Friday, April 12, 2013

WSRM---EUROPE LEDlights technology question and answers!


WSRM---EUROPE LEDlights technology question and answers!

Europe has always been ahead of the US when it comes to energy efficiency and green building design, so it's no surprise that our friends across the pond have been enjoying the benefits of LED lighting for a while now. However, there are still plenty of misconceptions and false information out there when it comes to LEDs. Yes, they are a lot more efficient than incandescents and even CFLs, but you probably aren't aware of all the advances that make LEDs a viable option for lighting your home.

 Dr. Stephen Shephard is our customer in Spain that supplies WSRM---LEDlights for use in the home, specifically in kitchens. His customer asked him a few questions about LED technology and best uses:

Q. LEDs were very directional in the past, but that's not so anymore. Are these lamps now adequate for lighting an entire room?A. While LEDs are still directional, there have been several approaches to combat this to create beam angles similar to normal spot lights and bulbs. For spot or down lights, a special lens is normally used, which will either narrow or widen the beam. It is possible now to get LED spotlights with beam angles from 25 to 60 degrees. The lens is either incorporated into the LED package or is added on during final assembly of the spot light. For more conventional lighting, companies often use either a special cover that helps to spread the light out more evenly, making it look more like a frosted incandescent bulb. Another method is to use what is commonly called a "corn
cob light," which resembles a corn cob on which a frosted or clear cover had been added to give the bulb a more traditional appearance.
It is now possible to use LED lighting for entire rooms. My bathroom uses LED spot lights. All of our outside lights are now LED, (except for one so clients can see there is no difference between conventional and LED). And our kitchen will soon be all LED lighting.

Q. Another LED myth is that the lamps only emit very cool light, which isn't always flattering or inviting in the home. How has the color output of LEDs changed recently?A. While this is still true, to a certain extent, it is now possible to get warm white or cool white LEDs. True white LEDs are still a bit of a holy grail for LED manufacturers. Virtually all white LEDs are actually blue LEDs with a special phosphor coating which converts the blue light to white, hence the cold light from white LEDs. Warm white LEDs have a slightly different phosphor coating and produce a light that is more like a conventional bulb. I think that these days, standard warm white LED bulbs are pretty good.
Other methods to produce or improve the white light include:
  • Using an RGB LED. When the red, green and blue are fully on, this produces a white light. The good thing about this method is that you can fine-tune the light to give you the exact type of white light. Problems with this method are sometimes it is possible to get a nice white spot, but the edges of the beam can appear as other colors, and the beam angle can be very small. Brightness has been an issue but this is steadily improving.
  • Using an amber LED with the white/warm white LEDs. This has its own problems, too, as the optics for the LEDs need to be able to mix the light together, otherwise you get a nice warm patch, a yellow patch and a white patch. Not very nice.
  • Mixing warm white and cold white LED bulbs or modules. This can be done either by having every other bulb in a room as cold white and the others as warm white, (I've done this in our bathroom). Or use warm white and cold white LED modules and a special dimmer controller to mix the two together.

Q. The kitchen is one of the easiest rooms in which to incorporate LEDs in the home. What are some creative lighting applications for this space?A. Have a look at the lenses for LEDs in WSRM--- CATALOGUE2013. Also consider under-cabinet lighting; we recently related a Youtube video to explain WSRM's company and products.
Q. LEDs can be cost-prohibitive up front. Are they really worth it? How much can the typical homeowner save from switching over to LED lighting and do these lamps eventually pay for themselves?A. The cost isn't that great really. A typical 6W bulb costs a little over $30, and it will last about 10 to 15 years in a normal house. If we assume that, for purposes of calculation, 1kWh costs $0.10, and the light is used for 6 hours a day we get:
6 x 6 = 36W per day or 0.036kW per day
0.036 x 0.10 = $0.0036 per day to run the light.
So in a year it will cost:
0.0036 x 365 = $1.314 per year
In comparison, a normal 50W halogen bulb will consume:
50 x 6 = 300W or 0.3kW per day
0.3 x 0.1 = $0.03 per day to run
0.03 x 365 = $10.95 per year
Savings per year are:
10.95 - 1.314 = $9.633 per year
Now assume at least a 10 year life span, and the savings will be $96.33 over the life of the bulb. In the same time you will have had to change the halogen bulb at least (assuming a 2000 hour life span) 10 times at a cost of at least $2.50 per bulb. This means a savings of at least another $25.00 over the lifespan of the LED bulb.

Q. Many LED light fixtures have that tell-tale look. What new styles are available, and how do they rate in terms of aesthetics compared to incandescent fixtures on the market?A. This is changing, and I also think we will see more creative lighting fixtures. Since LEDs have a long life span, it is now possible to have designs that don't require you to have access to the light source. This is something that will definitely become more popular as LED lighting becomes more mainstream. Some of the bulb designs look like works of modern art in their own right, so we may see designs that show this off.
LED lighting is improving all the time. And it seems to a certain degree that it is following Moores Law (for computing power) in that we are seeing a doubling of light output about every 3 years or so. But what is happening in the lab normally takes a year before we see it ready for public consumption.
Adopting LED lighting now is definitely worth it, since you will be saving money and helping the environment. Benefits of using LED lighting include:
  • Long Life. All the bulbs and tubes we supply last for 50,000 hours-that's over 5 years of continuous use. If you were to use a bulb for 8 hours a day everyday, you would need to change the bulb in about 17 years.
  • Reduced power consumption. LED bulbs are more energy efficient. A 3W LED bulb will replace a 25 to 35W halogen bulb.
  • Reduces your carbon footprint. Reduced energy consumption means a reduction in the amount of CO2 produced.
  • Reduced running and maintenance costs.
  • No UV and little IR. LED lighting produces no ultra-violet (UV) radiation and very little infra-red (IR) radiation, which makes them ideal for display lighting, since they won't cause fading or premature aging.
  • Durable. LEDs contain no filament that can easily be damaged by shocks and vibrations, making them very rugged.
  • Contain no mercury. Unlike compact fluorescents, LEDs contain no mercury, so disposing of them is easier.
  • Wide range of colors. LEDs are available in a wide range of colors. Utilizing RGB LEDs and a special controller, virtually any color combination is possible, allowing greater flexibility in they way things are lit.
  • Virtually instant on. Unlike compact fluorescents, which can take up to a minute to reach full brightness, LEDs come on instantly.
  • No flickering. Something else that many compact fluorescents do is flicker, especially as they get older.
  • On-Off cycling. When CFLs are used in places that have a short on duration such as cupboards and toilets, their life is reduced and in some cases it is actually worse than the incandescent bulb they have replaced.
As you can see, there are many benefits in using LED lighting over traditional and compact fluorescent lighting.
Many thanks to Dr. Shephard for his valuable input on WSRM---LEDlights!

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