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You've been hearing for several years that light emitting diode (LED) lighting technology, with its higher efficacy and longer lifetime, can improve your operation's bottom line. But, like most technologies, there are myths and misconceptions. Here are some of the advantages of LED lighting technology.
LED technology does have the potential for very high efficacy (more lumens of light per watt of power) when compared to other lighting sources, which can translate to great energy savings. LED products can last a long time, which can mean much reduced maintenance costs. And LEDs are considered easily controllable, adding even more potential savings. This all sounds great, but new technologies typically demand diligence and intelligence to develop effective applications and reap the reward of lower costs. Lighting is commonly thought to be a simple technology to understand and therefore apply, but with LEDs the better that you understand how it functions, the better you'll be able apply it effectively.
To evaluate whether LEDs are a good fit for a particular application you have to consider a lot of factors, starting with the benefits that make LED lighting worth considering.
1. Small format. This allows for more controlled application and flexibility in luminaire design. It can be great for hidden applications such as showcases, architectural lighting, highlighting, and other tight applications.
2. Directional. LED technology naturally radiates light in 180 degrees, making it potentially more efficient in most applications than incandescent and fluorescent lighting that naturally radiates in a 360 degree field and typically makes use of reflective surfaces to direct the light.
3. Robust and sturdy. There's no fragile filament or large glass enclosure to break.
4. No significant ultraviolet or infrared radiation. This is good for fragile artifacts such as paintings, fabrics, and other materials sensitive to ultraviolet radiation (UV), and goods like food and chemicals, which can be damaged by infrared heat (IR). Note, however, that while LEDs do not radiate heat, they do produce it. More about this later.
5. Potential long life. This could reduce replacement and maintenance costs. However, with LED technology, the concept of useful longevity is not a simple one, and caution is needed. More about this later as well.
6. Potential high efficacy. The potential for high efficacy is inherent in the technology itself, but that doesn't mean that every LED is highly efficient. Many design and material decisions impact the ultimate performance of an LED luminaire or replacement lamp, from the LEDs themselves, to the driver and other electronics, thermal design, and reflector and diffuser materials.
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