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LED Light Bulbs – A worthy Investment?

15 July 2013

Bangkok’s night scene is gorgeous for its vibrant city light. That magical feeling that lights in Bangkok offer its people is indescribable and I am absolutely in love with it. For me, light is not just a necessity, but it is also an art and a way that a city presents its lifestyle and culture. However, this stunning scenery is an exchange of consequences such as wasting non-renewable sources and damaging this green environment. LED offers a solution for its low energy consumption, and yet still capable of producing high quality light.

LED stands for light- emitting diode. It was created by Russian Oleg Vladimirovich Losev in 1927. His research was distributed in Russian, German and British scientific journals, but no practical used was made of the discovery for several decades. In 1962, the first practical visible- spectrum LED was developed by Nick Holonyak Jr, while working at General Electric Company. He made his first report in the journal Applied Physics Letters on the December 1, 1962. Holonyak is seen as the “father of the light- emitting diode”.  In 1976, T.P Pearsall created the first high- brightness, high- efficiency LEDs for optical fiber telecommunications by inventing new semiconductor materials specifically adapted to optical fiber transmission wavelengths.

BKK city nightBangkok city by night

Why Incandescent lamps or Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) are not good choices? 

Although they offer a cheaper price, come in enough shapes and sizes that you can use them for recessed fixtures; there are big reasons to get rid of them.

Health risk

Recent findings have proven that incandescent/ CFL have serious health and environment risks that were previously unknown. Every CFL contains 3-5 mg of mercury necessary for it to work. While it may seem a small amount, continued exposure to mercury may have an effect on health.

Wasted Energy 

Besides, Incandescent lamps produce large amounts of heat. Approximately 90% of the energy that is consumed in an incandescent lamp is wasted in the form of heat, while only 10% is converted to visible light.

Short life span

Furthermore, Incandescent lamps operate at shorter lives than most other lighting sources. Incandescent/CFL is not a good selection for some applications like high ceilings that make lamp replacement very difficult. That is why Incandescent lamps should be used only in areas that can be easily serviced. Hard to reach areas should use a source with a long life span like LED.

Energy consumption problem

There is no denying that certain regions of the world are facing population crises. Considering the fact that the majority of future population growth will cause a rise in demand, it then becomes an issue of how the effects of population size and growth have on energy demand

graphPopulation growth leads to a huge increase in world energy consumption that has taken place during the last 200 years
by Gail Tiverberg

LED- The Best Solution

Nowadays, people sometimes have trouble making small sacrifices but it could be reap big rewards later. Although LED bulbs have been slow to come in to the mass market because of their higher price, compared to incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescents and the fact they require more precise current and heat management, they are extremely energy- efficient. They have many advantages over incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescents such as safety of use, lower energy consumption and a longer lifetime.

Safe for use

LEDs are safe for use. Unlike fluorescent bulbs which contain toxic mercury in design and can sometimes release radiation that can give people headaches, LEDs are designed to be safe among people. In addition, LEDs do not emit UV light, which means the light is less harmful on skin and clothes and it does not attract bugs. 

Low Heat Dissipation- Save Money- Save Energy

Unlike ordinary incandescent bulbs, LEDs do not have a filament that could burn out and they do not get especially hot. An incandescent converts only 5 to 10 percent of its electricity into light, while the rest goes to wasted heat. That is why you will burn yourself if you try to touch an incandescent bulb once it’s turned on. Compared to that, an LED bulb is more efficient. It converts 60 percent of its electricity into light. LED is able to save energy on lighting without having to sacrifice its quality.

Long Life Span

Moreover, the lifespan of an LED surpasses the short life of an incandescent bulb by thousands of hours. LEDs have a general life expectancy of 70,000 hours or longer. If you use your lights for 10 hours a day, you can use it for 13.7 years. An LED’s functional life is rated up to a point where the LED has reached 30 lumen depreciations. In other words, a high- end LED rated at 100,000+ hours would be used as a light source for approximately 70,000 hours. After 70,000 hours the LED would still be operational but at a decreased lumen output and would warrant replacement as per IES standards. If an LED fixture is illuminated an average of 8 hours per day, it will last over 20 years before needing to be replaced. It definitely has tremendous implications for cities, project managers, project owners and the environment.

Imagine two identical cities, one lit exclusive by high- end LED luminaries and one with traditional HID luminaries. The obvious benefit to the LED lit city would be the 30% power consumption reduction from the use of high- end LED lighting. That benefit engenders many positive transformations for that city from lower energy bills to lower taxes and higher property values.

Decrease in cost

Although LEDS are initially expensive, the cost of new LED bulbs has gone down considerably in the last few years and is continuing down. Today, there are many new LED light bulbs for use in home, and the cost is becoming less of an issue.

Other advantages from LED

One of the fascinating qualities about LED is its multi- task designs. LEDs are ideal for museum lighting applications because it is flexible with parchments, artworks, and other sensitive materials.  It can be used, for example, in torches, architectural and medical lights, kitchen light, holiday decoration and so much more. In addition, LEDs are also brighter than ordinary bulbs which could be beneficial, for example, for drivers to see the road clearly when they are driving at night.

LED in Thailand

Nowadays, Thailand’s LED lighting market tends to be gradually rising since 2010.  The growth for LED lighting for lamps was 50% and with expectation to increase 30% per annum for the next 5 years. Thailand’s current LED lighting market is about USD 27 million, with market demand anticipated to increase further between 30%- 50% by 2015; this can be said that LED lighting market seems to have a bright future to growth in Thailand.

Here, at the Broadgate Financial Group, we are now working with the local government authority and large private developers to replace existing light bulbs such as streetlights, major malls, car parks, etc. by LED bulbs.

LED lighting presents a new and a more environmentally friendly option. It’s long lasting and you can save hundreds of dollars on your electric bill. Additionally, LEDs have been environment-friendly for many years. Digital clocks, Christmas lights, flashlights, traffic signals, or even smart phone are all powered by LED. Regardless of its high price, LED still serves as a wise investment for your advantages and the environment. So what are you waiting for?

Do Ngoc MinhDo Nogoc Minh
Support Officer

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of
The Broadgate Financial Group.