Are you interested in making some green home improvements in your living space? One simple but significant change you can make right away is to switch from traditional incandescent light bulbs to energy efficient LED lights. Long gone are the days when LEDs, or “light-emitting diodes” used to be tiny bright colored lights that could only be used in a very limited number of applications. LED light technology has made a huge leap forward, and now you can enjoy an energy efficient light bulb that gives off the kind of bright light we are used to in our homes.
Today, LEDs are available in many shapes and sizes, a wide range of colors and neutrals that will meet a variety of lighting needs and aesthetic tastes. While LED’s are a little more expensive than incandescent lights, they offer a number of great perks that you would not be able to get with any other light bulb. Also, if you are into DIY projects and interior design, there are a number of creative and fun ways you can light up your home with LEDs.
How do LED lights work?
LEDs have revolutionized energy-efficient lighting by transforming the way light is produced. An LED is a “solid-state lighting” technology. This means that instead of emitting light from a vacuum (as in an incandescent bulb) or a gas (as in a CFL bulb), an LED emits light from a piece of solid matter – a semiconductor. An LED produces light when electrons move around within its semiconductor structure. As the electrons stream across the semiconductor, they create electromagnetic radiation, which in part takes the form of visible light that we see. The light that is created by an LED can be of any color and can even be ultraviolet or infrared.
Advantages of LED lights
What makes LED’s a green lighting choice is their superb energy efficiency. LED light bulbs use only 2-17 watts of electricity (1/3rd to 1/30th of Incandescent or CFL). This significant reduction is possible because unlike incandescent bulbs that convert most electricity to heat, LED lights convert most of the energy into light.
While common incandescent bulbs get hot and contribute to heat build-up in a room, LEDs do not cause heat build-up. Consider this staggering difference: LEDs produce 3.4 btu’s/hour, compared to 85 for incandescent bulbs! As a result, by preventing heat build up LEDs help reduce air conditioning cost for your home.
Durable and Long-lasting
Because LEDs do not have a filament, they will not get damaged under circumstances when a regular incandescent bulb would be broken. Being solid enables LED bulbs to hold up well to jarring and bumping. Moreover, LED lights last up to 10 times as long as compact fluorescents, and far longer than typical incandescents, saving you the hassle of frequent replacements.
Although LEDs are initially expensive, you will recoup this cost over time in energy savings and long service life. In fact, LED bulbs were first used in commercial applications to reduce the expensive maintenance and replacement costs. With technological advancement, the cost went down, making LEDs available for consumers. The good news is that as technology continues to improve, the price for LED lights will continue to decrease, and soon, it will not be a significant determent to purchase.
Free of Mercury
There is no mercury used in the manufacturing of LEDs, making it a much safer choice than CFL lights, which do contain this toxic health hazardous element.
3 Easy and Creative Home Improvement Ideas with LEDs
LED Shower Lights
Add some fun to your mornings and brighten up your morning with an LED shower light! It installs to a standard shower pipe in mere minutes. When you turn the shower on, the water powers a turbine and the LED shower light lights up. Blue tells you the water is cold. When the water warms up to 89° F (32° C) the light changes to red.
Under Cabinet LED Light
Add a touch of sophistication and extra light to your kitchen by installing LED lights under the cabinet space. Also, if you already have fluorescent lighting under your cabinets, which tends to give off an unpleasant light, you can replace it yourself with LEDs. You can also go all out and install a micro-controller and add a fade-up effect when the lights switch on, as well as have a half-bright mode for those special occasions where dimmer lighting is appropriate.
LED lights for an outdoor space
If you are looking to add a touch of special ambiance to your outdoor parties, you can use LEDs to make neat looking lanterns. All you need is a small led light and battery that you can insert into jars. You can either hang them up, or put them on the table or on the ground. Moreover, if you have a pool, you can put tiny waterproof floating LEDs to light up the water and wow your guests.