LEDs Are As Efficient As Compact Fluorescents

LEDs Are As Efficient As Compact Fluorescents

Range Govindan
Aug 5, 2009

Our recent articles on energy efficient lighting proposed that LEDs were a lot more efficient than standard incandescent bulbs. But how do those fancy LEDs compare to energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs? The question wasn't really examined that much until this year. A few studies have surfaced. A new one claims that LEDs are as efficient as compact fluorescents. Then, what's all the hype about LED lighting and which way can you save the most money?

A new study that was released on Tuesday by Osram, an important German lighting company, claims to confirm that the new LED bulbs that are appearing on the market are as efficient as the older compact fluorescent bulbs that people have been using for years. It's true that LED lamps use only a fraction of the energy to produce the same light as standard incandescent bulbs, however this isn't the only thing that concerns people. If the energy that is used to create and dispose of the new LED lamps is higher than a standard bulb, the savings that we see aren't that significant.

This wasn't known until recently when a preliminary study was reported by Carnegie Mellon, which indicated that LED lamps were more efficient throughout their lifetime. This study didn't take into effect the production and disposal aspect of these bulbs.

This new study compared the power to create an LED lamp. It even took into account the amount of energy needed to ship the lamp from the factory in China to Europe. The study compared a 25,000-hour LED lamp to 25 1,000-hour incandescent bulbs and 2.5 10,000-hour compact fluorescent bulbs. The study finds that today's LED lamps are as energy efficient as compact fluorescent bulbs. However, it expects LEDs to surpass fluorescent bulbs as they strive to become more and more efficient.

What does this mean for your home? For now, if you are using compact fluorescent bulbs, you should feel that you are saving a bunch of money and being green at the same time, as much as most LED bulbs and lamps out there. As for your power bill, if you are using LEDs, you will save a bit more money. If you are thinking about switching to LEDs, you should remember that these lamps are as efficient as to their environmental impact, but they might save you more and more money as the LED bulbs get more efficient. Eternaleds just released liquid-cooled LED bulbs which last 35,000. Since the 25,000-LEDs are as efficient as compact fluorescent bulbs, it's safe to assume that these new liquid-cooled LEDs are 40% more efficient. At the bottom line, these new bulbs will save you about 25%-40% compared to compact fluorescent bulbs. This is enough to justify their rather expensive price of $35. We are sure that more efficient LEDs will come out and will even save more money. We think that the best way to proceed is to try different new LED bulbs to see if you like the illumination. Once you have found the type of LED bulb you like, you should feel very safe to switch all of your lighting to these bulbs. That's when you really save a lot of money. This also means that unless you are buying energy efficient LED bulbs that last more than 25,000 hours, you aren't saving any money compared to compact fluorescent bulbs. That is significant, especially with the price of these high-tech bulbs can go up to $60.

[via NYTimes, images via GE Lighting]

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