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CEC is committed to creating a more resilient and just region in the face of climate change. Through our work with the Central Coast Climate Justice Network and elsewhere, our vision includes an end to racial injustices and their resulting environmental inequities.

This is the final installment of CEC’s three-part series on lighting in your home or office. Lighting accounts for about 30% your electricity consumption. Read Part 1 and Part 2

In Part 3, we’re covering everything you need to know about LEDs.

What are LEDs?
LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are one type of solid-state lighting, which means that the light comes from solid objects instead of gases. Specifically, solid-state lighting uses semiconductors that convert electricity into light, while incandescent and fluorescent lighting creates light with filaments and gases encased in a glass bulb.

LEDs have been around for more than 40 years, but until recently were used only as indicator lamps in electronics, as well as in traffic lights, exit signs and flashlights. Today’s LEDs can be used for task lighting (ie desk lights), night lights, holiday lights, outdoor lighting and other uses. Because the lighting output of one LED is currently less than other traditional lights, LEDs are often grouped in a single device to make them bright enough for household and commercial applications.

Why should I use LEDs?

Long Life.
LEDs can last up to 60,000 hours. By comparison, CFLs last around 10,000 hours and incandescent lightbulbs about 1,000 hours. Additionally, the lifetime of LEDs is not affected by frequent on-off switching. LEDs usually dim as they reach the end of their life, instead of burning out abruptly like many other bulbs.

Energy Saving.
LEDs can be 8-10 times as efficient as incandescent lighting, and current LED lighting technologies are as efficient as fluorescent lighting technologies.

  • Highly Durable. LEDs do not contain breakable glass or filaments and are difficult to damage.
  • Safe. LEDs are low voltage and cool to the touch. LEDs do not emit infrared or ultraviolet radiation or contain mercury.
  • Small Size. LEDs are good for lighting compact spaces and provide flexibility in lighting design.
  • Instant On. Unlike CFLs, LEDs do not require a warm-up time and light up instantly.
  • Fully Dimmable. LEDs do not change color when they are dimmed, unlike incandescent lamps.

What about light quality?
While older LEDs emit a cool, bluish light, newer LEDs emit a warm, white light. Some of the newer blubs also have an option for a warm, yellow light if that’s what you prefer.

Where do I buy LEDs?
Local retailers and internet sites carrying LEDs include:

For those who are curious, check out this video about the
anatomy of an LED by CREE, a LED manufacturer:

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