An economically friendly option:
LED stands for light-emitting-diode. Sounds like a foreign language, as does most of the terminology underlying the miracle technologies we consumers take for granted.
The diode is a semiconductor component found in all circuits and inside every electronic product we come in contact with in our daily lives. From the earliest radio to the most sophisticated cell phone, the diode is a vital part of what makes electronic devises perform the task for which they are intended.
In simple terms, a diode is a switch. It will only allow current to pass in one direction, thus, in its many forms, it helps to tell the electricity in a circuit to go where the designer of that circuit wants it to go; a simplistic explanation but now you know more about diodes than most people on the planet. Oh, one more interesting fact; the diode was invented in Russia. So, if you are viewing the latest model of high definition flat screen television, you should thank Oleg Vladimirovich Losev, because the brilliance of the picture is due to diodes that are used to backlight the screen and make it brighter. Although, the light emitting diodes found inside your flat screen television bear little resemblance to the first diode made by Oleg, it is still nice to give credit to the one who did it first, like Babe Ruth or Neil Armstrong. (Ruth was the first to hit 60 homeruns in a single season, and Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon.)
The bright light diode, about to take over for the common light bulb, (called an incandescent bulb), and the familiar florescent lighting tube that most of us have come to tolerate, was invented by a British Scientist in 1995, Alberto Barbieri. From that humble beginning, the path toward an efficient, economically produced bright white light diode has been rapid.
Today LED technology is about to change the way we illuminate our houses and office buildings.
Here is brief overview of how important this technology is going to be for energy conservation:
A single kilowatt-hour of electricity will generate 1.34 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. Assuming the average light bulb is on for 10 hours a day, a single 40-watt incandescent bulb will generate 196 pounds of carbon dioxide every year. The 13-watt LED equivalent will only be responsible for 63 pounds of carbon dioxide over the same time span.
A building’s carbon footprint from lighting can be reduced by 68% by exchanging all incandescent bulbs for new LEDs. Excessive carbon dioxide within the Earth's atmospere is the bad-boy that scientists are saying is the root cause of global warming.
LEDs are also non-toxic, unlike the more popular, energy efficient, curly bulb option: the compact florescent lamp, a.k.a. CFL, which contains traces of harmful mercury. While the amount of mercury in a CFL is small, introducing less into the environment is preferable.
An important point to consider is the following; as you begin to replace your standard light bulbs with LED lighting, you will be using about 70% less electricity than you did before. Another wonderful fact about LED lighting is that it has an average lifespan of over twenty years, so you will be doing away with that pesky task of replacing burned out light bulbs.
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