Green Promise Seen in Switch to LED Lighting

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To change the bulbs in the 60-foot-high ceiling lights of Buckingham Palace’s grand stairwell, workers had to erect scaffolding and cover precious portraits of royal forebears.

So when a lighting designer two years ago proposed installing light emitting diodes or LEDs, an emerging lighting technology, the royal family readily assented. The new lights, the designer said, would last more than 22 years and enormously reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions — a big plus for Prince Charles, an ardent environmentalist. Since then, the palace has installed the lighting in chandeliers and on the exterior, where illuminating the entire facade uses less electricity than running an electric teakettle.

In shifting to LED lighting, the palace is part of a small but fast-growing trend that is redefining the century-old conception of lighting, replacing energy-wasting disposable bulbs with efficient fixtures that are often semi-permanent, like those used in plumbing.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEnergy, Natural Resources

10 Comments
Posted May 31, 2009 at 7:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Terry Tee wrote:

God speed the research.  Partly due to new health and safety laws (which, to be honest, are in this case probably correct) our caretaker can no longer teeter up a ladder to change our high-level bulbs in church.  The cost?  £1000 ($1,600) to change the bulbs, so to make it worthwhile we wait until several have gone and we are standing in ecclesiastical gloom before changing the lot.

May 31, 9:29 am | [comment link]
2. Katherine wrote:

I’m either going to buy a ten-year supply of incandescent bulbs the year before CFL bulbs are required, or wait for LEDs, or both.

May 31, 10:09 am | [comment link]
3. IchabodKunkleberry wrote:

LEDs will also provide the interior lighting of the new Boeing 787
aircraft ( the “Dreamliner” ), when it enters service. Its exterior
lights are not LEDs. However, I believe that some military aircraft
already use high-power LEDs on the plane’s exterior.

May 31, 11:37 am | [comment link]
4. robroy wrote:

I have bought lots of LED lights already for about $7. My wife doesn’t like them too much because they are bluish but she puts up with them. We have them on the front porch because those lights get left on a lot. I didn’t know the part about them not putting out UV so they don’t attract bugs. We are currently having the invasion of the miller moths - so annoying. Will have to experiment.

May 31, 1:38 pm | [comment link]
5. AnglicanFirst wrote:

When we changed from whale oil lamps to kerosene lanterns, it was a matter of technological change.  When Edison invented the light bulb, it again was a matter of technological change.

But today?  We have developed LED commericially feasible LED lighting and that LED lighting has become an item to worship on the new altar of the new “green religion.”

Come on.  People are paying more attention to “green’ events and “green” fads than they are to the starving and the disease ridden people in the Third World.  But I guess that such Christian concerns are ‘passe’  and just plain uninspiring to the new adherents of the brave new “green religion.”

May 31, 2:00 pm | [comment link]
6. libraryjim wrote:

Hallogen, LED and CFB’s are just too expensive to make any one the ‘bulb of choice’ on their own, which is why the Government (under Bush!) chose to issue legislation to phase out the incandescent light bulb.  In other words, no market choice, mandated change.  That’s not capitalism, that’s not democracy, that’s not how a republic is supposed to work.

But, on the other hand, at least LEDs don’t have mercury like the CFBs do.

May 31, 2:14 pm | [comment link]
7. Jeffersonian wrote:

I’ve been using CFLs for years and mostly like them.  I’ve found some that are quick-start and have very good color temperature, so you can’t really tell the difference between them and incandescents.  Between the CFLs, a high-SEER A/C, new low-E windows and a few other things, my electric bill has actually dropped in the 11 years I’ve lived in this house, despite significant increases in electric rates.

I’ve been eying the LED units, too, but they still seem pretty pricey for now.  I’m sure I’ll go to them eventually.

May 31, 6:29 pm | [comment link]
8. Adam 12 wrote:

I look for a warm incandescent glow. CFLs are fine if you know which brands to buy. Sadly there is no standard for labeling of hue. LEDs seem to emit just a single frequency of light, which to my eye makes them stark. There seems to be no “fire” in them like an incandescent bulb. It is interesting to see the true violet in Christmas bulbs, which is hard to focus on with the eye (they appear fuzzy to me) and cannot be photographed in its true color at all…it comes out as mere blue.

May 31, 6:55 pm | [comment link]
9. Michael D wrote:

There are three problems with LEDs:
1) Adam is right - LEDs tend to emit in a very narrow wavelength.  That means that things (such as your face in the mirror) tend to appear an odd colour.  This is hard to fix
2) LEDs come on “bang” rather than warming up over half a second.  That can be hard on the eyes.  It is also easy for the manufacturers to fix.
3) LEDs usually can’t be dimmed with a conventional dimmer (because they take so little power, they can get all they need to be full brightness even when the dimmer is down to 5%).  This too can be fixed quite easily.

I think LEDs are a much better solution that Compact Fluorescents.  The fundamental principles suggest that they should end up being way cheaper as well.

June 1, 7:31 pm | [comment link]
10. libraryjim wrote:

Hey, I just came from Target .... I got four halogen outdoor floodlights on clearance for $2.49 each! Finally, a decent price. grin

June 1, 9:33 pm | [comment link]
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