In a world of increasing environmental awareness, the demand for energy efficient lighting is constantly growing. Many people and businesses are seeking lighting options that not only reduce energy consumption, but are cost efficient and highly functional. LED tube lighting may offer a solution for many consumers.
What is LED lighting? LED stands for light-emitting diode. They are small semiconductor chips that convert electricity into light as it passes though them. Traditional incandescent lighting produces light as a secondary output from an intensely heated filament requiring a great deal of energy. But LEDs convert most of the energy that flows through them into light, and can thus be nearly twice as efficient as incandescent bulbs.
Recent advances in fluorescent lighting technology has made compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) an increasingly popular energy saving option for consumers. But LED lighting is even more efficient in the long run because of its long lifespan. LEDs can last 50-75 times longer than incandescent lights and 6-8 times longer than CFLs. While the upfront costs for LEDs remains more expensive than incandescents and fluorescents, the extreme efficiency and long life make them both a cost saver and an energy saver over time.
Meanwhile, there are significant health and environmental hazards associated with fluorescent lights. Many fluorescents contain mercury, which is highly toxic and potentially dangerous. Though CFLs typically contain only small amounts of mercury, any exposure is potentially harmful, and improper disposal could pose long-term health threats in buildings, landfills, and water sources. Also, many CFLs are covered in a phosphor coating that adds to the hazards of breakage and disposal.
Anyone who has worked in an office or warehouse with fluorescent tube lighting knows about the irritation and distraction of constantly flickering lights. In some cases, fluorescent flickering over long periods can even cause vision and eye problems. Another advantage of tube lighting with LEDs is the elimination of flickering. LEDs do lose their luminosity of time, but the output for their advertised lifespan is a steady, clear stream of light.
With lesser health and environmental impacts and greater energy efficiency, LED lighting seems like an obvious option. But, while LEDs have been around for years for limited applications as display and indicator lights, it has only been recently that LED technology has led to LEDs that are able to produce the kind and amount of illumination necessary for general use. Meanwhile, as with other semiconductor technologies, one can expect that LED lighting will only continue to improve.
LED tube lighting may offer a solution to many businesses and consumers seeking increased energy efficiency and reduced environmental impact. It may mean an additional up front investment, but installing tube LED lighting could be a cost saving move over the long run. And as the technology improves, the benefits will likely increase as well.