Industry looks to LED bulbs

LED bulbs electrify lighting at Lightfair International.


According to a story in the New York Times , all you have to do is walk around the floor of Lightfair International , the lighting industry's annual trade show at the Javits Center in New York last week, and you would be forgiven for thinking that lamps based on light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, had already filled our homes and workplaces.

LED bulbs and fixtures dominated nearly every booth on the show floor.

Now all the world has to do is catch up. Most people think of LEDs as the lights blinking from inside electronic devices. They are being used increasingly to light rooms, though few people have ever bought them.

"In the U.S., 78% of the public is completely unaware that traditional light bulbs will be phased out in 2012," said Charles F. Jerabek, president and chief executive of Osram Sylvania, a unit of Siemens. By law, bulbs must be 30% more efficient than current incandescent versions beginning that year.

While the current crop of compact fluorescents could do the job, the industry is rallying around LED lamps for many applications. They say LEDs last longer than current bulbs and compact fluorescent ones and their energy consumption could eventually be less than fluorescent lights'. They can also be made in many shapes and sizes, which was evident at the trade show. Unlike compact fluorescents bulbs, they contain no mercury and they work well in cold weather. They provide a more pleasing light than fluorescents.

Manufacturers displayed LEDs incorporated into large warehouse, garage and street-lighting fixtures, flexible light ribbons, and replacements for the halogen reflector lamps used in kitchens and offices. Strips of flexible LEDs from Osram Sylvania put light in places where it could not otherwise fit. Later this year, the company will market tiny LED chandelier lights that use 6 W instead of the 15 W typical of an incandescent version. It says they will last 25,000 hours instead of 1,500 for an incandescent bulb. Also this fall, Osram, Lighting Science and Philips will introduce 25,000-hour LED lamps that look like traditional bulbs but use just 8 W of electricity to produce the same amount of light as a 40 W bulb.

Read the full New York Times story.


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