As the holiday season makes us think more about illumination, one may have noticed a few changes in the way urban areas are providing lighting this year. Outdoor public street lighting systems are replacing traditional incandescent street lights with new Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting. Incandescent bulbs, which use high-pressure sodium (HPS), metal halide or mercury vapor in their construction, make up about two-thirds of the street lights in the United States. A 2011 Carnegie Mellon University study estimated that roughly 40% of total energy consumption was due to these older lamps.
As gas discharge lamps, these bulbs require heat to generate light, which in turn requires a higher expenditure of energy. Industrial LED Lights don't require heat to produce light as they are semiconductors, only needing an electric current. As a result, LEDs are starting to be viewed as a less expensive and more energy efficient alternative for use in various types of urban lighting. Cities in Nebraska, North Carolina and Pennsylvania have already begun to implement replacement initiatives for traffic lights and street lamps. LEDs are also being used in parking garages, along with new sensor technology. In areas without a robust electrical grid, these LED lights make use of modern solar power technology to offset the drain on a municipality's power usage and their pocketbook.
Early on, Pittsburgh made it clear that the city wanted to help move the LED revolution along. LED street lights can be found in sections of the city such as Brighton Heights, the South Side and downtown. An annual savings of $140,000 has been estimated by Pittsburgh's Department of Public Works, mostly from reduced maintenance expenses. The city has also been able to cut energy consumption by half.
The LED lighting in Pittsburgh has encouraged nearby communities to make similar changes, such as Edgeworth's recent conversion of their traffic lights. The borough was able to save about 60% on energy costs following the move.
Edgeworth has since decided to expand the conversion to its street lights, but the process is a more difficult undertaking. As LED bulbs tend to cost between $200 to $300, compared to $50 to $100 traditional bulbs, the decision can be an expensive gamble. Looking to Pittsburgh as an example of expense, in replacing its 40,000 metal-halide lights, which would cost $9 million if nothing changed, with LEDs, Pittsburgh is estimated to spend $21 million. A city as large as Pittsburgh, however, can budget the amount by banking on the long-term savings LEDs will provide to outweigh upfront costs. If you're looking for green energy LEDs, I would definitely recommend a professional business like Laface and Mcgovern, Incorporated. Click this link to learn more about LED lights and fixtures
Some have raised concerns, despite the good reputation of LEDs, over their environmental impact. Examining the entire process involved in producing LEDs, the areas of manufacturing and recycling were shown to be as bad or worse than incandescent bulbs. Risk of environmental hazards during the production phase actually rates LEDs worse than other styles of lighting. They also are more difficult to recycle because of the raw materials used in building circuit boards which are used. However, LEDs use no mercury in their constructions and fewer toxins than in metal-halide bulbs, which contain 15 milligrams of mercury on average. Most urban planners agree the positives outweigh the negatives for LED light fixtures and it is likely we will only see more in the future.
LED lighting is becoming more cost-effective. In recent years, LED bulbs have undergone a 500% decrease in price. A bulb with a $49 price tag in 2012 can now be purchased for about $10. This decrease in price, in addition to the lower energy consumption costs that LED bulbs have always enjoyed, puts LED technology in a very desirable light for consumers. These price breaks may not be enough to convince some customers, so what are some other advantages of outdoor LED lights vs. traditional incandescent lighting?
LEDs these days are offering exciting technologies that will never be available for traditional bulbs. An example of this is the ability of LEDs to change colors that numerous LED light manufacturers have begun to feature. Perhaps you think this to be silly and maybe it is a bit. But, LED Christmas lights have been one of the more cost-effective and popular applications of the technology for years. This suggests that a more permanent holiday lighting option could become popular amongst home-owners. If you're interested in LEDs, I would definitely recommend a great company such as Laface and Mcgovern Associates.
Another of these technological advantages is the possibility of operating one's LED lighting from a remote location. LED light fixtures being produced now can be linked up with your smartphone through the use of an application. These technological advances open up a world of possible uses. These apps make it possible to adjust outside lights to match changing weather conditions. And obviously these apps are useful for controlling lights while homeowners are away. Thus, LEDs can become important tools in avoiding home invasions.
Consumers concerned about the environmental-friendliness of their utilities will find plenty of LED lighting solutions. LED lights convert over 55% of incoming electricity into light. This means that LEDs are between 500% and 1000% more efficient than traditional lightbulbs. This is important not just in terms of energy usage, but also in terms of safety. Seeing as they are much more efficient, LEDs get far less hot to the touch. Safety is a concern that many people have over these new green lighting options; and for good reason. Just 3 years ago, 300,000 CFLs were recalled because of concerns about their potential for fire risk.
Historically, home lighting consumers have shied away from LED lighting fixtures. "If you can get 4 bulbs for $2, why pay $40 for 1," is the thinking of most lighting consumers. But now that LED prices have fallen so dramatically, there is no rational reason not to invest in LEDs as a long-term lighting strategy.