There’s one disturbing cartoon from Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” movie that got stuck in the memory: a polar bear swimming in the open ocean, looking for ice (which is its habitat). The only block of ice that it was able to find was tiny and fragile, so it broke under the weight of the animal. And it drowned. They say that such incidents were hardly ever observed in the past. However, nowadays it’s not rare when people find drowned bodies of polar bears, which means they had been swimming for a while in search of ice…
This is just one highly direct example of climate change impact on the Earth’s biota. However, other species, including ourselves, are affected as well, but in some more subtle ways. It is a scientifically proven and sad fact that global warming and all the disastrous events that are already happening and are about to happen in the nearby future are a result of anthropogenic load on the planet. Rates of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere keep accelerating, yet they are one of the major drivers of global change, which means that we all exacerbate the problem every single day by driving our cars, taking planes to vacation destinations or having our beautiful cities brightly lit all night with conventional incandescent light bulbs.
However, it is possible to not only mitigate the human impact on the Earth, but also reverse it, bringing the carbon dioxide concentration to prehistoric levels. So how do we do that? It is possible when action is taken on multiple levels, one of which is using less of “dirty” electricity in your everyday life. And electricity is still pretty “dirty” in the US: according to the statistics of the www.energy.gov website, around 70% of electric energy comes from burning coal and natural gas, which means that at all possible levels, from a single household to a whole city, a lot of light is equal to a lot of carbon dioxide emissions into our atmosphere. However, commercial buildings definitely use substantially more energy than residential.
So are you worried about the ecological footprint your household or business leaves on the planet? Or maybe you own commercial property where lights are on 24/7 and want to minimize both carbon footprint and costs of your electric bills? Then you might want to consider switching to LED lighting.
What are the benefits of LED light bulbs?
LED lights can put off the same amount of lumen as a standard bulb, but having substantially higher efficiency they produce less heat and consume substantially less electric energy. Around 90-99% of electricity is converted into light by LED bulbs, whereas a standard incandescent bulb loses about the same percentage of energy to heat (see the table below).
LED bulbs are resistant to shock and vibration and, thanks to their longer lifespan (60,000 hours +), they also result in less waste which is another way how they can help in alleviating anthropogenic load on the planet.
Unlike fluorescent lights, these light bulbs do not contain mercury (or any other hazardous substance), which makes them totally safe for both environment and human health. Consequently, the process of their recycling is as simple as recycling plastic or aluminum and doesn’t require any specialized handling.
LED systems offer an opportunity to go green while saving money! It is possible to achieve up to 95% savings on electric bills and maintenance costs by switching to LED lighting products from incandescent and fluorescent bulbs.
Additionally, LED lighting does not develop the flickering effect common with fluorescent lights. This quality makes LED more pleasant for an eye in the work environment and safer in manufacturing areas where moving equipment is exposed.
So, here are the LED benefits in brief:
- High energy efficiency
- Lifespan of 60,000+ hours (7 years, provided that you keep your lights on 24/7!)
- Can be combined with solar panels, reducing electrical energy consumption to zero
- Safe manufacturing
- No flickering
What are the disadvantages of LED light-bulbs?
The only drawback of LED lighting is greater cost. However, there are state-based green energy campaigns that make it affordable. For instance, in many states one may purchase LED light-bulbs at the price of conventional bulbs – the difference might be covered by the state itself or by the electric company.
Moreover, even in the absence of such programs, all the above-mentioned advantages outweigh the expenses associated with switching to LED, as the costs will break even in about one year.