The population of world has exploded in the last few decades. In the early twentieth century, only manufacturing and construction units required energy on large scale. The energy needs of private users were low by comparison. Over time, however, the standard of living improved and household energy demand began to rise.
This demand was met by new energy sources and new mediums of generating electricity entered the picture. Hydroelectricity, using the power of falling water, came first and was joined by nuclear power. More recently, solar, wind, and tidal energy have begun to contribute.
The question now becomes exactly how much longer the energy demand-supply equation can remain in a balanced state. This has implications for public health and well-being and for national economies.
One smart approach toward conserving resources is to minimize consumption.
Today we have numerous lighting options. Incandescent lighting is giving way to the more efficient compact flourescents, and LED lighting is now entering the market. Quantum dot lighting is around the corner and may eventually supplant the LEDs, but for now it’s still in research and not yet available.
LED lighting for instrumentation, electronic equipment, and even handheld flashlights is popular around the world, but it has not yet made major market entry for screw-in replacement of home incandescent bulbs. Continue reading to learn more about the different technologies involved, their advantages, and the best practices to save money and energy.
Different Lighting Options
Incandescent bulbs consist of a filament that heats up upon the passage of current, starts glowing, and hence emits light. The heat and light produced by the filament can be used for various purposes. These bulbs can be used in poultry brooding boxes, auto headlamps, flashlights, decorative lights, and for industrial heating purposes, too. The only major drawback is that they have low energy efficiency. They consume a lot of electricity and the light produced by them is not of particularly good quality, as compared to other alternatives. Filament bulbs are too sensitive to voltage fluctuations and very often they fuse when abrupt voltage change happens.
Fluorescent lamps have gradually replaced incandescent bulbs. In some European countries the use of incandescent bulbs has been banned completely because of their low energy efficiency. In these lamps, the passage of current through the lamp excites mercury vapors, which contact a phosphor coating on the inside of the tube to produce short-wave ultraviolet light. Fluorescent lamps have very high energy efficiency and they last longer compared to filament bulbs. The initial cost of these lamps is higher, but that can easily be compensated over a period of time because these lamps cut electricity use by as much as 40%. Earlier the size of these lamps was a matter of concern, but now compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) can easily match the compactness of filament bulbs. The average rated life of a CFL is between 8 and 15 times that of incandescent bulbs.
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) emit visible, bright, colorfu,l and eye pleasing light. LEDs can emit ultraviolet and infrared wavelength light and have better energy efficiency than both filament bulbs and fluorescent lamps. LEDs have a huge scope of use and these are used in the aviation industry, the television industry, and the automobile industry. LEDs are durable, reliable, robust, easy to switch, and give better returns in the long run. Initially, they are expensive to buy, but in the long run LEDs fare better than fluorescent lamps.
Among the three options discussed here, filament lamps for home lighting can be rejected as obsolete technology that society cannot afford the waste of when better alternatives are available. Between LED and fluorescent lamps, one must chose according to the consumption requirements. Staying up-to-date with technology is always advisable because it saves time and brings efficiency into the system. This suggests that one should currently opt for LED lighting- if there are no budgetary constraints- because LEDs can last up to 100,000 hours. However, LED technology is still developing and investing in emerging technology is not always the best thing to do for middle income groups.
Here is a comparison between LED and CFL lighting.
- LED light bulbs produce more light per watt and the light emitted by LEDs is cool, having a soothing effect on the eyes.
- CFLs do not have very high initial investment costs. For LEDs, even the manufacturing companies have to raise money because the technology is new and emerging, which currently is reflected in the costs of LEDs.
- There are many other emerging technologies that might outpace LEDs in the near future. Here we’re talking about possibilities that may or may not happen, but at the rate with which technology is providing solutions, one can never be sure of lifetime of light emitting diodes.
- Fluorescent lamps are not as eco-friendly compared to LEDs. The careful disposal and recycling of fluorescent lamps has been made mandatory in many countries because breaking a fluorescent lamp means exposing the environment to harmful chemical substances.
- The performance of LEDs is highly dependent on the ambient temperature of the surroundings; high ambient temperature might result in overheating and device failure.
Advanced Lighting Options
LEDs and CFLs have become popular, so they are known to the people. However, there are other technologies that are better, more durable, and more reliable than these two mentioned above.
- Quantum dot technology uses a semiconductor coating and produces white light, which is not the case with LEDs. Energy efficiency improves by 50%, and better quality light is produced.
- High intensity discharge lamps use gas filled arc tubes and they have very high luminous efficiency. The emission ratio of light to heat is every low, which means a major portion of electrical energy is converted into light energy with minimum heat loss.
- Understanding the New Lighting Facts Labels
- LED vs CFL, http://mahaenergysaver.com/chart.pdf
- Image Taube Christian, Fluoroscent Lamps, Wikipedia
- Energy Crisis, http://www.wtrg.com/EnergyCrisis/EnergyCrisis.pdf
- Information on Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs, http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/promotions/change_light/downloads/Fact_Sheet_Mercury.pdf
- Image Sakurambo, High Discharge Lamp, Wikipedia