We are becoming smarter in the way we think about our impact on our planet and we are starting to follow the greener path regarding energy use in terms of how we use it and how we pay for it, we are now seeing companies rethinking current technologies and devices and are giving them a makeover for the 21st century. One of the big changes to something we all take for granted is the common light bulb
. The light bulb has mostly gone unchanged since 1880 when Thomas Edison made great headways into producing long lasting light bulbs that became very easy to manufacture over time, because the end design was so cheaply manufactured there was little cause for change, until now.
The problem with incandescent bulbs is that 98% of the energy they use is lost in heat, this makes it immensely inefficient in terms of energy use; this is based on the common method that electricity is passed through a resistive wire which causes it to heat up and glow, enough resistance in the wire filament and you get light. With society today understanding that we have an impact on the planet on which we live, and getting the idea that using energy efficient devices does actually save us money and the planet it makes good sense that we're adopting newer methods of lighting our world.
One of the newer light bulbs readily available today is the compact fluorescent type; these are based on the fluorescent tube lighting most commonly found in offices, these compact versions have a far greater energy use and life span than the common light bulb, the common light bulb has a life expectancy of around 1,000 hours, the newer compact fluorescent bulbs around 10,000 hours, so great advances have been made with these new light bulbs in relation to life span and energy use. The problem with these new lights is the method used to create light contains mercury. Mercury is a hazardous substance to both us and the planet, so in the short term it's obvious that compact fluorescent lights are not going to be the way forward.
Which brings us to the new kids on the block, LED based bulbs. LED's or light emitting diodes have been around for many decades with the component introduced in a practical format in 1962. LED's are most commonly found in electronic devices as indicator lights, over time and with manufacturing changes we now have LED's powerful enough to produce consumer useable lights. Even though it takes a circuit board of multiple LED's to produce enough light to compete with other light types, they are still a great option because of their cheap manufacturing process, life span and energy efficiency. Currently the consumer version of the LED light bulb has a higher cost price as it uses a few electronic components and can include a fan and heat sink to keep the light cool, prolonging its life. Even with these extra components used in the LED lights they still save a great deal of energy and last a lot longer than any other type of light bulb. The major pluses for LED based light bulbs is they have a 50,000 hour plus life span, extremely energy efficient, usually constructed of non shattering flame retardant material and with the addition of other electronic components the light that is emitted from the light bulb can be easily controlled and adjusted manually or automatically. The end consumer price will continue to fall as demand increases and production methods improve, so it's obvious that the way forward for better energy use, monetary savings and a lesser impact on the planet will be for everyone to use LED based light bulbs in their everyday lives.
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