Master's Class: LED Lighting 101


It seems to me, in our efforts to save the planet, that we spend a lot of time forcing each other to substitute newer and more “green”—yet unfortunately inferior—products for their older, yet still better counterparts now deemed “energy guzzlers.” That being said, I cannot be the only one who secretly hoards incandescent bulbs rather than using their inferior cousin, the Compact Fluorescent (CFL). Luckily, there is now a legitimate new player on the field that is quickly revolutionizing the way we light our homes: the Light Emitting Diode (LED).

Image via extreme tech

The technology behind the bulb is pretty simple. Unlike a regular bulb, there is no filament— instead, there is a solid-state semiconductor that emits light when a current is passed through it. This is what is known as the Light Emitting Diode, or LED for short.

When these lights first came onto the market, there were a lot of kinks to be worked out: they were VERY expensive, somewhat unreliable, and worst of all, the color of the light was a weird blue/white that made you cringe (I speak from experience).

The great news is that all this has changed. The latest offerings in stores have solved the aforementioned color issue (or, to get technical on you, what is also known as the light’s “temperature”). And most manufacturers offer bulbs in a variety of colors, including “bright white,” and, my personal favorite, “warm white.”

Image via designmilk

So, how to go about selecting your new LED lights?

Well, the first thing to remember is that the number of watts that the bulbs have will have to be dramatically different.

Refer to the chart below:

light comparison

The other thing to consider is the color of the light. As I previously mentioned, the color of light is measured in temperature, which will be listed in degrees Kelvin. Here are the temperatures to look for:

Warm White—2,500-3,000 degree Kelvin
Bright White—4,500- 5,000 degree Kelvin

I hope that this helps for when you start your foray into the wonderful world of LED. And don’t forget to give me a shout out @markcutler if you do end up going LED—I’d be happy to hear it!

Image via ledxyz

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