Lighting is an important component in almost any setting or industry where a strong visual impact is important for promotion of the product or concept. While the light emitting diode (LED) has been used in commercial applications since 1962, the LED industry is now developing and introducing groundbreaking home applications. The popularity of residential LEDs comes as the result of several different designs and the many different ways that LEDs can be used in the home.
In simplest terms, a light emitting diode is a semiconductor that is designed to produce light. The original LEDs were low energy devices that only produced a low red light. Today’s LEDs emit generate a much higher intensity of light over a range of cool and bright colors.
One of the most impressive applications of the LED has been in flat screen TVs and computer monitors. LEDs are used as the means of displaying the screen image with amazing clarity, resolution and color accuracy that many favor over the competing LCD technology. LEDs provide a great picture that is easier on the eyes. However, TVs and computers make up a small part of the LED device’s uses.
This type of lighting can be found everywhere and it is rapidly replacing traditional lighting sources because of its efficiency, life, energy use and versatility. LEDs are up to 90 percent more efficient than traditional light bulbs and last up to 15 years — seven years longer than incandescent bulbs. An LED also uses 80-90 percent less lighting energy and produces less heat. Environmentally, LEDs are recyclable because they do not contain mercury.
Light emitting diodes have the greatest use in a wide range of lighting applications. They are used for interior and exterior car lighting, aviation lighting, signs, traffic signals, smart lighting, fiber optics, medical technology, plant grow lighting, security lighting and even Christmas tree lighting. In fact, LEDs can be designed for any lighting use because there are a wide range of sizes and shapes for these devices.
One of the interesting characteristics of LED technology is that many of the devices are programmable. In other words, Infrared LED lighting in remote controls have been programmed and used for years to operate home entertainment systems. Newer “Smart Home” applications are now available to perform several functions:
- Lighting Control — Modular LED lighting systems are available to change lighting levels and colors. The effect of altering lighting can create a mood by rearranging lighting intensity and color.
- Security — Exterior LED lighting can be incorporated into an existing security system to brighten when the alarm comes on. Another application is to rotate turning light on and off while residents are away from home.
- Home Entertainment Systems — A home system be designed to integrate lighting, curtains, sound and equipment operation into one set of controls.
The future of LED technology is unlimited. New applications in every industry and in the home will improve the way we live. Another obvious benefit is the reduction in energy use by retrofitting lighting systems to LED lighting. As innovation is bound to continue with this technology, LED lighting promises a bright future.