The advantages of LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) have been known for decades, but it’s only in recent years that the latest generation of LED lighting has become commonly used by businesses and households. In the UK, the sale of incandescent bulbs ended in 2012, higher energy halogen bulbs were banned in September 2021, and fluorescent bulbs are due to be phased out soon: by 2030, the government wants 85% of bulbs sold to be LEDs.
Why does the government care about what kind of bulbs we use in our houses and business premises? Why should you make the switch to LED lighting? Well, there are several benefits of LED lighting …
1. Energy efficiency
This is a phrase we’re used to hearing these days, and you might think that a single bulb can’t make that much difference to your electricity bill. If you tally up the number of lightbulbs in your home, though, you might be surprised at how many you use. If you own business premises, you’ll probably use even more there than you do at home.
One of the main benefits of LED light bulbs is that they use around 80% less energy than traditional bulbs.
That’s a significant reduction in the amount of kilowatt hours (kWhs) you’ll use on your lighting at home or work, and with recent increases in energy prices per kWh, even a small energy saving per bulb can add up.
Factor in the number of houses/businesses in your street/area, and you can see how making a relatively small change can save a huge amount of energy on a national level, helping to lower the UK’s energy emissions.
2. LEDs last longer
Estimates vary as to what degree, but LED lights last a lot longer than traditional halogen or incandescent bulbs. According to the government, one of the benefits of LED lighting is that they last up to 5 times longer than halogen bulbs. Other sources say that halogen bulbs typically last for 1,500 hours, whereas LED lights last for anything from 35,000 to 100,000 hours.
Whatever the exact figure, this longevity is good news for your pocket, because light bulbs aren’t cheap, and if you’ve already tallied up how many you use in your house or place of business, you’ll have a rough idea of how much it will cost to replace them when they next burn out.
3. They won’t burn your fingers
Ever tried to change a standard bulb straight after it’s blown? Halogen and incandescent bulbs create light through heat, so they are extremely hot to the touch after use. One of the practical benefits of LED bulbs is that they don’t emit heat, so you can change them without pain!
4. They’re not as easy to break
Have you ever dropped a box of traditional light bulbs? It doesn’t take much for them to smash, or for that tiny, thin filament to snap. When buying traditional light bulbs in a shop, it was standard practice to have to open the box and check for smashed ones and check that the filaments were intact.
Of all the advantages of LEDs, sturdiness might seem a minor point but it prevents a lot of wastage and expense. They’re so sturdy because an LED is made of compound semiconductor materials, which emit light when the electrical current passes through them, whereas a filament in a traditional bulb is a fragile wire that emits light as a byproduct of heat when turned on.
5. They’re available in different colours
Depending on which compound semiconductor materials each LED bulb is made from, LED lights can emit a wide range of different colours. Traditional, incandescent bulbs, could be coated with a colour such as blue or red, but that coating would dim the amount of light that could pass through the glass of the bulb. Being able to project coloured light into your room without dimming the brightness is another of the benefits of LED bulbs.
6. LEDs can be used in so many ways
Unlike incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, which just light up your home or workplace, LEDs have a wide range of applications. They’re used in electronic instrumentation, cars, game consoles, TVs, traffic lights, and many other ways.
7. LEDs are environmentally friendly
Fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, so they have to be disposed of carefully when they’ve stopped working, or they will inevitably cause damage to the environment. LED lights benefit from being made from compound materials that are recyclable and not harmful to the environment upon disposal.
8. LEDs are reliable, even in cold conditions
Cold weather has an adverse effect on incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. If you run a business with outdoor facilities or indoor premises that are difficult to heat, using traditional bulbs can be costly. Filament bulbs need to be replaced more frequently in the cold, because they can be overwhelmed by the amount of electricity they use to create the heat necessary to emit light. Fluorescent bulbs also require more electricity and still don’t emit as much light as they would in warmer environments.
LEDs can withstand cold conditions, so they’re often used in places such as cold storage spaces and freezers, and for outdoor lighting.
9. They can be used creatively
LED strip lighting is becoming commonly used in homes and business reception areas to highlight feature walls, signage and focal pieces of furniture. Available in different colours, they are visually appealing and can be easily (and cheaply) installed to great effect.
10. They light up instantly
Fluorescent bulbs flicker and take a moment or two to turn on to full brightness. Incandescent bulbs can burn out if they’re switched on and off too frequently, as the filament struggles to cope with the surge of electricity that comes with each flick of the switch.
LEDs, on the other hand, turn on and off instantly, providing immediate, bright light, however often you turn them on and off. This is particularly useful if your business needs to operate night and day, or has to be opened up in the dark, early hours of the morning by lone employees who may like the reassurance of instantly bright light.
11. LEDs operate at lower voltage
If you install a low voltage lighting system, which operates at around 12V, you and your employees or loved ones are far less likely to suffer a harmful electric shock if your lighting system is damaged or exposed to the elements. Voltage systems used to power traditional lighting generate around 120V, which can be fatal if accidentally touched.
12. LEDs are directional
Traditional bulbs illuminate the entire area around them - including the ceiling or wall to which they are attached. If you want to illuminate a certain piece of equipment or furniture such as a desk or kitchen surface, you’d need to buy deflectors or accept the fact that the light (and related heat) is going to go in unintended directions, costing you more than it should.
LEDs, on the other hand, light 180° rather than 360°, so they’re ideal for use in recessed areas such as kitchens, bathrooms or hallways. They’re often used for illuminating pieces of art because of this directionality, and because the light from an LED doesn’t degrade the paint or paper on artwork.
Overall, then, LED lights offer many advantages, and are an easy, cost-efficient way of reducing your carbon footprint. At Safestore, all of our stores are fitted with LED lights and motion sensors as part of our commitment to achieve net zero emissions in line with our sustainability
The cost of replacing your existing lighting system with LEDs should be offset by the energy savings you’ll achieve, and will appeal to customers who are evermore mindful of how important it is for everyone to reduce our carbon emissions.