Myth: LEDs Don’t Save Power

light bulb
This post is the first in a series on popular myths about LEDs. As with any new technology, it can be almost impossible to discern what’s actually true over all the hype. We’re here to help you see the light. 

LEDs Are Not Efficient.

Perhaps you’ve heard through the grapevine somehow that LEDs don’t actually save energy. They’re no better than CFLs or regular old incandescent light bulbs. I’m addressing this myth first, because it’s one of the easiest to disprove.

It’s a simple fact, LEDs consume less energy and emit more light than older light sources. A 12 watt LED A19 light bulb shines just as brightly as a 60 watt incandescent, but uses 48 fewer watts of electricity. This has to do with the construction of the light emitting diodes, which don’t give off nearly as much energy in the form of heat. Traditional filament lamps lose most of their energy this way.

An LED light bulb generally consumes less than half as much energy as a CFL, and only 10-20% of the energy used to power an incandescent light bulb.

LEDs Are Amazing.

As you’re probably gathering, this myth that LEDs aren’t any more efficient than other light sources, couldn’t be further from the truth. Experts even predict LEDs will become more efficient in the next few years. Like computers, TVs, and mp3 players, LEDs are made with chips. These chips have historically gone down in price and improved in performance steadily over time. Just like CRT TVs have been replaced with HD Flat Screens, and iPods continue to shrink, we have good things to look forward to with LEDs.

Traditional light bulbs have been the same for decades, and that inefficiency can start to add up.

Currently, 23% (give or take) of electricity in the US goes to powering lights. 4-5% of that just goes to running air conditioners to eliminate the waste heat generated by standard filament light bulbs. Replacing burnt out light bulbs is also a time consuming task for homeowners and facility managers everywhere.

(Did I mention LEDs have a rated life usually at least 20 times longer than incandescent lights AND then don’t generate nearly as much heat? Problems solved.)

If you replace just one 60 watt incandescent light bulb with a 12 watt LED, you’ll save about $48 a year on your electric bill.

But Is There Some Truth In The Myth?

So, if this myth is so egregiously mistaken, so terribly wrong, how did it get so popular?

Well, there is one way LEDs can hemorrhage electricity. Sometimes, when people, homeowners or building managers, discover just how much energy they can save with LED lights, they get a little slap-happy. When you’re saving that much, it’s easy to start wanting to power more fixtures, and adding more lights than you actually need. Yes, LEDs do offer a ton of new, exciting lighting options never before possible with older lights, but if you add more LEDs, they’re going to cost you.

If you stick to what’s necessary, without going over the top with all these exciting options, you will save energy (and money).

Have you tried out an LED to save energy? If not, what’s stopping you? Please share.

…And stay tuned for more LED myths!

Annie Josey

Annie was the E-Commerce Marketing Specialist at Pegasus Lighting from June 2012 to October 2013. She has a background in English literature, and loves using language to help illuminate the world. So covering lighting news and tips naturally fit her interests. In her personal time she enjoys painting, biking, and reading.