Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are the newest lighting technology to emerge in the past decade. Discovered around the turn of the century, LED’s were not introduced in a viable form until 1962. Even then, they were mostly used as indicator lights in electronic components and to form the time in clocks and wristwatches. The technology behind LEDs is a basic semiconducting diode, only miniaturized. Excited electrons flow from the anode to the cathode. Upon arriving at the cathode, the electrons release energy in the form of light. The color of the light is dependent upon what material is used for the anode and cathode.
In the past few years, LEDs have become a viable option for commercial and industrial lighting as their efficiency has increased to surpass traditional HID and Fluorescent lamps. Also, the color of the light emitted is very pure, with illuminated items reflecting their true color.
There are a number of challenges that LEDs currently face. Following are a few of the most notable:
Until recently, the initial price of LED fixtures has been prohibitively high for commercial and industrial applications. Today, the cost is still prohibitive in many applications but with price improving by 20%-30% a year – it will not be long until this concern is reduced or elimnated.
Direct light from LEDs can be unpleasant to the eye and has been problematic for optical engineers throughout the years. To combat this glare factor, ECO Lighting Solutions has been working on several optical arrangements to produce the correct type and amount of light needed while minimizing any adverse effects. You can be sure that we will never stop improving upon our optics.
Heat dissipation has been a lingering concern, specifically in hot climates. LEDs have an upper temperature threshold, past which the light degrades exponentially or completely stops emitting. This is less of an issue, but still a concern with indoor fixtures or even open air parking decks in which the fixtures are shaded. The applications in which dissipating heat is extremely challenging are those such as streetlamps, where shade is non-existent and the heat buildup inside the fixture can be detrimental. ECO Lighting Solutions will continue to roll out LED products in a timely manner as this challenge is overcome through technology advancements.
The longevity/life of LEDs can vary greatly, but the most commonly quoted rated life by the actual chip manufacturers is 50,000 hours, which is the rated life ECO Lighting Solutions provides to its customers. The LED category is still being standardized so many companies will advertise beyond this rated life. Buyer beware, as many LED products have already short-lived their estimated life. Ensure that the reputation of the company you choose to work with is backed by strong references and a viable parts/labor warranty.
The industry as a whole is working to overcome these hurdles, and the future for LED usage in the commercial and industrial field is indeed bright.