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)
What a festive way to send out the year. It amazes me how much can be done particularly around color with these LEDs. The Alanta botanicals garden display was really something else and there are no words to describe the Japanese Santa that gets his power source from an electric eel. Eww. In all seriousness though, would these types of displays even been possible using traditional light sources and is the pricetag in doing them with LEDs more expensive, despite the precipitous drop in cost?
It's hard to imagine that those brilliant displays of color can actually be accomplished with a technology that has energy saving ramifications. You're are right Rob. Amazing how far lighting has come.
I'm also impressed by the wide range of lighting produced by the LED lights. Looking through these slides really shows the versatility in presentation. So as well as energy savings and long life, the LEDs are also providing a really assortment in presentation.
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.
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.
We switched over to LEDs this year. The display looks great and being able to hook strand cut down the amount of extension cords that I needed for the display. Additionally, We have not had a tripped circuit breaker this season.
Driving around and looking at lights this season, it was clear that LEDs having taken a big leap forward. The range in different types of lighting made a big difference in the quality of the displays this year.
How come no one's talking about the moral hazard implied by more efficient lights? See, if people know LEDs save energy, they'll use more of them and could wind up with higher total energy consumption.
This, by the way, is the same argument that Steve Forbes once used to argue against higher fuel economy standards for cars: people will just drive more, leading to greater total consumption. Yes, he actually wrote that in his magazine. I immediately dashed off a letter congratulating him on (perhaps unintentionally) solving the fuel crisis: clearly, the way to reduce gasoline use woud be to mandate LOWER mileage for vehicles. Curiously, they didn't print my letter.
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.
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.
Ann, the problem is not the profit motive, it's the lack of meaningful competition. (It's pretty much the same with our public water utility - where we pay the water rate, then about double for a "sewer charge"). Then you have government regulation mandating that you "save electricity" which does nothing for saving dollars.
Jack, sorry to hear that. When I lived in LA several years ago, the municipally owned Department of Water and Power had really low rates over a long period of time and well maintained infrastructure. I was surprised, having grown up with profit-seeking monopoly PG&E, and also knowing what I knew about the really dirty dealings involved in LA's early water history. Also, there are municipally owned water districts in the San Francisco Bay area that are well known for characteristics similar to those of LA's DWP. I have heard that the beneficence (or not) of municipal ownership varies widely depending on state.
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.
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?
Regarding the use on autos and trucks: The move to LEDs was more obvious at this year's Detroit Auto Show. The new Dodge Dart uses 152 LEDs on the back lights and triunk decklid. Numerous cars were using them in the interiors. Most of the hybrids (hybrid engineers are obsessive about power draw in hybrids) used them on the rear lights and interiors.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.