This guest post is by Stephanie Sundheimer of www.empledlighting.com.
According to a report released by the U.S. Department of energy earlier this year, a progressive shift in the way that Americans view lighting as an outlet for increasing energy savings is currently taking place—and it’s gaining more and more momentum as we speak.
But where did it come from, and just how far can it go? Answering these questions requires an in-depth look at a technology known as solid state lighting (SSL), the family of energy-efficient alternatives that includes the LED.
What is Solid State Lighting?
To understand what solid state lighting is and what benefits it has to offer, we first need to realize the downfalls of its predecessors.
Traditional lighting sources such as fluorescent lamps (the kind you see in a classroom or business) and halogen lamps (these ones you’d recognize in a gymnasium or parking garage) require plasma or electrical filaments for illumination. Because of the way these light sources are manufactured, they put out immense amounts of heat, making them highly inefficient.
The difference with solid state lighting is that the light is emitted in the form of a photon as electrons recombine into designated spots of the lighting device. Because this ultimately requires less energy than traditional lights, the output of heat is significantly lower, making it much more efficient.
The Progression of Solid State Lighting
Although the first Light Emitting Diode was created in 1907, this discovery was far from a practical lighting solution. It wasn’t until nearly half a century later that the first visible LED was created, and it took until the 1990s to finally produce white light.
Since that time however, the progression of LED technologies hasn’t looked back. With a bit of help from the US Department of Energy, LED lighting research exploded in the early 2000s and the result is today’s LED that has the potential to reduce lighting energy consumption in the United States by a quarter, not to mention the expense that could be spared.
Solid State Lighting and the Future
In order to accomplish such a drastic cut in our energy use, LED lighting would have to replace everything from stop lights and street lights to desk lamps and refrigerator bulbs. Is it possible? Yes. But it requires a population dedicated to reducing energy consumption in every way and educating their neighbors in doing the same.
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