Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb was possibly one of the oldest electric technologies still sold today in stores all across the world. On New Year’s Eve in 1879 Thomas Edison first demonstrated his new incandescent light bulb to the public.
Congress passed a law in 2007 mandating that bulbs producing 100 watts worth of light meet certain efficiency goals beginning in 2012, along with bulbs 40 watts and above in 2014.
Incandescent light bulbs have been the most widely used design for nearly a century. As electricity enters these bulbs, it passes through a metal filament with the base of the bulb. The filament grows so hot that it glows bright white and can be used to light a room. Because these bulbs rely on heat to produce light, they are considered vastly inefficient and have a lifespan ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 hours.
The operational life of current white LED lamps is 100,000 hours. This is 11 years of continuous operation, or 22 years of 50% operation. The long operational life of an led lamp is a stark contrast to the average life of an incandescent bulb, which is approximately 5000 hours. If the lighting device needs to be embedded into a very inaccessible place, using LEDs would virtually eliminate the need for routine bulb replacement.
There is no comparison between the cost of LED lights vs. traditional incandescent options. With incandescent bulbs, the true cost of the bulb is the cost of replacement bulbs and the labor expense and time needed to replace them. These are significant factors, especially where there are a large number of installed bulbs. For office buildings and skyscrapers, maintenance costs to replace bulbs can be enormous. These issues can all be virtually eliminated with the LED option.
Replacing one incandescent bulb with a LED light bulb prevents the release of 300 pounds of carbon dioxide in just one year. LEDs are efficient, durable and produced in great quantities, but can be very expensive. The biggest problem with LEDs is that although they don’t produce as much heat as the incandescent bulbs, the heat they do create shortens the life-span and reduces the efficiency.
The incandescent bulb still holds a place for us in the world today. For instance the 100 watt bulbs have kept pipes from freezing in the cold winter, and young chicks warm in the hen house , our children’s science projects and of course if you have a young cook in the home the Easy bake Oven will not operate without it!
Engineers designing new lighting technologies ultimate goal is to produce more lumens per watt of power consumption. Making sure the product is reliable, affordable and environmentally correct is the goal but also remains to be the most difficult part!