The light-emitting diode (LED) has been called the most efficient controllable light source ever created. It can deliver a lot of light for a little power, by some accounts offering 10 times as many lumens per watt as an incandescent. It can also control its own brightness and color, making it a strong candidate for applications that call for "smart" lighting capabilities.
Equally important: LED cost is plummeting. Thanks to a phenomenon known as Haitz's Law, LED cost is said to be falling by a factor of 10 every decade, while the light generated per package rises by a factor of 20.
That's where the holidays come in. Low cost and high brightness are a good combination for the holidays. Strings of lights don't sell if they're wildly expensive, and LED cost has dropped just far enough to enable holiday celebrants to invest in them.
Here, we've collected photos from recent LED usage on trees, bushes, and holiday signs. From Christmas to New Year's Eve to Halloween, from battery power to electric-eel-power, we present a smorgasbord of innovative holiday uses for LEDs.
Click the image below to start the holiday LED slideshow:
The owner of this magnolia tree wrapped the trunk with pure white LED mini-lights and covered the branches with red mini-lights. A string of 100 LED lights burns just 4W. (Source: holidayleds.com)
I am curious about the ways that LEDs will be used to make our lives better in other areas. Christmas lights are cool but how will they continue to improve out lives. For instance, I know at one time there was a push in thde trucking industry to use LEDs. Laws determine how many running lights are required on the vehicle, but moving to LEDs can increase efficiency and thus decrease cost to the trucking company.
Amazing, though, how many people actually believe this type of argument? I have had more than one discussion with a certain co-worker who is mesmorized by the local gas pump prices. A penny or two this way or that will really get him going. And if it's higher there then at the next town over, look out. BUt the fact is I drive over 30 miles to work each day and I have to drive it. The price of gas doesn't really dictate how much I drive. It does, however, dictate how much money I have left over to spend on other things.
Actually, Tim, there's one little point that get in the way of your otherwise good (?) argument. After people spend less on electricity, the utility goes ahead and asks for a rate increase. Don't laugh now - this actually happend in Wisconsin. Then, even better, when the utility sends out the bill with the higher rates, they tell you how you can be more efficient and save money! (so they can ask for another rate increas....)
Well, for many years, the only incentive for power companies was to sell more power. Remember the "All-Electric Dream Home" of the 1950's?
Now, at least in some jurisdictions, utilities can be rewarded for selling "negawatts": insulation and other ways of reducing consumption. As Amory Lovins has said for years, the cheapest power of all is the power we don't use: conservation costs less than building new power plants.
Yes, it hurts when rates go up. But if we accounted for the true cost of generating and using power, considering climate disruption, mercury poisoning, the depletion of resources, etc., power would probably cost a lot more. And we would have much bigger incentives to conserve it.
Those are excellent points, Rob. The collateral damage of energy usage is considerable if hard to calculate. And you're also right about the savings on reduced use. Like any reduction in consumption -- whether it's reduction in energy use or reduction in spending -- the savings goes straight to the bottom line.
The pretty LEDs are a welcome replacement for the small incandescent light bulbs, in that they appear to offer better reliability. The actual reliability remains to be seen, since most products will last for a while, regardless of the quality. Her in the Greater DEtroit Michigan area it is the weather that works against the lifetime of lights. The salt mist from road salt is much worse than the MIL salt-spray test, and it goes on for a much longer time as well. So since the lights are not even slightly water proof, they certainly need to be corrosion resistant.
The concern about power shows a fundamental misunderstanding of resource utilization. Utilities make money when their capacity is utilized. Unused capacity provides zero ROI, (return on investment), and any MBA will point out that "it is all about ROI". The result is that if we all cut consumption to conserve, the utilities do "need" to increase prices, or find other buyers. The smart meters will provide a new means to increase prices when the demand is highest, which will certainly increase both profits and ROI. So the smart meters really benefit shareholders, boards, and officer,s of the power companies, but not folks like me, the lowly power customer.
I would also point out that I have been asking for an explanation about how the smart meter will benefit me for more than a year, and so far nobody has attempted to explain how I will benefit. So, once again, can anybody explain the benefit to me?
We had looked at LEDs for parking lot lights to save cost. Unfortunately, the heat sync on the back of the lights gets to a perfect temperature for birds to build nests on them. Solve one problem and create another
That is funny, Tim. I didn't realize LEDs would throw off enough heat to make a difference. Perhaps it's that the heat is at the back of the fixture rather than in the blub (which wouldn't attract nexting birds).
Talking about the heat coming from LEDs. With more and more trucks using LEDs I have seen or read of more instances where the LED can heat up the loading dock shelter and cause damage. Sometimes solving a problem does cause other problems. Especially if there is not a good understanding of the entire system or environment the solution will be in.
Jack, the same thing has happened here in California multiple times with our local utility, PG&E (the ones who became famous for not maintaining their gas lines in San Bruno, causing that fatal explosion last year). Anyway, they keep getting rate increases, and then send out the same little "helpful" bill stuffers telling us how to conserve energy. This even though California has come out at the top of states in how much its citizens saved energy over a multi-year period. If utilities are truly publicly owned, as in by local municipal districts, instead of by shareholders who want profits, perhaps this behavior would stop.
Some cars are more reliable than others, but even the vehicles at the bottom of this year’s Consumer Reports reliability survey are vastly better than those of 20 years ago in the key areas of powertrain and hardware, experts said this week.
Many of the materials in this slideshow are resins or elastomers, plus reinforced materials, styrenics, and PLA masterbatches. Applications range from automotive and aerospace to industrial, consumer electronics and wearables, consumer goods, medical and healthcare, as well as sporting goods, and materials for protecting food and beverages.
While many larger companies are still reluctant to rely on wireless networks to transmit important information in industrial settings, there is an increasing acceptance rate of the newer, more robust wireless options that are now available.
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