How Much Money Can LEDs Save, Anyway?

You probably know that LEDs are efficient, long-lasting, bright, and even affordable. But do you have a grasp on exactly how much money you can save by switching to LED lighting?

Let’s compare a 9-watt LED to a 60-watt incandescent light bulb:

Assuming the cost of electricity is $0.10/kWh, the incandescent light bulb will cost you $300 in electricity over 50,000 hours. The LED will cost you $45. That amounts to $255 in savings for every 50,000 hours of use.


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Happy 5th Birthday to the Original “LED City”

Back in 2006, the city of Raleigh, NC partnered with local LED manufacturer Cree to become the first “LED City.” Since that time, the LED City program has grown substantially, with cities across the U.S. and abroad joining in to reduce their carbon footprint, save money, and promote LED technology in general. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy itself absorbed the LED City Program recently.

This fall marks Raleigh’s fifth year as an LED City! Since that time, 57 LED projects have been completed in Raleigh, with installations ranging from streetlights to pedestrian walkways to the mayor’s office.

According to assistant city manager Dan Howe, each project passes a careful cost-benefit analysis before going through. “We have undertaken no LED project that did not pencil out for the taxpayers,” says Howe. “Early on, we decided our efforts here have to be focused on LED as a strategy that pays off, not just something cool that will save the earth.”

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5 Reasons Why You Should Retrofit Your Recessed Lighting with LEDs

Take a quick mental inventory of the recessed lighting that’s currently in your home or business.

Is it efficient? Is it helping you save money on your power bill, or on your bottom line? Is the light quality impressive? Are the light bulbs incredibly long-lasting?

If you answered “no” to any of those questions, this article is for you. There’s a good reason why “retrofit” is the hottest buzz word in energy efficient right now, and why individuals and businesses across the world are revamping their recessed lighting systems to save millions of dollars by switching to LEDs.

1. You can kiss the hassle (and cost) of replacing light bulbs goodbye.

Average lifetimes range between 35,000 and 50,000 hours for LED recessed lighting retrofits. That means these lights are going to last anywhere from twelve to seventeen years, even if they are left on for eight hours every day. Imagine: If you install an LED recessed light in your newborn’s nursery, you won’t be replacing the light until that baby is leaving for college. (more…)

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New Lighting Technology to Retrofit Recessed Lights

The term “lighting retrofit” may sound daunting, but for contractors and builders familiar with the technology, it’s just another project that makes saving energy possible (and very easy).

In fact, a relatively new product to the lighting marketplace is allowing homeowners to retrofit their own recessed lights with LEDs.

It’s called an LED retrofit module for recessed lighting, and it’s truly revolutionary. Homeowners with existing recessed lights can simply unscrew the light bulbs currently installed in their recessed fixtures, remove their trims, and screw the LED retrofit modules right into the existing sockets.

The LED retrofit modules come complete with a trim and a heat sink to maintain a cool operating temperature.

The opportunity to save energy is not the only benefit. The LEDs deliver incredible light output, high color rendering, full dimmability, and long lifetimes of up to 17 years. The products are even available in a variety of color temperatures – warm white, cool white, or neutral white.

See this new product line on our website!

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A “Regular Person Review” of an LED

From left to right: A CFL, an LED, & an Incandescent Light Bulb. Credit: Candace Lombardi/CNET

Journalist Candace Lombardi recently compared three Philips-brand light bulbs side by side. She said she’s often asked for a “regular person review” of LEDs versus CFLs versus incandescents without the jargon of lumens, kelvins, wattage, etc.

It’s a great article – Lombardi goes so far as to try smashing the Philips LED to the ground. When the LED survives with no damage, she concludes that Philips wasn’t kidding around about their 22.8 year life estimate for the product.

The Philips AmbientLED is the equivalent of a 75-watt incandescent and gives off a warm light (in a 2700K color temperature, for all the lighting professionals out there). See Lombardi’s photo to the right, and check out the article on CNET!

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Philips Lighting, L Prize Winner!

The U.S. Department of Energy made an exciting announcement this morning: Philips Lighting North America won the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize (L Prize) competition!

The DOE launched the L Prize competition three years ago as an initiative to push lighting manufacturers to create incredibly energy-efficient and high-performance replacements for conventional light bulbs. Philips submitted their entry to the 60-watt replacement bulb category back in 2009, and that entry has been undergoing eighteen months of rigorous product testing to ensure it meets the DOE’s high standards.

The winning entry consumes just 10 watts of energy, lasts more than 25,000 hours, and delivers excellent light output equivalent to that of a 60 watt incandescent light bulb. The product could arrive in stores as early as 2012!

Philips will receive a $10 million cash prize as well as other partner incentives. For more information, read the Philips press release. What do you think of the replacement bulb (photo above)?

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Lighting-Based Technology Replacing Wi-Fi?

The New York Times published a fascinating article yesterday describing a technology called light-based data transmission.  It’s also known as Li-Fi, and the name fits: Using light to transmit data wirelessly may very well replace Wi-Fi in the near future.

Last week, at the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh, professor Harald Haas introduced his Li-Fi prototype.  On stage, he used an LED table lamp to transmit a video of blooming flowers to the screen behind him.  When Haas placed his hand under the light to block it from the receiver, the video paused.

According to the NYT, the field of visible light communication has been around for quite awhile, but commercial interest is building rapidly due to the increasing affordability of LED lighting, making light-based technology more affordable in turn.

There are a number of reasons why Li-Fi is innovative by nature:

Light-based data transmission technology is attractive because it allows wireless communication without the use of radio gear, which can be dangerous in places like oil platforms (where it can cause sparks) and underwater (where the salt conducts electricity), or on planes (where it can interfere with other radio equipment). In addition, transmissions can be stopped simply by blocking the light, and thus can be stopped by walls, so there is less risk of data leaking out of a house or office.

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GE Enters the Ring: L Prize Update

Almost two years ago, Philips Electronics submitted their L Prize Competition entry to the Department of Energy.  Since that time, the entry has been undergoing rigorous tests so the DOE can determine if it meets performance and lifetime requirements.

As of June 30, 2011, Philips has their first competitor!  GE Lighting announced they are entering the L Prize Competition. Their design for the 60 watt replacement LED incorporates a component from Cree.

What is the L Prize?

The L Prize is the DOE’s initiative to push lighting manufacturers to create the most energy-efficient, high-performance, top-quality light bulb to replace the common light bulb.  To enter the contest for the replacement 60 watt incandescent light bulb, manufacturers must develop a product that delivers more than 900 lumens of light, consumes less than 10 watts of energy, and has an average rated life of 25,000 hours, among other requirements.

The winners will receive between $5-10 million, partner incentives, and federal purchasing agreements.

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LEDs, Before & After

Walmart has been in the process of retrofitting parking lot lighting for years.  Their first full-scale test of using LED lighting in parking lots was back in 2008 at a store in Rogers, Arkansas.  Since then, they’ve been focusing on rolling out LED lighting in international markets (since those have the highest energy costs).

Here are before and after photos of an LED retrofit in a Guatemala City Walmart parking lot:

As you can see, LEDs offer visual benefits along with energy and maintenance savings. Since LEDs are highly directional, the light is better focused onto the parking lot ground, minimizing the effects of light pollution in the surrounding areas.

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