The Light Emitting Diode, or LED, first saw the ‘light’ of day back in the early 1960s. However, there was one major problem when it came to commercial applications for this new type of lighting. The very first LEDs were red, followed by green and yellow. Although aircraft and other heavy equipment manufacturers embraced the new LED technology, using it for warning and signalling lamps, it was to be another 30 years before LED lighting came into its own.

In 1993 the LED came of age:

In 1993 three collaborating Japanese scientists made the breakthrough by developing the ‘blue’ LED. Now, in combination with red and green, white light was achievable, and the barriers to the use of LED lighting were effectively dismantled.

Being able to produce white light, the possible uses for LEDs had been dramatically increased. Mass production increased and slowly retail prices began to drop. Although still more expensive than incandescent bulbs, the additional cost could slowly be recouped in other areas.

The benefits of LED:

The big benefits of changing from incandescent lighting to LED, is the reduction in energy use, leading to lower bills. In industry, LED lighting in offices, warehouses and factories can mean big savings. Add to that reduced maintenance bills due to the much longer life expectancy of LEDs and the savings are even higher.

Over the last 10 years, the domestic market has slowly started to embrace this new lighting technology for a number of reasons. The reducing cost of domestic LED units and the up to 80% reduction in energy use can mean substantial savings on energy bills. Environmental education has also improved, making people more aware of light pollution and the need to reduce their own carbon footprint.

LEDs in the home:

As LEDs continue to evolve; different colour tones, wider lighting arcs, wireless app operational and dimmer compatible, so will their use. With their low wattage consumption, they are as happy rigged to solar power as they are the national grid. Already people are experimenting with new options for lighting their homes. The central lighting rose is giving way to recessed LED ceiling lights.

The average three-bed semi will have around 10 rooms including separate bathroom and loo, hallway and landing. If each room is illuminated by one 60 watt incandescent bulb, that’s 600 watts of energy use. Okay, maybe not all the time, but compare that with 10 LEDs. The equivalent LED wattage is 10 watts, giving you a total energy use of 100 watts. And that doesn’t take into account bedside table lamps, standard lamps in the front room, spot lamps in the kitchen, or porch, garage, outside shed or garden lighting. Put it all together and it adds up to a big, big saving over 12 months on your household electricity bill.

The beauty of changing from incandescent to LED units is, it doesn’t have to be done in one go. When you consider that you will likely change over 40 burnt out incandescent bulbs, for each LED unit, you can add a new LED each time you change an old light bulb.