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LED Lamps – What Are They?
LED lamps are light bulbs that use light-emitting diode technology. These lamps are far superior
to incandescent, fluorescent, or halogen lamps in terms of lifespan and energy efficiency, which
makes them a perfect retrofit. LED lamps are at full brightness the moment you switch them on,
and do not flicker. LEDs produce directional light and not distributed light, so lamps are
designed with specific beam angles, from which customers can select depending on application.
High temperature has an effect on LED durability, so these lamps have heat dissipation elements
like heat sinks and cooling fins - the more efficient the heat dissipation, the longer the lamp life.
LEDs produce light in a narrow wavelength band, which has a color characteristic based on the
energy band of the semiconductor from which the LED is made. Tor produce white light from
LEDs, a blend of green, red, and blue LEDs may be needed, or a phosphor can be used to
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convert light into other colours. RGB or trichromatic white LEDs use multiple LED chips to
produce varied wavelengths that are closest to emitting white light. Thus, each LED can be
modulated to adjust and change the overall colour. The colour rendering index or ‘CRI’ value for
LED lamps ranges from less than 70 to more than 90, with higher index lamps displaying colour
more accurately. High CRI lamps are often used in art galleries, retail, or food stores to display
paintings and products at their best.
LED lamps also come in a variety of colour temperatures, from very warm white (~2400K) up to
very cool white or daylight (~7000K). Warm white LEDs tend to be used in hospitality and
domestic applications where a warmer ambience is required. Cooler LEDs tend to be used in
more functional applications, such as offices, or hospitals where a crisper, whiter light is required
LED lamps can be used for general or special accent lighting. A diffuser or multiple LED lamps
with wider beam angles are used in applications that do not require directional light and need
distribution of light in different directions. Narrow beam angle lamps are used where particular
spaces or objects require accent lighting, in art galleries for instance.
The use of white LED lamps is widespread in applications where high efficiency is required, due
to their very low energy consumption (up to 90% less than traditional lighting). This includes
general lighting, or specific applications like flashlights, solar lighting, or marine lighting.
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Coloured or monochromatic LED lamps are also used for traffic signals and in the strings of
An example of commercial and industrial use of LED lamps includes Sentry Equipment
Corporation in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, USA, which used LEDs to light its factory interiors
and exteriors in 2008. The upfront cost for switch to LED was 3 times that of incandescent and
fluorescent lamps. However, the extra cost was recovered in two years through energy savings,
and there is no need of replacement for 20 years. Another example is iGate, an IT company in
Manapakkam, Chennai, India which made an investment of US$80,000 in LEDs in 2009 for its
57,000 sq ft office space. Return on investment was made within 3 years, as total cost of
ownership reduced. By 2010, LED lighting went mainstream in commercial and public
applications. It has also proven itself effective in outdoor lighting and street lighting.
In contrast to LED lamps, incandescent lamps produce light by passing an electric current
through a resistive filament that heats the filament to a high temperature that emits visible light
on a broad range of wavelengths. The light source produces warm yellow or white light
depending on the temperature of the filament. 98% of the energy put into these types of lamps is
output as heat, so they are very inefficient compared with LEDs. Though inexpensive, the
lifespan of these lamps is 750-1,000 hours.
In further contrast to LEDs lamps, fluorescent lamps are lit by electricity passing through
mercury-vapour which produces ultraviolet light that is absorbed by a phosphor coating in the
lamp. These lamps in conventional form have lifespans of about 6,000 to 30,000 hours.
However, its life depends on the on/off cycles. Fluorescent lamps can take a while to warm up to
full brightness, and when close to failure can flicker a lot. Furthermore they contain hazardous
chemicals such as mercury which is bad for the environment, and requires special recycling
measures upon disposal.
LED lighting can be controlled using a variety of devices such as dimmers, passive infrared
sensors, photocells, DMX controllers etc. This allows LEDs to deliver a very flexible,
customisable light that can be tailored to a space and create specific ambience. LED lamps are
available in a variety of different bases to match traditional lighting, such as E14, E27, GU10,
GU5.3, G4, G53 etc.
The table below compares various different lighting technologies, including LED to illustrate
overall cost of ownership to take into account energy consumption, maintenance costs, re-
lamping costs etc. It is clear from this analysis that LED lighting leads the way in terms of cost
saving and environmental friendliness.
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Novel Energy Lighting sells quality LED lamps from reputable manufacturers like Philips and
Megaman which last longer and produce more efficient light than incandescent or fluorescent
lamps. These energy-savers are great replacements for those who are looking for cost savings
and fit-and-forget lighting solutions.