDs save money and the environment. LEDs consume on average less than 20% of the energy of an equivalent halogen lamp (with comparable light/lumen output), and less than 40% of the energy of an equivalent compact fluorescent lamp. That is because LEDs are more effective at converting electricity into light as opposed to heat. For example:

  • A 50W halogen uses $40 per year in electricity on average (based on 4hrs per night @ 50c / kWh), and an equivalent LED light only uses $6 per year on average.
  • A 175W outdoor halogen sensor spotlight uses $90 per year in electricity on average (based on 4hrs per night @ 50%*peak 50c / kWh & 50% * off-peak 20c / kWh), and an equivalent LED light only uses $5 per year on average.

(2) Quality LEDs last a very long time, in comparison to halogen & compact fluorescent lights. For example,

(3) LEDs are available in many different colour temperatures and colours, making interior decorating fun and exciting, because you can mix and match to create your personalised space. For example, LEDs are available in:

  • 2700K very warm white, which is orange like old-school halogen lamps
  • 3000K warm white, typical for homes
  • 4000K neutral white, typical for offices
  • 5000K cool white, +6000K daylight, typical for warehouses
  • Red / Blue / Green and smart colour changing ‘mood’ lighting, to ‘spice’ up your home.

(4) Things look great under high Colour Fidelity LED. For example,

  • High Quality LED lamps have colour fidelity of CRI 80+, which makes everything look good, without the ‘orange’ effect or ‘cast’ of halogen
  • High Quality engineered LED fittings (a fitting which has been designed to maximise performance, look and feel, and longevity) can have CRI90+, which makes everything look ‘real’ and is more colour accurate.

(5) LEDs are safer to use.

  • LEDs are (reasonably) cool to touch, and won’t burn mischievous children[2].
  • LEDS don’t contain dangerous gasses, or breakable glass.
  • LEDs are reasonably water resistant, and won’t be affected by splashing.
  • LEDs operate at Safe Extra Low Voltage[4], except “AC LED”, which are typically low quality, cheap fittings.

(6) LEDs can be better for your health.

  1. LEDs are less affected by power disturbances than halogens.
  2. Fully Engineered LEDs have significantly reduced flicker than fluorescent lamps[4].
    • Flicker has been linked to depression, epileptic episodes and triggering episodes in autistic children.

(7) LED lamps are available as Smart Lighting:

  1. Control using or Bluetooth/ Wifi
  2. Colour changing on demand, or continuosly
  3. Inbuilt speakers, wifi repeaters & other cool things.

(8) Because solar panels don’t power your house at night.

  1. Your traditional technology lights will typically be used at peak tariff rates, usually >50c per kWh.

Choosing LED is only a starting point, as not all LEDs are created equal.

As a design engineer with 15 years of LED experience, I have seen fantastic LEDs and I have seen terrible LEDs. I have seen LEDs marketed with 10 year warranties, with lists of conditions making the warranties unclaimable [3].

The difference between “LED lamps” and “Engineered LED fittings” is quality, and engineered fittings always win.

So before you rush out to buy cheap LED lamps from your local supermarket, the discount store, or Ebay, you need to be aware that energy reduction is only one part of the equation.

LED represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to upgrade the quality of your lighting, if you buy good quality LED. LED lamps are cost-effective (cheap) solutions that discard quality to reach their price point, and have a few caveats (snags) that I’ll address in the next few articles.

I always recommend a quality lighting upgrade with fully engineered LED fittings.

Notes:

[1] lamps with comparable lumen (light) output.

[2] Less than 85°C.

[3] Consumers rights are protected in Australia.

[4] Good Quality LED