LED (light emitting diode) technology utilizes an effect called “electroluminescence” to generate light. This is distinctly different, and far more efficient, than traditional incandescent technology which utilizes heat to generate light.
So does converting from incandescent to LED lights make a difference? Absolutely! How big of a difference does it make? Check out the following table.
As you can see, LED lights are much more efficient and has a much longer lifetime when compared with incandescent lights. If we assume long term electricity rates to be $0.10 per kWh, LED lights are also much cheaper than incandescent lights over a lifetime of 50,000 hours since less electricity is required to operate the LED’s. Furthermore, multiple incandescent bulbs are required to reach the 50,000 hours that can be attained with just one LED bulb.
The fact that LED bulbs need to be replaced less often has made it very attractive for applications such as street lights – where the cost of the labor to replace the lights is significant. One city that is making the switch to LED street lights is Calgary (located in Alberta, Canada). It recently converted 30,000 traditional street lights to LED bulbs, and the change is expected to:
- Save the city over $350,000 a year in maintenance costs.
- Save over 1.8 million a year in electricity costs.
- Decrease accidents on the road as the whiter LED light is expected to increase visibility at night.
There is no doubt that the long term financial benefit of switching to LED lights is there, but some cities are still slow to adopt this technology due to the upfront cost of converting the old street lights to LED’s.