Making the Digital Switch

Upgrade your lights from ‘analog’ to digital with LED bulbsLED Bulbs

Just as you upgraded your TV/cable and phone from an analog system to digital for
better sound and picture quality, the lighting industry has been modernizing its options and products in order to offer consumers greater energy efficiency. For the
past several years, traditional incandescent bulbs have been phased out in favor of halogen and compact fluorescent (CFL) lights that offer greater efficiency. Even more recent innovations in technology have focused on Light Emitting Diode light sources, or LED bulbs, which are essentially digital light.
Longevity and efficiency in one
Known for their longevity and efficiency, some LED lights have an estimated operational lifespan of up to 50,000 hours. If you were to use that LED fixture for eight hours per day, it would take approximately 17 years before it would need to be replaced.
LED lights are different from fluorescent and incandescent light sources, as LEDs do not contain a gas or filament of any kind. Instead, the entire LED is made up of a semiconductor, which is solid in nature and makes LEDs more durable. LED lights are small, packed electronic chip devices where two conductive materials are placed together on a chip (a diode). Electricity passes through the diode, releasing energy in the form of light. Unlike fluorescent lights that require a few minutes to warm up before reaching their full level of brightness, LEDs achieve full illumination immediately.
The cost of “analog” lights
If we were to compare this to the traditional or “analog” era lighting, these light bulbs are operating at only a 20 percent energy efficiency. Eighty percent of the electricity from the “analog” bulb is lost as heat. To illustrate how this inefficiency impacts your wallet, consider this: if you have traditional lighting and the lighting portion of your electric bill is $100, then approximately $80 is lost in excess heat instead of lighting the room.
Make sure you get ENERGY STAR
When purchasing an LED light, look for the ENERGY STAR label to ensure you have a genuine product, as there are poor quality LED products in the marketplace. Some of these products are manufactured outside of the U.S. with components that produce low light levels, don’t stand up on long service life, or have exaggerated energy saving claims. So, like any other purchase, research before you buy! Visit energystar.gov for more information about ENERGY STAR LED lights.
While it is true that LEDs generally cost more to purchase than fluorescent and incandescent lights, they are much less expensive to operate over time. LEDs are energy efficient so the replacement and maintenance requirements are dramatically lower. In addition, as with other electronics, prices are expected to come down as more products enter the market. Make the switch from analog to digital, and you will see an increase in your home energy efficiency and a decrease in your energy costs.
Making the digital upgrade
Are you interested in learning more about LEDs and how they can fit with your home and lifestyle? Talk to our energy experts at Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative at (218) 631-3120 or (800) 321-8932 to learn about more ways to save energy around the home!

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