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What are LEDs?/ How does LED lighting work?

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are miniature lights produced by moving electrons in a semiconductor. LEDs have been a household fixture for decades, and are most commonly associated with digital clocks, computers and appliances. But increasingly they are being seen as a cost effective, environmentally friendly alternative to both incandescents, halogen and fluorescents (both tubes and CF lamps).

How does LED lighting differ from other lighting?

Incandescent lights work by passing a current through a tungsten filament, which causes it to heat up until it glows. This is an extremely inefficient method of lighting as most of the energy is wasted in producing heat rather than light. Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) contain argon and mercury vapour. When electricity passes through the tube, these gases produce ultraviolet light which then excites the tube’s phosphor coating to produce visible light. The mercury contained by CFLs is extremely toxic. This means that a broken or burnt out CFL cannot be thrown away normally, but should be disposed of according to advice issued by the Health Protection Agency. LEDs contain no burning gas or filaments, so they are longer lasting and generate little to no heat. The lack of an easily damageable filament also means that LEDs are more durable. If an LED lamp is broken, it contains no toxic mercury to pollute the environment.

What is the lifespan of an LED?

UKLED lamps have an average rated life of 50, 000 hours. In comparison, incandescent or halogen lights and CFLs have an average life of 1000 and 10, 000 hours respectively. Switched on for nine hours a day, every day of the year, incandescents will need replacing within 1 year and CFLs within 4 years. Under the same conditions, an LED lamp can last for more than 15 years before it will require a replacement.

Are they really eco friendly?

LEDs are energy efficient, consuming 1/50 of the power that an incandescent lamp uses. By replacing existing lights with LEDs, a building can reduce its carbon footprint by up to 90%. The environmental benefits extend further than a reduction in power usage. As LEDs have a longer life than alternative forms of lighting their use produces less waste and, unlike CFLs, they contain no mercury.

Are they cost effective?

As LEDs consume significantly less power than incandescent lights, they can reduce your energy bill by up to 90%. Additionally, their long life and reliability saves both money and time that would normally be spent replacing broken or burnt out lights.

Will an LED light turn on immediately?

Yes. Unlike CFLs, metal halide and sodium lamps (SON & SOX), which can take up to a minute to “warm up”, LEDs achieve full brightness almost instantly. This is not affected by low temperatures. This means that they are ideal for use with motion and light sensors.

I want to know how the LED would work for a multiple nationwide company

The multiple site company is where the maximum benefits are achieved, take as an example a store that has 200 fluorescent tubes , we have calculated that this store will save over £3,500 per annum , this will rise throughout its lamp life , based on 50,000 this would equate to the saving per store reaching £5,250 by year 7 ! See Multiples