The Silent Revolution In LED Lighting

When you think of the big technological breakthroughs of the digital era, what do you think of? Perhaps the invention of the internet, cloud computing or artificial intelligence.

 

But while these technologies are no doubt impressive, there’s arguably been an equally important technological revolution going on right under our noses, yet few people have even noticed it.

Wikipedia

 

LED lights were once fabulously expensive. But today, because of improvements in production technology and scale, the costs of producing them has come down by many orders of magnitude. In fact, they’re now so cheap that they rarely cost more than 50 percent more than standard fluorescent lights. That might sound like a lot, but remember than  lights use about a tenth of the energy of standard lights and last ten times longer!

 

Increasing Uses For LED Lights

 

LED lights have made it into all kinds of new applications you would never have thought of. Not only are they being installed in the home, but they’re also being used in business settings to not only cut costs but drive profits. Tom Sawyer Construction LED canopy lights are a type of lighting used by gas stations. Like other companies in the industry, Tom Sawyer has moved towards LED lighting for a number of reasons. But the main reason is that customers prefer LED lighting. Gas stations that use LEDs typically go on to make more profit than those that don’t.

Flickr

 

One of the reasons for this might be the fact that LED lights are able to more accurately reproduce white light than many standard lights. This, in turn, helps make colors appear more natural and vibrant, especially at night.

 

LEDs are also being used increasingly in agriculture. Before LEDs, the idea of having an indoor farm was laughable. Futurists experimented with the notion of “vertical farming,” where plants were layered on top of each other in giant factories, helping save on space, water, and fertilizer. But it was only really a dream until the emergence of LEDs. The reason it couldn’t work before was that providing the plants with light was both too expensive and too hot. Old forms of lighting, including incandescent and fluorescent, aren’t actually very efficient at converting energy into light. For a standard bulb, only around 10 percent of the total energy that reaches the filament gets turned into photons. The rest is just wasted heat. That wasted heat is annoying for most people since it increases their energy bills, but for vertical farms, it’s a huge problem: temperatures from all the lighting needed to keep the plants alive might kill them.

Wikimedia Commons

 

With LEDs, however, more than 90 percent of the energy they receive gets turned into light. And so the same problems don’t occur. In fact, light from LEDs is so cheap, we’re currently seeing an explosion in the number of indoor farms operating profitably, especially in the Far East.

 

LEDs are here to stay. They’re finding their ways into all sorts of applications and making new business models possible. Only the future will tell what they’ll do next.

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