lighting

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LED tube lights use approximately half the electricity used by a fluorescent tube – and that should be very appealing to anyone paying the bills! BUT… the problem is that until recently, the cost of the tube has been so high that the savings do not cover the purchase price within the life of the tube.

All that has changed as the cost of the tubes has halved in less than six months due to increased volumes and new technology that sees more than 100 lumens per watt being emitted.

These supplier price decreases mean that our tubes are now well priced and can fully return their purchase price within three years of purchase and this leaves a full additional three years of savings.

It is time now for office managers to start thinking about the change to LED tube lights. Not only will you save money, but you will reduce maintenance costs because unlike fluorescent lights that last 4000 hours, LED tubes go for 30-50000 hours. Oh, let’s not forget you’ll be halving your lighting carbon footprint! Take a look at our LED tube light offering here.

 

 

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The good news for consumers is that the price of LED lights is headed in the right direction – downwards. The one type of LED lighting that we have been waiting to see come down in price is the LED tube. These fluorescent tube replacements are only 50% as energy efficient as the fluorescent tubes they replace so the cost dynamics are really less in their favour than downlights where a 3W LED can replace a 35W halogen light.

So, to see prices on an 18W tube fall from US$27 down to US$18 is gratifying. It means that breakeven timing will fall into a more reasonable time period and make these lights an option. At the same time, the latest ESKOM electricity price hike is also helping to make even a 50% energy saving more attractive to the relatively high cost of the LED tube light.

To make matters even better, consider the newer high power LEDs which are putting out more lumens and that means we can go down to 16W and still get the same light output as a 36W fluorescent tube.

It’s time to think about LED tube lights for home and office applications. Remember also that you’ll be doing your bit for carbon saving as you’ll reduce CO2 emissions by half while we drop our prices to help you do this.

 

 

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Y.F. Yeh, Everlight ‘s Chairman, has stated that led light bulbs will drop to less than US$10 in the second half of 2012.

This will come on the back of a soft first half of 2012 and will be driven by stronger demand after June 2012.

LED lights are gaining popularity as consumers begin to understand the energy saving potential and manufacturers hit higher lumen/watt figures and quality improves. Quality improvements are the key to increasing confidence in the industry, where over promising and under delivery are common. Hopefully, softer demand in H1 2012 will drive fly by night companies out of business and will leave more genuine suppliers like LED Lighting Solutions in a better position to advise customers and provide high quality lighting.

All in, this bodes well for the LED lighting industry and more importantly, for the consumer.

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led lights

LED lighting facilitates education in Africa

 

It has only been 20 years since Africa was introduced to the cellphone. In that time, millions of people have gained access to a communication tool that has changed lives and kept friends and families in touch in places that would never have been reached by land lines.

A similar kind of revolution is taking place in Africa – lighting. Light is key to the social fabric of most societies – allowing people to meet, socialise and work after dark. In so many villages across the continent, light is either provided by fires, paraffin lamps or candles. Electricity is a luxury for many – either not available or too expensive to connect and use.

If you’ve ever tried to read a book by candlelight or the flicker of a paraffin lamp, you’ll know that after a while, the low light level and the flicker will tire out your eyes. Yet millions of students study by candle light or paraffin lamps every day. Until now there just hasn’t been an alternative.

Enter a low energy consumption light source (LED lights), a mechanism to create power (solar cells) and a cheap way to store energy (rechargeable batteries).  While solar and battery technology has been around for some time, led lighting has only recently become viable with higher lumen outputs that make their performance acceptable. But that is not the only reason that change is about to accelerate. What will drive the change is the cost reductions in all three technologies.

In fact, with ever increasing oil prices trading off against technological breakthroughs and scale advantages of these new technologies, pricing is coming within range of “affordable”. A 2 watt solar cell with a battery and a series of small LED lights can light up a small house and now with improvements in quality and longevity, the upfront cost of purchase can be recovered very quickly. Thereafter, the lighting is effectively free and plentiful. All this thanks to the amazing low power consumption of led lights. With over 100 lumens per watt now becoming the standard, just 3 watts can light up a desk or a kitchen area with enough light to see and work by.

Besides the cost recovery angle, the quality of the led lights is far superior to the alternatives anyway, and so students can study with cool white light that does not stress the eyes.

As we move through 2012, and the cost of led lighting declines, and new technologies impact the solar cell and battery components, expect to see led lighting move through Africa at a rapid pace. Perhaps not as fast as the cellphone, but like the cellphone, it will bring welcome changes to the social and educational environment in Africa.

An article by LED Lighting Solutions

 

 

 

 

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A World Bank assessment of lighting in Tanzania found that 37% of people (the largest single grouping in the study) wanted improved lighting for the impact it would make on the education of their children. They said that it would allow their children to do their homework at night.

This concept may be foreign to those in developed countries, but in Africa, candles and paraffin lamps are mostly used by children to do their homework. The flicker and poor light quality often leads to eyestrain and concentration problems with shorter study times being the result.

LED lights are low power consumers and are thus perfect for use with a small solar panel and rechargeable battery pack. Yet low quality led lights that fade very quickly (lumen depreciation) and sub-standard battery packs that do not last more than a few hundred cycles, are damaging the market. Poor people cannot afford to make mistakes on new technology and given the social dynamic of African communities, word of failure spreads fast.

We need to ensure that only good quality led lighting finds its way into the market, and we need to encourage it. Education is the key to development (and to buying good quality LED products), and until we recognise that and do everything needed to improve it, we will not see the growth in Africa that we all wish for. Promoting affordable and useful lighting technology is one way we can do this – and as LED lighting professionals we also need to educate the consumer about the technology to avoid damaging what has to be one of the most important technologies of the millenium.

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LEDs are clearly versatile if this video has anything to say! Who would have thought you could use them like this? It’s got me thing about the other 1000 ways to use these lights… that is, 1000 “interesting” ways to use them.

Check out http://youtu.be/Zd27KKZKby4 

If you have a novel application for LED lights, why not comment here? Let us know about your LED lighting applications that are… a little off the beaten path!

By Steve Giddings

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LED lights? What is the fuss all about you may well be asking. “LED ???” … what the heck does that mean? Here’s a quick, light (sorry!) look at this thing called the “LED light”.

An example of an LED light used to replace standard lighting bulbs

An example of an LED light that replaces a 60W incandescent light bulb

First, let’s begin with the meaning of LED. LED stands for Light Emitting Diode… and even a non-rocket scientist (like me!) can work out that the main thing to note is that it “emits light” . It does this when a power source (like a battery) is applied to its two input terminals and it does so because the boffins have worked out how to get the now powered up little electrons to give off light as they move through the material that makes up this “diode” thing. They have been around for years…but until recently they have been used only as “indicating” lights (e.g. is the TV, cellphone, kettle, hifi etc  on or off) and not for illumination. So they are that little colored plastic light in your hi-fi, hair dryer etc that comes on when you turn the power on.

The electronics of an LED are not important here, just that you need to know that when you attach a power source like a battery or electricity, the result is an electron flow that results in light being emitted.

The catalyst for their development into lights was the realisation that they use very little power to create light. Take your cellphone. That little light that flashes to tell you that it is “on” is not about to drain your battery in a hurry. So some clever people thought “hey, if this thing uses so little power, what about making a light bulb out of them?”.

Problem. Until recently, the amount of light that they could generate was very, very small. So you’d have to connect a room full of them together to get anything near a light that could replace the standard globe above your head.

But, along came even more clever folk who were able to increase the lumen output (call that a measure of light given off) from 3 lumen per watt of electricity to 30 lumens…then 50 lumens and now we are at 100 lumens per watt in commercial applications. I hear the “even more clever” people have prototypes at over 300 lumens per watt. So watt you say!

Well here’s the buzz – a standard 60W incandescent light (which most of us use for lighting) gives off about 700-800 lumens… so that is just 13 lumens per watt. Much of the electricity goes to generating heat in the incandescent bulb…and anyone who has tried to change an incandescent bulb that has been on for a while…will know that! Ouch!

So if we can get the same amount of light that a 60W bulb (60 x 13 lumens/watt= 800 lumens)  puts out with an LED light that requires only 8W (8 x 100 lumens/watt) of electricity, we stand to radically reduce the electricity consumption of that light. That is the beauty of the LED light.

So less power = less cost for the consumer and less carbon dioxide emissions from that power station down the road because only 1/8th of the electricity needs to be generated from coal. Very “green” indeed!

Brilliant! So why are we not ripping out our globes (after they have cooled…of course!) and fitting LED globes?  Well, this is a new technology and at present, the cost of manufacturing the LED lights is still higher than most consumers are willing, or in today’s times…”able…” to spend. There is …um…light on the horizon though, as performance is increasing and costs are coming down. Mainstreaming of the technology will occur in the next 3 years I reckon.

Now when you look at an LED light, you will notice that the base looks quite “heavy”. The reason for this is that the electronics that help make the light work, can generate heat. The problem here is that the more heat that is generated, the more likely the electronics will eventually pack up. So those clever folk in the R&D labs have developed aluminium heat sinks, or ways to get the heat away from the electronics. The aluminium carries the heat away, and because it has a large surface area with all those fins or folds, it allows heat to move off into the air around it. That is why the base looks “heavy”.

That said, LED lights convert 80-95%  of the power into light so they actually don’t get very hot at all. This saves further electricity usage in that air conditioners are not required to cool down the warm air that the incandescent lights are creating (not an advantage in Alaska maybe…but anywhere else it could be quite a saving!).

So there we have it. A new technology that makes low cost lighting possible; reduces carbon emissions and has some other advantages (like they don’t give of ultraviolet light) that add to the positives.

The negatives are that as a disruptive technology, not all products on the market will work as promised and quality varies significantly from manufacturer to manufacturer. I replaced a 50 W halogen spotlight with an LED and ended up staggering around the room trying not to bump into anything! Not at all the equivalent lumen output that the manufacturer had promised, and had I not known better, I may have rejected LED lighting as a “con” and become cynical about this new “ponzi” scheme! Fortunately, I have some really great lights that have adequately replaced the power guzzlers… ahh…that reminds me…the other BIG advantage is that LED lights can last for 50000 hours before they become dim (gradually over time they do go dim… but they don’t  ”burn out” every 1000 hours as do incandescent lights do ). Now if you just use your bedsite light for an hour a day… it means that you’ll die before your 50000 hour LED light will! Imagine leaving your bedside light to your loved ones in your Will..!

So all in all, a technology with a very promising potential. Watch this space in the years ahead… could be just as wonderful and as useful as cell phone technology. The difference is that LED lights won’t be helping your work to follow you everywhere you go! ….

Was this useful? Send comments or post questions on my Facebook page at  http://www.facebook.com/pages/LED-Lighting-Solutions-Africa/314497688585093

By Steve Giddings

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Great article from CNN on energy saving lights. Unbelievable how much energy can actually be saved by moving away from incandescent light bulbs! Welcome to the LED! Check out:

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/12/31/opinion/sloane-edison-bulbs/

By Steve Giddings

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