You see them every day. They’re in our traffic lights, exit signs, and auto taillights. They flood the shelves in every store during Christmas season. They’re different, brighter, smaller, and significantly more expensive. So what is Landscape LED Lighting and why is it important? Do I really want or need LEDs? Why do they cost so much more? Do they really save that much energy? Is Thomas Edison’s electric light bulb really following the trends of CRT monitors, 8-track tapes, and the USPS? Should I already have started stockpiling 100-watt bulbs in my “preppers’” bunker?
LED is an acronym for Light Emitting Diode and in its simplest terms, any LED lamp (or bulb) is actually an electronic device. Far more advanced than that old bulb you can screw into a socket, it has specific needs and operating preferences. Even with its higher upfront cost, LED lamps will provide you with real benefits.
First and foremost, the illumination provided per watt is far, far greater than any incumbent technologies. The more we discuss environmental, political, and financial advantages of achieving energy independence, the greatest impact we can have is to consume energy more wisely than we have in the past. Simply put, LEDs get much better “MPG” than our old gas guzzlers, but we now call it “LPW” (Lumens Per Watt), or efficacy.
In addition to saving 60-80% percent on your electric bill, LEDs last five to ten times longer than incandescent or halogen bulbs, resulting in significantly lower maintenance costs. Think of all the trips to the store for replacement bulbs and dragging out the ladder for the hard to reach places! Many who are familiar with the early LEDs were likely unhappy with the color of illumination. I often hear comments like “those are the blue or purple lights, right?” I’m here to tell you that that isn’t the case anymore. But buyers beware – the inexpensive products are still inferior and will not render the color we want. Stick with name brands and companies who invest in R&D.
I’m often asked to suggest the best place to begin researching LEDs. The answer is often a question. There is a difference between retrofitting existing fixtures and designing a new space from scratch. Even today, new construction, rehab projects, and additions are often saddled with old lighting technology due to a general lack of knowledge. Seek a professional who can help you sort out the options. In the case of retrofitting existing lighting, the answer isn’t the same for everyone. I tend to find the low hanging fruit where you can achieve the most bang for your lighting buck. Kitchens are my top interior choice. Product choices have advanced, are available, and also affordable. Cooking areas normally benefit from the true white lighting.
Landscape lighting is my top exterior choice. The colors of the landscape (the greens and blues especially) really pop bathed in LED illumination. Most consumers use their landscape lighting six to eight hours each night, making the savings factor significant. For those who have fixtures mounted in trees, the decision is a no-brainer. Many kitchen fixtures (especially recessed) can be converted to LED. In the landscape, professionally installed, quality built, water-tight luminaires can also be converted. Ask a professional to help you bring your lighting to the cutting edge! Contact us with any questions.