Everyone's searching for
the fountain of youth. We're in the same boat but with
us, it for light bulbs. One of the greatest strengths
of LED lighting and consequently, a huge source of its
savings comes from the longevity of the LED bulb. If
the average American lives to 80 and that's our incandescent
bulb, the LED equivalent person would live to about 800.
This incredible bulb lifespan is a function of how LED's are
made and try as they might, the new hyped versions of
incandescents and CFL's are never going to get close for
very simple and intrinsic reasons. Let's take a look
at what you can expect but first, why do they last longer?
The answer is two fold.
One has to do with an electronics term, Solid State and the
other has to do with the enemy of all machines in the
universe...heat. First, Solid State. Solid State
means that an electronic component is made out of solid
material. The ability to transmit and use electricity
is imbedded in the actual material. For lack of a
better word, it's solid. What's the alternative?
Electronics that have vacuum tubes, moving pieces, and/or
multiple pieces are the alternative and by definition,
there's more that can do wrong. It's actually pretty
impressive you can keep any real vacuum at all like in most
incandescent bulbs. LED's do not require moving
pieces, vacuums, or filaments to they are very stable and
sturdy. Incandescent bulbs have vacuums and create
light by super-heating a filament or small wire or stretch
of a substance by running electricity through it. The
filament resists the electricity to some extent and heats up
as a result. If it gets hot enough, it glows and
converts the electricity to lumens or light in this fashion.
The fluorescents or CFL's trap gas in a vacuum tube and the
electricity excites the gas which then converts the added
electrons into photons or light. There you go
again..vacuums. Think how tough it is to seal a vacuum
under the wear and tear of shipping, manufacturing, and the
grind of time. Let's bring in the other factor.
Heat is the ultimate
boogeyman in machines, systems, and electronics. It is
essentially lost energy and one of the main reasons that
incandescents and fluorescents are so much less efficient
than LED's. They are losing lots of energy in the form
of heat instead of light. LED's do not produce heat
(or very little). It's the most direct conversion of
electricity to light that's available on the market.
Heat has another side effect. It wreaks havoc on
structure and order. In fact, you could say heat is
disorder. It slowly breaks down electronics and the
failure of most CFL's and incandescents are the result of
hours of heat. Again, LED's don't create heat and even
if they did, there are no moving pieces to break down
anyway. So now that we understand why LED's last
longer, let's look at the results.
We'll start with the
original technology of light, incandescents which still make
up a large portion of lighting in the United States.
The average incandescent bulb can be expected to last
between 1100 and 2400 hours on average. If you use the
light 5 hours a day (say for a residence), that's about a
year's worth on average. For a business, it will
probably be half of that in terms of how long the bulbs
last. We use an estimate of 10 hours a day and 241
days in our LED light savings which is conservative but the
cost savings is still significant.
Next, let's look at
fluorescents and CFL's which are just fluorescents in a
compact form factor. The average lifetime for
CFL's is typically between 6000 and 15000 hours. The
lifetime for fluorescent strips typically run 10000 hours,
similar to CFL's.
Now, the fountain of
light youth. LED's. Our LED's can be expected to
last 50,000. We're more than comfortable with that
estimate. We're looking at an average of 50K hours for
LED's, 10K hours for fluorescents and, 1500 hours for
incandescents. The LED's bulbs at the time of purchase
are more expensive but you have to look at the life of the
bulb not to mention the much lower wattage required to
provide the same amount of light.