The March of LED progress

July 9, 2014

LEDs are a fast emerging technology, best known so far as indicator lamps in electronic equipment. However they are rapidly becoming a popular choice for household lighting, because of their 80% improved efficiency compared to incandescent light bulbs. Their sustained use in this area means that they are likely to become alternatives to the full range of lamps in the very near future.

Though it seems relatively new to the average consumer, the changing attitude towards lights and bulbs actually began over ten years ago. Governments across the globe began phasing out incandescent light bulbs in favour of energy efficient ones, the general trend towards improving energy efficiency across many areas largely driving the movement. These new measures effectively prevented the manufacture, the importation and the sale of incandescent light bulbs for general lighting. This left the door wide open for the success of LED lighting companies, such as Gemma.

The first countries to begin this LED revolution were Brazil and Venezuela in 2005. They were followed by the EU, Switzerland and Australia in 2009 and during 2014 the US, Canada, Mexico and Malaysia will be joining them. In the United States alone up to 2/3 of lamps are expected to be replaced as the worldwide phase out continues over there. As an estimation, if every house in the US replaced just one incandescent bulb for an energy-saving alternative, then it would equate to taking 800,000 vehicles off the road in terms of greenhouse gas emission. That’s an impressive statistic.

The reason for this change was to improve energy efficiency, but recently some unexpected benefits have been noted in surprising areas. One of these has been a very interesting study of students, which found that increasing LED light levels boosted their cortisol level (the hormone that keeps us awake) by not only the same amount as fluorescent light – but also slightly faster. The study was carried out by the Fagerhult Lighting Academy in Sweden, where researchers discovered that the level of cortisol increased in LED-lit environments, with levels of luminance measuring 100cd/M2.

Henrik Clausen, director of Fagerhult, states “Pupil’s cortisol levels raised slightly faster with LEDs than fluorescent lighting. A potential explanation for this is the inherent peak of blue light in LEDs.” This discovery raises the possibility of students in LED-lit classrooms achieving higher grades. Though whilst this is an exciting concept, it has yet to be proven.
Studies like this one by Fagerhult pave the way for more and frequent research tests to be carried out on the benefits of LED lighting – with the distinct possibility as yet unknown benefits of LEDs will be revealed. All in all, this fast emerging technology is gaining a huge market to work within, which is increasing and becoming more and more secure year by year.