LED Lighting FAQs

Part 1: LED Basics

Light Emitting Diode. Invented in 1927, the first practical versions were offered in 1962, and only available in red. Because of their low power and small size, they made good indicator lights. (And still do!) As they developed to become brighter and support additional colors, they were soon used in number displays and digital clocks. Today, they are bright enough to be used for lighting.

LED lights are the newest generation of lighting products, and have many advantages over other lighting types. Typical lighting products include one or more LED chips as the light source, optics to shape and direct the light, an LED driver circuit to provide the correct voltage and current, and a thermal system to cool the assembly and provide for long life. These elements are normally packaged together as “an LED light bulb” and may look at first glance like a traditional light bulb or fluorescent tube – but they are much better than those traditional products.

Unlike incandescent, fluorescents, or CFLs which use inefficient gases or vapors, LED lighting uses a process called electro-luminescence. That’s a fancy way of saying it operates by a semiconductor technology that converts electrical energy directly into light.

Chances are good that your flat screen television, smart phone or laptop screen uses LED lighting. This is the same basic technology that is used in the more powerful LED room and architectural lighting.

Based on estimates by the U.S. Department of Energy, large-scale conversion to LEDs over the next decade will result in:

  • 62% reduction in energy consumption for lighting, which means less output is needed from power plants for that purpose
  • 258 million metric tons of reduced carbon emissions
  • Drastic reduction in the amount of lighting-related waste going into landfills – which is especially important due to the high mercury levels found in fluorescent light bulbs, including compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs
  • 133 power plants worldwide will not have to be built to support lighting needs

Part 2: LED Myths

LED lighting can be purchased to MATCH THE EXACT LIGHTING COLOR you are currently using, from soft white (2700K used in hotels) to cool white (4000K used in offices) to super cool (5500K used in hospitals). The key is to choose the best lighting for the intended tasks in that area – you can choose the color you prefer.

LED fixtures and lamps can now mimic any traditional lighting source, with a full range from omni-directional flood lighting to narrow spotlights.

TL Energy has ample stock to meet customer demand, and we can support any size project being considered.

TL Energy can offer lighting solutions with as low as a 4 month payback! Our representatives can quickly review your situation and provide you a plan for your estimated savings. And our LED lighting comes with a substantial 5 year warranty – so you can enjoy energy savings for the longer term.

Part 3: Lighting Technology Comparison

There are several types of lighting on the market, based on several different technologies. Here is a short roundup of the most common lighting types for comparison:

An LED is a semiconductor light source that converts electrical energy directly into light. Compared to incandescent light sources, LEDs have lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved robustness, smaller size, and faster switching.

LED lighting solutions can replace all conventional lighting technologies to reduce energy consumption, extend longevity of the lamp and eliminate exposure to harmful elements such as mercury or UV radiation…all while simultaneously cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

The least efficient and most common type of lighting used in homes. There are more than 1 billion incandescent lamps purchased per year worldwide. Drawbacks: easily breakable, hot to touch, requires 400-1000% more wattage (and energy use) than comparable LED lighting to obtain the same light output.

An incandescent lamp that has a small amount of a halogen such as iodine or bromine added. Drawbacks: extremely hot to touch, proven to burnout after a shorter useful life, and uses 400-1000% more wattage than comparable LED lighting.

The CFL is a fluorescent lamp designed to replace an incandescent lamp. CFLs give the same amount of visible light, use less power, and have a longer rated life. Drawbacks: Contain mercury and emit harmful UV radiation. While better in energy use than incandescent bulbs, they still require 50-65% more wattage than comparable LED lighting.

Part of the High Intensity Discharge (HID) family of lamps, Metal Halide lamps produce high light output for their size, making them a compact, powerful, and relatively efficient light source. Drawbacks: Still require 80-300% more wattage than comparable LED lighting for the same output.

A gas-discharge light that uses electricity to excite mercury vapor, producing visible, and ultraviolet light. These lights were offered as an energy-saving alternative to incandescent lights, and do save energy in that comparison. Drawbacks: Includes toxic mercury, that can be released accidentally or end up in landfills, gives off damaging ultraviolet light, and uses 35-120% more wattage than comparable LED lighting.

A type of gas discharge light that uses sodium to produce light. HPS lights are smaller than Low Pressure Sodium lights, and are widely used for outdoor lighting (street lights and security lighting are typical examples). Sodium vapor lamps cause less toxic pollution than mercury-vapor lamps. Drawbacks: Harsh yellow light and requires 80-300% more wattage than comparable LED lighting.