January 1, 2015
2015: The Year of the LED
If there is one technology that is likely to trend in 2015, then it is LEDs.
LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes, have been around for many decades.
However, recent years have seen both a huge reduction in manufacturing costs of LEDs, and impressive enhancements to their lighting output.
While early LEDs were first seen in pocket calculators and watches, they are now cheap and powerful enough to begin replacing existing lighting – and even to create new lighting options.
LED light bulbs finally bright and affordable
LED light bulbs are primed to replace commercial and household lighting.
If you haven’t recently checked the prices of LED light bulbs, then you may be surprised.
As an example, right now you can purchase a 10-watt LED light bulb for as little as $11 (£7). This light bulb can be used as a direct replacement for a standard incandescent 80-watt light bulb, and offers around a 90 percent saving of energy. It also lasts 50 times longer.
But what about Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)?
Well, although CFLs are definitely energy-efficient, they don’t last long. An average CFL light bulb lasts around 10,000 hours. In comparison, an LED light bulb has an expected lifespan of 50,000 hours.
Used for 12 hours a day, a typical LED light bulb will last for an impressive 11 years.
LEDs also don’t contain the toxic chemical element mercury. CFLs do.
Madrid’s all-new LED streetlighting
One great illustration of the likely dominance of LEDs over the next few years is the Spanish city of Madrid.
In partnership with the technology company, Philips, the city is in the process of upgrading every single one of their streetlights to LEDs.
Once completed, a total of 225,000 light bulbs will have been replaced, easily making this the world’s largest streetlighting upgrade.
The benefits are impressive:
- 44 percent energy savings
- Substantially lower lighting costs
- An extension of the lifespan of the city lighting
- The ability to control the lighting output depending on need
- A reduction in light pollution
If you are wondering about waste, then recycling non-profit organization Ambilamp, will be disposing of all unneeded lamps and lampposts.
If the project is a success (and this seems probable), then expect many more towns and cities to follow suit in the near future.
OLED and the future of TVs
While you may be familiar with LCD TVs and LED backlit TVs, OLED screens are the next step in high-definition, energy-efficient displays.
OLEDs, or Organic Light Emitting Diodes, enable a TV or monitor to be thinner and lighter than current standards. They also require no backlights, so they can provide deep black levels and super-high contrast ratios.
Their many advantages include: the ability to manufacture them on flexible material, wider viewing angles and better screen response time.
OLED TVs are still expensive, but 2015 is the year when prices are expected to decrease enough to take this exciting technology mainstream.
Cars can now be illuminated by LEDs
Companies such as Everlight are now producing advanced LED light bulbs that are suitable for both interior and exterior automotive lighting applications.
For many years, LEDs lacked sufficient brightness, which preventing them being used for cars. There are strict regulations on the required light output of exterior car lights, and manufacturers also demand optimum reliability.
LEDs now meet all these requirements.
They also offer several advantages over traditional car lighting:
- Longer-lasting light bulbs (typically the life of the car)
- Less battery drain
- High efficiency and stability
- Superior color rendering, offering near-natural interior lighting
- Smart cars fitted with LEDs can enhance safety configurations
- LED headlights use 70-80 percent less power than Xenon and Halogen headlights
A new light on architecture
The image above shows the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey.
The suspension bridge is 1,560 metres in length. It’s impressive night-time lighting is supplied by a fully computerized LED lighting system which provides changing colous and patterns. The system was developed by Philips, and installed on the bridge in 2007.
It’s a good example of how energy-efficient LED light bulbs can be used to enhance our architecture and environment.
LED lighting is finally reaching its potential.
While we’ll need to wait to see if the claim is valid, 2015 looks set to be the tipping point for the universal adoption of LED lighting.
Craig J Todd – Freelance writer with a passion for tech, trends and simplicity.
Connect with Craig on Twitter