Published On: Mon, Oct 14th, 2019

Are LED Lights Environmentally Friendly?

Nowadays, energy-saving and environment-protection has been one of the most important projects. There is no doubt that we all should be responsible for this matter. In current, led lights are replacing the traditional incandescent lights, and gradually increase in commercial lighting as well as family lighting. Due to its environmentally friendly and fashion features, various kinds of LED ceiling lamps and LED bulbs with different power comes to market. We might have the question: Are LED Lights Environmentally Friendly? Let’s discuss the LED’s features to know if the LED Lights are environmentally friendly.

photo Stefan Krause, Germany

Energy Efficient and Energy cost  

According to research, LED lights are up to 80% more efficient than traditional lighting such as CFL and incandescent lights. LED lights can convert 95% of the energy into light and the remaining 5% converted into heat. On the contrary,the fluorescent lights which can convert 95% of energy to heat and only 5% into light. For example, a 6 -8watt LED bulb with a light output of 800 lumens, has a life cycle of 50,000 hours. In comparison, CFLs consume 13-14 watts but only last for 8000 hours, while incandescent bulbs only last 1200 hours and consume 60 watts. Emitting Less power from per unit of lighting means to save power and decrease greenhouse emissions from power plants. Since more energy has been used into light, carbon dioxide emissions for LEDs are also low accordingly. In 2012, US consumers have saved more than 675 million dollars by converting to LED lighting. If all the lights have been replaced into LED lights before 2032, then it can save 250 billion of energy cost.

Life Span

Long life span might be the second feature for led lighting. Classic incandescent light bulb usually can continuously last for 1000 hours, that is to say, it can last for 4 months if it work 6 hours per day. Fluorescent lights can last almost 10000 hours continuously.

Surprisingly, LED can continuously last 25000 hours which are nearly double the hours of Fluorescent lights. That means, if LED lights can last for 6 hours per day it will work for 11 years which is far exceed the performance of the traditional lighting such as fluorescent lights and incandescent lights.

Obviously, during the time of using one LED bulb, we might have replaced 33 classic incandescent lights. That is to say, we can produce less bulbs, save much landfill for the disposing the garage, decrease cost of production and reduce the transport cost.

Mercury-free Illumination Technology

In addition to the influence of environment, another point is: they do not contain the toxic compound such as Mercury.

As we know, fluorescent lamps produce light by interaction of mercury and electricity but Mercury will have a bad influence to our health. Since mercury poisoning is a most common symptom when we inhaled it, the health effects of mercury poisoning including central nervous system damage, hearing loss and vision problems is hard to handle with. So it is necessary to clean the damaged fluorescent tube immediately when it is broken.

Actually the fluorescent lamps need special process to deal with the deadly compound. Though the fluorescent light bulbs contained much less mercury, we still need to be exposed to this compound as little as possible. Though LED bulbs do not contain mercury and you do not need to be afraid of the mercury, we still need to pay attention to the broken lamps.

Other Function

Though LED bulbs have environmental protection advantage of energy efficient, long life span and safe material, it still has other features to help you achieve other functions.

Compared with other lamps, LED are good for concentrating light. Fluorescent lights and incandescent light emit light to all directions. However, LED can concentrate the light in one certain district but the meantime it will not influence other district. You can assume that LED is a spotlight and other kinds of bulbs are torches. That is too say, we can place 5 right-placed led lamps to achieve such a performance rather than light a room with 8 incandescent lamps randomly. 

Bad Effects of LED Lights 

In order to save energy and cost, more and more people convert to LED lights which might lead to light pollution even worse. Over decades, light pollution has become increasingly outstanding. LED lights have been introduced to city, and the volumes of light have been grown considerably. In the past 4 years, the amount of artificial light rises as much as 2 percentage points to the annual growth rate which might be mainly caused by brighter LED lamps. Researcher found that the amplitude is obvious among developing countries. This rate synchronizes with growth of global GDP.

Except a fraction of light, most light can’t be detected. Due to that sensor can’t detect wavelength of light below 500 nanometers, including the blue light emitting from LED light. Light pollution, especially the blue light from led lamps does harm to not only human eyes but also wild animal. If wild animal are exposed to man-made light source for long time, biological rhythm will be disturbed. For human, man-made light will disturb circadian rhythm even the driver can’t see the road clearly. In some cases, man-made light will put the spring forward.

The scientist said, we are still possible to decrease negative effect caused by light pollution. One of the researcher said that only the saved cost will not produce extra light, then the saving energy and decreasing air pollution can be achieved at the same time. 

Taking care of the environment is a responsibility that everyone should participate in. We usually know to protect the environment by recycling or reducing waste in daily life but ignore some common issues. A good example of this is LED lighting, which provides many environmental advantages. But it still will make environmental pollution if we abuse it. However, you don’t need to worry too much. With proper attention to a light’s power distribution and brightness controls, engineers have the knowledge to design lighting that’s safer, more effective, and more energy efficient. We should believe that science will create a beautiful life for us!

Author: Angelina Chen

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