The US Department of Energy holds a competition each year to bolster research and growth in the energy sector. This year's Lighting for Tomorrow competition has come to an end, and LED light bulbs have been crowned king of the energy efficient light bulbs. LED light bulbs have a lot of benefits to bestow upon us, we just need to put them to use.
Long Lasting LED Light Bulbs
Current LED technology has already produced LEDs that can last up to 50,000 hours. Such longevity translates into financial savings beyond just saving electricity; with light bulbs lasting that long, they don't need to be replaced very often at all and thus maintenance and replacement costs are reduced. The money saved by reduced energy usage and reduced maintenance/replacement frequency makes LEDs seem quite the obvious choice, but they are still a bit too extravagantly priced up front for the average consumer.
LED Light Bulbs in Commercial Applications
Businesses and large organizations currently benefit the most from LED light bulbs, as they are able to put forth the initial investments necessary for full-scale retrofits which result in huge money savings. One example is new LED lighting at Pittsburgh International Airport. A company called Appalachian Lighting Systems will be providing over 1300 LED light bulbs and fixtures to the airport, which expects to save a minimum of $158,000 each year on energy bills.
There continue to be breakthroughs in LED lighting technology as research and development carries on; for instance, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory has come up with a low cost graphite foam to use as a cooling agent. It is hoped this new cooling technology will extend the lifespan of LEDs. Improvements in LED power for use in specific niche markets continues as well; a Finnish company recently announced an extremely powerful (20,000 times more light than standard LEDs!) new LED light for aviation beacons. We should see some pretty cool LED stuff as time goes on!