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LED: the “hottest,” smartest new thing in lighting

For many at this time, when the landscape has the feel and look as though an Arctic tundra, the electric bills may not only seem high but be a burden on household budgets.
The Power Board appears to have recognized as much when, to help allay shock at higher than usual statements, it sent along with those a catalogue of explanations on “Your December Bill.”
One way to reduce home energy bills quickly is by switching from standard incandescent bulbs for lighting to an alternative.
The most common alternative has been compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. These, due to large energy savings and with much promotion, had begun to catch on strongly in home and office lighting. In a survey two years ago, the Sylvania lighting firm found 74 percent of private respondents­ – homeowners and renters ­– using CFL bulbs.
A newer technology, LED bulbs, promises to be even more energy and cost saving than the CFLs have been while also avoiding the issue of mercury disposal, which had concerned some users about the latter.
Home Depot, which carries both a Philips and its own EcoSmart brand of LEDs describes these as lasting 100 times longer than incandescent bulbs though generating the same level of brightness and comparable light quality.
With these new lights’ 15-year longevity, and having no moving parts, filaments, glass, mercury or UV light, they are safe, reliable, and “dramatically reduce” maintenance, replacement and energy costs.
Purchase price of EcoSmart LED replacements for the most commonly used incandescents ranges from roughly $18 to $25 per bulb. A purchase-cost comparison tells you the $18 price is more than two-thirds lower than cost of the 50 incandescents (40 watt) it replaces. Beyond that, its electricity draw is lower by 80 percent. The economics of the stated, roughly $150 cost savings per LED, seems convincing indeed.
Apparently, it already has convinced the business community. A survey conducted late last summer found 73 percent of the “decision makers with influence over lighting decisions” in more than 350 office and retail, healthcare and other facilities using LEDS or planning to transition to them.
At the end of this year, the lights will go out for one (100 watt) and, over three more years, for other wattages of the 125-year-old incandescent bulbs, the Congress wisely having passed a ban on them. In their operation, they waste most of the energy they consume.
The manufacturing of dozens of them (for one LED) entails large, if unseen, mining, materials processing, energy use and related earth-polluting impacts.
The new green lights offer a trio of advantages: for the wallet, lower lighting-related electric bills; for the planet, large reductions in earth-warming pollution; for the consumer, the patriotic sense of strengthening our energy independence, through efficiency in its use.