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It is 2017 and incandescent is still better than LED  RSS feed

 
Dan Boone
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I don't necessarily disbelieve what's in that article, but it follows a common internet pattern: it goes into incredible detail making a variety of scientific-sounding claims that seem plausible because we are already inclined to think they might be true.  But I couldn't spot any citations to actual science on the matters asserted; instead, it all sources back to "our interview with this world-renowned expert" and the stuff he says.  So basically, the story resolves to "this one guy on the internet says we're all right to be suspicious of the LEDs" and I'm not sure if we actually know very much more than we knew before.   The couple of paragraphs tacked on the end saying "and oh yes, buy these fancy candles, they are even better than incandescent light bulbs, but don't buy any other candles, they're nasty" also fits the common internet pattern of this kind of writing; it's often reliable to use an "is this article selling something, and if so, what?" rubric to assess how seriously to take internet information.

Basically I'm saying that the pattern of the article triggers all my BS detectors even though the content is interesting and plausible-sounding.  And I could not find the sort of authoritative sourcing that I look for when my BS detector is going off and I'm trying to silence it without removing the batteries.  This is just my reaction as an internet marketer who can tell when he's being marketed. 

I did find it especially interesting that the halogen spectrum reveals a similar color profile to the incandescent spectrum.  I've always really enjoyed halogen light, preferring it even to incandescent bulbs for reasons impossible to articulate.
 
Deb Rebel
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I'm agreeing a bit with Dan here. I have had health issues and dug through a huge pile of 'info sites' that purport to tell me what I need to fix my life, then want to sell me expensive proprietary miracle pills, powders, serums, and creams. There is a bit of truth imbedded in all of these and by diligent gleaning I have amassed some stuff that was useful. This does trigger a few of those alarms, well honed with use. If you dig deep enough on the net you will find something to support anything you need. Without a bunch of references to research studies (that can often now be looked up), it loses credence. Even the miracle pill sites have a list of research studies (some of those however have been loosely interpreted by the one that used the research study to prop up what they're writing about) I quickly added some hand tint to the chart by eyeballing the 'daylight' graph in Paul's latest post.

GraphForLED-s.jpg
[Thumbnail for GraphForLED-s.jpg]
Manufacturer graph for SMD LED light output
 
paul wheaton
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It is possible for a thing to be true without research. 

It is even possible that there is research done to prove a thing to be false, and later it turns out to be true.

I haven't read the whole article, but I do see proper use of qualifiers throughout.  The title even has a qualifier "How led lighting May Compromise Your Health".

Further, it is possible that the speculation of two experts might have a great deal of weight. 

I grant you - we're not seeing proof here, but we are seeing interesting speculation by experts.   Which has at least a little weight. 

I think that for a lot of the issues for this whole site, we are exploring topics for which we might choose a path that is contrary to a thousand "proven" studies.  So when do we choose to follow the research or when do we choose to be suspicious of research?    In the case of led lights, my spidey sense says that incandescent lights provide a high quality light and the really good LED lights are, I suspect, not so much.  I am glad that there are two other people that have thoughts similar to mine.

 
Deb Rebel
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paul wheaton wrote:It is possible for a thing to be true without research. 

It is even possible that there is research done to prove a thing to be false, and later it turns out to be true.

I haven't read the whole article, but I do see proper use of qualifiers throughout.  The title even has a qualifier "How LED Lighting May Compromise Your Health".

Further, it is possible that the speculation of two experts might have a great deal of weight. 

I grant you - we're not seeing proof here, but we are seeing interesting speculation by experts.   Which has at least a little weight. 

I think that for a lot of the issues for this whole site, we are exploring topics for which we might choose a path that is contrary to a thousand "proven" studies.  So when do we choose to follow the research or when do we choose to be suspicious of research?    In the case of LED lights, my spidey sense says that incandescent lights provide a high quality light and the really good LED lights are, I suspect, not so much.  I am glad that there are two other people that have thoughts similar to mine.



I totally agree. There is a lot of research and if you look you can find what you want, as well as what may be the dead truth. It takes work to figure out which is which. I totally respect that you prefer incandescent. In the range of incandescent, I totally adore old style hand wound filament Edison type bulbs. Totally wonderful. I have a couple. For certain situations and moods, they are absolutely great.

Because I am an artist, I need daylight or close to it. I have SADD. With 6500 k lighting (currently mostly CFL) I have a LOT LESS depression issues than I used to. I also take my time in real sunlight, that is still my preferred light and lighting source. Because I want to eventually go at least 'mostly' off-grid and be able to sever if I need to (drive my own electrical sourcing to at least 85% of my needs) I need to look at stuff that is more energy efficient, which is leading me into led light. The return of lumens versus electricity consumed is much much higher than any other reasonably available source at this time. I watched CFL come onto the scene, the price come down, the quality go up, and the range broaden. In roughly 2003-2004 is when I moved from incandescent to CFL and around 2010 into daylight spectrum CFL. I have watched LED evolve too, and it is getting to where CFL was around 2003. Experiments of my own are ending and I'm starting to move to that as my main lighting source. It is chipping away at my electric bill, and as I work on going solar and wind with self built things, it should allow me to still live comfortably with a smaller footprint. (I use a lot more task lighting than I did a decade ago for example).

Just as I have some allergies that are strange, and other issues with my hearing and tinntinitus, others may have physical or psychological issues related to the wavelength of light they are exposed to. FOR NO OTHER REASON, if you are happier with incandescent light source and the spectrum emitted is what seems to make you happy, by all means. Part of my flagship reason for high spectrum CFL and LED seems to be the over all perception of mood and how things appear under that light, to me. Coupled with my need to reduce the amount of electricity I am using. CFLs and Fluorescent used to have a mercury issue which I totally agree is bad and ugly for the environment but non-mercury containing variants have come out (and that is what I use).

No matter what the source, light at a particular wavelength is identical to any other light of the same wavelength whether it is generated by glowing tungsten, a substrate, rare gases and phosphor, or nuclear fusion. The range, mix, and strength of those different wavelengths presented as a bundle by the lightsource varies widely however. Our discussion is indeed the mix of wavelengths of light produced by various light emtting sources (candles/fire, incandescent bulbs, fluourescent or CFL bulbs, and LED devices). And what that mix does for you or does against you. For some, they may do well, or best under natural lighting sources, some under incandescent and some with other light sources. Nothing fits everyone perfectly. Plus there may be tradeoffs. In my case at least, the higher general wavelight emission set of 6500 CFL and LED seems to be a positive in my case (helping alleviate my SADD) versus any other apparent negatives, that I can reasonably track. So in my case and experience, I advocate LED's as a positive foreseeable future, between the reduced use of electricity, the 'improved' seeing with it, and a general overall improvement in my health (combatting SADD).

I love the forums on here because we can share knowledge, get many other viewpoints and insights, and agree to disagree.

 
Dan Boone
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paul wheaton wrote:It is possible for a thing to be true without research. 

It is even possible that there is research done to prove a thing to be false, and later it turns out to be true.

I haven't read the whole article, but I do see proper use of qualifiers throughout.  The title even has a qualifier "How LED Lighting May Compromise Your Health".

Further, it is possible that the speculation of two experts might have a great deal of weight. 

I grant you - we're not seeing proof here, but we are seeing interesting speculation by experts.   Which has at least a little weight. 

I think that for a lot of the issues for this whole site, we are exploring topics for which we might choose a path that is contrary to a thousand "proven" studies.  So when do we choose to follow the research or when do we choose to be suspicious of research?    In the case of LED lights, my spidey sense says that incandescent lights provide a high quality light and the really good LED lights are, I suspect, not so much.  I am glad that there are two other people that have thoughts similar to mine.


I want to add to your list another reason why research isn't the be-all and end-all: some subjects are so complicated (and have so many thousands of potentially confounding variables) that confirming research is impossible, impossibly expensive, or will take many years or decades to be "complete" to anyone's satisfaction.  The classic example is competing theories of best human nutrition: it's impossible to do double-blind fully-controlled studies because there's no such thing as placebo butter, it's unethical and impractical to do really long-term controlled feeding studies on humans, and there are so many other things that affect the health outcomes that diet also affects, there's no way to control for them all because you can't even identify them all, nor confirm their relevance if you could. 

It may be that "proving" the health effects of various lighting choices is similarly very difficultly-complex.  In which case, as with nutrition, all we can do is listen-with-attention to the opinions (guesses, gut-checks, informed speculations) of experts, then go with what sounds most plausible to us in light of our experiences, preferences, and intuitions.

So yeah: lack of research citations in the article doesn't say anything about whether it's right or wrong.  I tried really hard to explain my concerns without sounding like just another Wikipedia "citations needed" jerk.   I guess I didn't quite pull it off, for which I'm sorry.  It's the structure of the essay-followed-by-sales-pitch that sets off my warning bells; the actual content is interesting and plausible-sounding.  I was just hoping to highlight the not-easy-to-see structure so that other people could give it whatever weight seems appropriate to them.
 
paul wheaton
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Troy Rhodes
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Some studies suggest that the LED lights that are full spectrum (i.e. plenty of blue light) may mess up circadian rhythms, on both humans and other wildlife.


If further studies prove this out, it is straightforward to tune the leds to produce a "warmer" spectrum with less blue light. 


They could even make leds that emit a color spectrum that is very similar to incandescent lighting.  As soon as the marketing people hear about this, you'll see led products come out with a much warmer color spectrum.
 
Deb Rebel
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I recently spent a long weekend on the west coast at a convention held in a fairly lovely venue... and all the rooms were in dim incandescent lighting. Not even Edison, just plain dim. The wall painting was incredible, and a lot was done in shades of yellow ochre. During sun hours, the rooms were beautiful. Sun went down, it was just gloomy dim. Most of us attending went out and bought some CFLs in daylight (6000k to 6500k) and replaced the lamp bulbs just to get rid of the DREARY, though the big overhead fixture in most rooms couldn't be helped. The bathrooms were at least marginally tolerable (cool whites) but. I do have SADD and I had a pretty bad pass of it being in those rooms for the event. With our weather being overcast a lot and rained every day (just a matter of when), I'll embrace my CFL's and LED's. (I sent a whole box of lightly used CFL's home to myself, some of the others just gave me their slightly used bulbs, so they will at least get used).

I think our argument does get down to preference plus cost plus the energy used. I definitely choose to embrace the daylight spectrum bulbs and LED's, the change in my mood was very noticeable and instant. No I didn't seem to go to sleep any easier without all the higher spectrum light around, I was just literally sad and depressed. Because I do want to get to 'off the grid' or close to it, it makes sense to go to the most lumens for the least energy expended, in which case LED will be my choice. They come in many spectrum ranges, just pick the range you prefer.

I respect those that feel they do better with the 'warm white' of incandescent. Lamp light (burning oil) doesn't bring forth the same with me, neither does Edison type bulbs. I think because when I use those, dim is what I get and usually I am not trying to do intensive work under such artificial lighting, it also helps with the perception.

With trying to reduce my energy footprint though, I can't justify to myself to use the incandescent any more, even though they do give off heat. In some situations you want that, heat; but I would rather heat with an RMH these days and reduce the electricity I am consuming. With LED's running maybe 20% the energy for lumens returned, I'd rather do that. This topic will be an agree-to-disagree for a long time to come.
 
Creighton Samuiels
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Troy Rhodes wrote:Some studies suggest that the LED lights that are full spectrum (i.e. plenty of blue light) may mess up circadian rhythms, on both humans and other wildlife.


If further studies prove this out, it is straightforward to tune the leds to produce a "warmer" spectrum with less blue light. 


They could even make leds that emit a color spectrum that is very similar to incandescent lighting.  As soon as the marketing people hear about this, you'll see led products come out with a much warmer color spectrum.


While this is possible from a manufacturing perspective, it's not exactly straighforward.  There are core, physical reasons that "white" LED's are heavy in the blue spectrums; mostly because the elements that they are made from are resonant in that frequency.  LED's are not very cheap to make on an individual basis, significantly more expensive than a standard incandescent bulb for many reasons; but the particular manufacturing process that produces the blued white LED's permits them to be particularly high output, so fewer of them are required to produce the amount of light necessary to solve the problem.  We may see a daylight spectrum LED eventually, but it is unlikely to ever be a cheaper manufacturing process than the current blued white.  More likely we will eventually see the issue with spectrum managed by using multiple color LED's in a single lighting fixure, which is how grow lights are created using LEDs.
 
Deb Rebel
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Creighton Samuiels wrote:
While this is possible from a manufacturing perspective, it's not exactly straighforward.  There are core, physical reasons that "white" LED's are heavy in the blue spectrums; mostly because the elements that they are made from are resonant in that frequency.  LED's are not very cheap to make on an individual basis, significantly more expensive than a standard incandescent bulb for many reasons; but the particular manufacturing process that produces the blued white LED's permits them to be particularly high output, so fewer of them are required to produce the amount of light necessary to solve the problem.  We may see a daylight spectrum LED eventually, but it is unlikely to ever be a cheaper manufacturing process than the current blued white.  More likely we will eventually see the issue with spectrum managed by using multiple color LED's in a single lighting fixure, which is how grow lights are created using LEDs.


I am experimenting this winter with some SMD reeled LED's with a mix of red and blue, to keep my houseplants alive and to start cuttings and seeds over this winter. I also have a reel each of warm white and cool white (2700k and 3100k I believe) to work with. The cost is comparable to retrofitting some grow stands I have with T5 54w HO fixtures but cutting the energy use of the T5's in half.

The specifications of the tape I am experimenting with, has 300 LED's per 5 meters.

Size: W1cm x T0.25cm                                          Width:10mm                       Emitting Color: Red+Blue       Red:Blue = 4:1               Length: 1M/2M/3M/4M/5M
Protection Rate Bare Board Non-waterproof            Working Voltage: 12V DC     LED Quantity: 60leds/m         Viewing Angle : 120°       Wattage: 12W/meter
Wavelength: Red 625-660nm; Blue: 450-465nm
Applications: Plant tissue culture , vegetable cultivation, horticulture and industrial seedling and aerospace ecological life support systems.
Red light promote plant production germination , flowering,    Blue light can enhance the chloroplasts of activities to promote plant photosynthesis

However for primary lighting this does NOT work, it sort of gives a reddish pink light that is best described as 'hooker lounge bar hour'.... and has already garnered the interest of our City's Finest, the Sheriff, and a member of the local Highway Patrol that drove by and seen the GLOW. This is not a state that allows recreational plants, so they were wondering. The HP has a drug dog, who came to pay a visit and he just wagged his tail for me.
 
Harry Wolf
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paul wheaton wrote:In another thread, Devaka asked me for my current opinion on LED light.


Great post and insight thank you so much. I would love your help on which manufacturer of incandescent bulbs, is in your opinion the best quality for durability and lighting, that I will be able to get in the United Kingdom, I went looking for incandescent bulbs after reading about all the emf, mercury, lead, blue light and uv radiation associated with these new energy bulbs from multiple sources, and was surprised to find after visiting 5 different shops that nobody stocks them anymore.

I managed to find these 40 watt incandescent bulbs,  after a lot of searching, they come two In a box, one blew straight away 😫 So I'm not sure if I should be using 60 watt or if they are just cheap bad bulbs idk?



http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2626564/The-medical-experts-refuse-use-low-energy-lightbulbs-homes-Professors-stocked-old-style-bulbs-protect-against-skin-cancer-blindness-So-YOU-worried.html

One article ☝🏻 I'm sticking with incandescent 💯percent, my wife suffers from insomnia and migraines in this blue light I'm sure.

I like the idea of the hand wound filament Edison bulbs looks 😍❤
are they the same as incandescent bulbs in regards to lighting produced and the toxicity or do they pose health risks also? any information on these and where the best place to acquire them would be great also.

Tara Sanders wrote:LED lights are toxic as are all artificial lights with blue light.  Blue light is a non-ioninzing EMF and produces the same health problems as
Regular glasses to block blue light:


Thank you for this information, if you could help me with the same questions above I'd appreciate your insight ☝🏻

Casie Becker wrote:I have one tiny and relatively uninformed thing about why the blue lights are in at least some areas considered undesirable. My family is prone to insomnia, so this is something I've heard talked about several times. Something about the blue wavelengths excites the brain. If you use it indoors (or are spending late night on the computer) it can confuse your bodies natural sleep cycle. There are programs that are supposed to change the light output of your computers to help prevent this.


Apple has introduced the night shift within the new iPads and phones to eliminate the blue light. Which is interesting.
orgonite with shungite has been proven to block emf currently researching where to get this for all of my devices also.
 
Blaze Gorski
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Hmm nice discussion question, but here is a comment from the dr. mercola article referenced by Paul earlier in the thread:

"Dr. Mercola thank you for this share of knowledge. I just want to ad quantum aspect to this. Fortunately frequency is not only expressed in light so if we use our limited understanding of frequency this article paints very dangerous scenario. Frequency is represented in everything there is. Our food is nothing more than particular collage of frequencies which our brain interprets as matter. Depending on these frequencies and the brain program those frequencies are presented to us in a form of particular food. This is why we have to eat the food in a natural way as we encounter it. Every manipulation of food changes its frequency and same as changed light affects our cells differently by changing the activity of genes. There are people living close to the North Pole and do not see sunlight for 6 months and are very healthy. This is because they receive frequencies through unaltered food. Same frequencies can be delivered to our genes through several sources. One of them is a light, the other is a sound and the third is the brain interpretation of those two we call "real matter" in this case a food. There is a third and most important frequency aspect and this is frequency in its basic electromagnetic form of thought which we can receive or our brain can reproduce once it has experienced them. Unless we start taking in consideration the quantum understanding of life, our knowledge will be marginal and never understood correctly. Our cells respond to the stimulation given to them through the gene activity and the activity of genes depends on frequency stimulation received through telomeres. In my opinion our body is a robot that runs on frequencies and does not care where those frequencies come from as long as they are the correct frequencies. Love and light"
 
Deb Rebel
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Harry Wolf wrote:I like the idea of the hand wound filament Edison bulbs looks 😍❤
are they the same as incandescent bulbs in regards to lighting produced and the toxicity or do they pose health risks also? any information on these and where the best place to acquire them would be great also.


Restoration Hardware and a few other places carry them. Usually they are sort of expensive and give off maybe a third of the light you are used to for incandescent.
https://www.amazon.com/Watt-Marconi-Squirrel-Cage-Filament/dp/B0080IDHZY ; is one on amazon. https://www.1000bulbs.com/product/54666/IN-L4099.html similar on 1000bulbs.

Casie Becker wrote:I have one tiny and relatively uninformed thing about why the blue lights are in at least some areas considered undesirable. My family is prone to insomnia, so this is something I've heard talked about several times. Something about the blue wavelengths excites the brain. If you use it indoors (or are spending late night on the computer) it can confuse your bodies natural sleep cycle. There are programs that are supposed to change the light output of your computers to help prevent this.


I have real issues with SADD that got highlighted when I recently made a trip to the west coast and stayed at a place that was all dull dim warm white lighting. Between that and the grey overcast and rainy outdoors, instant issues. I really do need 6500k to combat that. Now some say if you get some orange 'glare blocker' glasses to wear an hour or two before bed, it can help with your devices and your regular light.
https://www.amazon.com/Uvex-Blocking-Computer-Glasses-SCT-Orange/dp/B000USRG90/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483266482&sr=8-1&keywords=orange+tinted+glasses+blue+blocking  ; may help with resetting yourself to be able then to sleep.

Harry Wolf wrote:Apple has introduced the night shift within the new iPads and phones to eliminate the blue light. Which is interesting.
orgonite with shungite has been proven to block emf currently researching where to get this for all of my devices also.


https://shungit-store.com/shungite-tumbled-stones/view-all-products ;

Direct source.
 
Harry Wolf
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Deb Rebel wrote:
Harry Wolf wrote:I like the idea of the hand wound filament Edison bulbs looks 😍❤
are they the same as incandescent bulbs in regards to lighting produced and the toxicity or do they pose health risks also? any information on these and where the best place to acquire them would be great also.


Restoration Hardware and a few other places carry them. Usually they are sort of expensive and give off maybe a third of the light you are used to for incandescent.
https://www.amazon.com/Watt-Marconi-Squirrel-Cage-Filament/dp/B0080IDHZY ; is one on amazon. https://www.1000bulbs.com/product/54666/IN-L4099.html similar on 1000bulbs.

Direct source.


Thank you for taking the time to enlighten me. 🙏🏻

Anyone know who is the best brand for 40, 60 watt incandescent light bulbs? Bell? crompton?

I'm pretty sure what the fitting is on the bulb below, but just to clarify this a BC/B22d?



Still not sure if I should be using 40 or 60 watt bulbs either, i put 40s in the living room and bedrooms and 60s in the bathrooms and kitchen.

 
Deb Rebel
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Harry Wolf wrote:

Thank you for taking the time to enlighten me. 🙏🏻

Anyone know who is the best brand for 40, 60 watt incandescent light bulbs? Bell? crompton?

I'm pretty sure what the fitting is on the bulb below, but just to clarify this a BC/B22d?



Still not sure if I should be using 40 or 60 watt bulbs either, i put 40s in the living room and bedrooms and 60s in the bathrooms and kitchen.



That is a b22 bayonet....

I have only bought a few incandescent lightbulbs in the past ten years for appliances (fridge and oven bulbs). I have no idea. Never heard of those two manufacturers.

Most standard light fixtures are meant to take no more than a 60 watt bulb. Some wall sconces, bathroom lights and lamps are only rated for 40 watt.
 
Harry Wolf
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Deb Rebel wrote:

That is a b22 bayonet....

I have only bought a few incandescent lightbulbs in the past ten years for appliances (fridge and oven bulbs). I have no idea. Never heard of those two manufacturers.

Most standard light fixtures are meant to take no more than a 60 watt bulb. Some wall sconces, bathroom lights and lamps are only rated for 40 watt.


Thank you for your help, I shall research the brands available to me in the uk, and determine which is the best out of the few available, I will check the bathroom are ok for 60w, thank you for the help once again.
 
Deb Rebel
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Further related note. I have SADD so went to 6500k CFL's and am starting to replace with LED (not 'corn bulb' ) lighting to reduce energy use. I do have issues with staying up far too late so purchased a pair of orange tinted 'blue blocker' glasses and am wearing them now two hours before my desired bedtime to see if they will help me 'go to bed'. This is only my second night and I need to do a minimum of two weeks to see if it will help shift me back to a little more normal sleep pattern. Yes I go out and get natural sun every day as well. I will keep you posted on the grand experiment. At least the pair I picked do wrap around rather completely to minimize leakage and also keep my eyes in a moister microclime (with our low average humidity and the fact that I did have Lasik 17 years ago, they need that for comfort). We shall see.
 
David Spohn
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Certainly a fascinating discussion. My sense of it is that while the technology has been around for quite a while, LEDs for use as lighting are still, relatively speaking, in their infancy.

Troy Rhodes wrote:They could even make leds that emit a color spectrum that is very similar to incandescent lighting.  As soon as the marketing people hear about this, you'll see led products come out with a much warmer color spectrum.


I think that's already well underway. Yuji is one company that makes a CRI 98 LED bulb. They show a chart on their site comparing its spectrum to daylight. It's interesting that they make the bulb not so much for health reasons but rather for better rendition of colours in store displays and so on.

http://www.yujiintl.com/high-cri-led-lighting

It should also be noted that when we talk about the daylight spectrum, that generally means high noon on clear day (near the equator I presume, perhaps at a certain altitude?). Sunlight changes over the course of the day, so I'm sure there's debate to be had over what colour temperatures are ideal for night time use. How about artificial lighting that mimicks the cycles of sunlight? Yep, someone is working on that too:

http://gizmodo.com/these-bulbs-mimic-the-sun-all-day-to-help-you-sleep-bet-1711988347
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Haven't read the whole thing but I appreciate your doing the math, Paul.

Free sources of incadescent bulbs--yard sales, freecycle, next-door.com, etc.  People buy or are given (by subsidized whatevers, nonprofits) the new CFL's and give away their incadescents rather than throwing them away.  (Again, the problem is the solution, eh?)

Maybe cities that remove the street lights and replace them too--I don't know.  They must do something with them, maybe some city workers will have the sense to let you take them.  Then you would have a great whole-house heater, I guess.  Far too bright for most practical uses, but hey, why throw it out. 

I like that the LED uses quantum mechanics to produce light, or so my engineer housemate has said.  I would like to see simpler solutions though.  It sounds like DC is better for these cases--maybe a good match for many producing their own electricity.

It still seems like the most eco-effective lightbulb is still the clothesline.

 
Steve Sherman
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Just saw this thread when Paul sent it out with his daily email...

I'd have to disagree on some of the arguments for incandescents since I think you are not taking into account some of the intertwining factors involved.

Incandescent bulbs are quite sensitive to the voltage they run on. Many "long life" bulbs are no more than a 130v bulb sold to run at 120v, hence the "longer life". That's fine, however you also need to take into account what else changes as you vary the voltage. Lower voltages will produce warmer light; your 6500K bulb is not producing that color mix light when you run it at a lower voltage. Also, efficiency in terms of how many lumens you get per watt goes down with the voltage.

In general, there is a design trade off between these factors. A bulb will produce a certain temp/color light (6500K etc), at a certain electrical efficiency, for a certain length of time at some voltage. Want longer life, run a bub at lower than its design voltage it will last longer. Won't produce as much light nor will the light be at the stated color (degK), but it will last longer. Want higher color temps, run it at higher voltage, won't last as long (maybe not very long at all), but the temp will be higher.

To a tiny degree, halogen and other incandescent bulbs have some additional leeway in this, but not that much. CFLs and LEDs (they both use the same general mechanism to make light) are somewhat free from these trade offs, but of course have others.

So, when you say that there are long life incandescents and 6500K ones, this is true, but typically they are not in the same bulb. To get long life from an incandescent you need a heavy filament which lowers its light producing efficiency and color spectrum temps.

When all is said and done, LEDs are far more efficient in terms of energy use than incandescents. I have not seen the figures for what their embedded energy costs are so can't comment on what the total picture looks like, but if you are trying to cut your electrical usage LEDs will make a diff. How much depends on how many lights you run, and to some extent where you are getting your power from (grid or your own system). Still your electric usage will be lower.

Does that mean that you should run right out and buy replacement LEDs, not necessarily. I'd agree that turning off your dryer (gas or electric) is probably a far greater energy savings. As would insulating your hot water heater and turning it off at night or putting it on a timer. As well as the whole litany of energy conservation changes that you can find. You can probably find bigger energy dragons to slay in your home, but that doesn't mean that you should ignore your lighting energy footprint.



 
Laura Snow
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What I do like about LED's is how they will run anywhere, using portable, rechargeable batteries, without needing to be attached to an outlet. They are convenient, and efficient.
One of the drawbacks I see is that when you decide to change the batteries, on a cheap LED flashlight for example, sometimes they work afterwards, and sometimes they don't.  Having to reassemble the flashlight to change a battery is a disadvantage.  On other types of LED fixtures, where you only access the battery compartment, changing the batteries isn't a problem.

 
Roberto pokachinni
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I have taken a lot longer than normal to delve into one of Paul's key points.   This may be because he is so adamant about it (which I find slightly off putting as a trait in people, including myself), but it may be that I don't have total control over my lighting at the moment as I share accommodations and the house came with various light bulbs already.

That all said, I am hoping to build off grid, and as such will be in energy conserving mode and trying to make the best decisions when purchasing products for my build and future life.

As such, I think that it is likely that when I do build that there will be a variety of different lighting options depending on the particular needs, and possibly having a separate wiring system of DC power for certain outlets and products.

Despite the fact that many people turn on an obnoxiously bright light to go to the bathroom at night, I seem to do just fine with a very dim soft blue LED night light, which I find calming and it does not jar me unnecessarily awake.  I do not need additional heating for this quick purpose, and this light could be motion activated so that it comes on only when I need it.  I was thinking a much brighter version should be utilized in the root celler, where additional heat is not wanted at all. 

LED's seem to be the way to go when dealing with low power situations, such as most small scale off grid systems.  I'm not sure which system I will be building yet, or how much power I will be generating, but if there is enough power to use incandescent bulbs, then I would do so for certain situations, like reading lights or desk lamps for projects, but these might also be powered by DC rather than AC for efficiency. 

Although there are CFL's in this house, I have no love or justification for there use.  I have very little faith in their marketing, and haven't for a long time, and have zero intention of utilizing them in the future by personal choice. 

I really like beeswax candles.  I do not have bees at this time, but will likely have them in the future.  I used to make beeswax candles and loved the process.  The light of candles is very warm and wonderful for many tasks, and gives off a fantastic scent as well as being a direct connection to fire one of our primary elemental forces.  While there is a fire hazard connected to candle use, there is also 100000 year history with predominantly safe household fire usage; it's mostly a matter of education.  With proper containment, candles are even safer than on a regular candle stick.  I'm not saying that they are fool proof, but that they should be considered as part of conscious lighting options.  Fools will be fools.  There is no substitute for candle light at a dinner party, or for romance, besides perhaps an open fire place.  While they do take away slightly from air quality by their exhaust, and i have little intention of solely utilizing them, I see no reason that they should not be considered as part of a holistic household.  I find it somewhat odd that most authorities place candles on the list for emergency lighting sources, but fail to consider that if people are unfamiliar with their use, then they become extremely dangerous due to careless or uneducated users.

Hallways and stairways can be done with LED christmas strings on motion sensors.  How much light do you need to walk down a hallway or climb stairs?  So long as the light is where you need it- like near the floor or the stairs possibly protected by cool pieces of driftwood.

I like the idea of under cupboard/cabinet led spot lighting.  This is very efficient, and not the best place for incandescent lights.  LED wins there for sure.

What I'm getting at, is that it is not really cut and dry as to what i am going to choose and I'm certainly not going to choose all incandescent or all LEDs, and the getting heat off the bulb aspect... I find it somewhat a non point, and not really in the discussion that is raging or not in my mind.  Incandescent lights may give off heat, sure; no questioning that, and that heat may be a very efficient form of heat... ok; I buy that too, but the amount of heat that a light bulb gives off is not really significant to my needs, particularly if I am in charge of heating and insulating my home.

I'm grateful for all the information that I gained from Paul's mega post that started this thread, and I hope to make the best choices as the time comes to make my purchases. 

I guess the only thing that I think should be clear in my mind is that this is my own design and home, and I will try to make those choices that best reflect my permacultural ethics as well as my needs on the spot.  Thanks Paul, for giving me more reasons to consider incandescent bulbs, and for being your passionate self or I might not have paid attention enough to read this massive amount of information and watch the above videos on a work night.  



      


  
 
Deb Rebel
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As I said elsewhere, I watched CFL technology come onto the market and around 2003-2004 it got cheap enough I replaced the incandescents in my house with CFL. Some had a flicker problem yes, I have not seen that in the past five or so years. Some also made without mercury, I purchase the Hg-free ones to be less of an environmental hazard. I also have issues with SADD and in the late 80's had to put a 4 bulb fluorescent fixture on the wall just above my kitchen table and spend two hours a day staring into it (a book or newspaper on the table to read worked), and replace the bulbs after a month burn (the lumens drop off. I would give the bulbs to friends to use, and occasionally they bought me a few new ones to pay me back). I went to 6500k daylight white CFL and that has seemed to keep the SADD in line.

LED has come a long way and is approaching affordability mainstream between output and format. I have been experimenting with spot/task and night lighting (enough to get around and go to the bathroom) and now going into strip (buy strip from manufacturer) and doing my own device manufacture and installation.

I feel that the LED is the way of the future for the efficiency of output for amount of energy used. If you are on solar cells, definitely this is a way to get light affordably (affordable in this case is how much energy can your panel or battery backup provide you-how much is being used per lumen?)

I too love Edison bulbs for their look, and candles. However to deal with my SADD, I need the brighter lights. Something that returns 95% of the energy put into it as heat when I don't want heat, and 5% as light, isn't my choice. In this I do disagree with Paul. LED which uses 10% to maybe 20% of the energy that the incandescent uses to return the same amount of light, is more what I need. Also learning just like 'heat the person not the room' and 'light the task not the room' allows one to do more with less. If I was trying to run off a 750 watt solar panel and battery; I'd rather run LED's as they will take less energy. Nokero's (solar charged light) work good as a replacement for lanterns but last only so long (both in duration of how long they put out useable light levels, and how many cycles they will work) and in some developing countries save families fortunes over buying kerosene.

No easy solution but I do disagree with Paul. LED's over Fluorescent over Incandescent. If I want backup or ambiance, a solar rechargeable, a lamp oil burning lantern (I have four antiques that still work fine), candles. At least we can agree to disagree.
 
Len Ovens
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Some quick thoughts:
LED need to be broken down into at least two groups:
   -  Those designed for use in AC sockets
      * These are just bad, I have a bunch...
      * they do not last long, the more expensive they are, the less time they seem to last
      * They die by various means power supply or individual elements going
      * unless you get dim-able lamps they flicker
      * they don't even claim to last very long, 2.5 years or so on average (24/7)
      * I find such short lives intolerable, having used LEDs for years, some of them lasting over 25years (24/7)
      * I find the comments on light colour funny    historically, blue was a hard colour to get LEDs in because it was hard to make them with the tolerances being smaller. It is easy to make red LED lamps even bright ones (I remember making flash lights with my son using the super bright red LEDs and moaning about how blue LEDs were so dim. LED lamps are already made with multiple elements and so could be a very even spectrum of light if the manufacture chose to do so.
      * Retrofit.. These lamps are all retrofits. They are put in a system that is not made for them... even the newer LED only fixtures are running lamps far below the supply voltage.  The power supplies are limited in size and shape and therefore full of compromises. A single well designed power supply for the whole house could be better.

   - LEDs designed for 12-16 v applications (car/truck/bus turn signals)
      I can't say much about these. They do seem to last forever though. They are harsh. They are meant for a single job, not to please.

General comments on LEDs. I think the colour spectrum could be just about anything wanted. It is not hard to make LEDs with various colours and combine them. As all LED bulbs have more than one element, LEDs could have a wider spectrum of light... I don't think the cost would be much more, if any. (higher design costs maybe)
I think that LEDs used in low voltage applications, where the user is generating their own power, make a lot of sense. However, I also think that offgrid lighting and power are still in the dark ages in so many ways that I could say anything and be right... and wrong at the same time

grid power on the other hand is one big loss. Do not think by saving a few watts one will make a difference to our overall power use from dams or coal plants. Such a large percentage of the power produced gets used just getting the power to user in the first place that all of the savings are 10% or less of what one might think. The good you do saving watts at home is depriving a greedy company of profit. If you have natural gas, there is something you can stop paying right now.... really you don't need it. (the more I study natural gas the more I wonder why anyone uses it aside from hype)

In the end, I think that LEDs are not the question, nor are CFLs or light bulbs. The real question is when we are going to stop allowing others to tell us how we should do things... oh and how much we should pay for it. Really lights should be low use items for finding ones way to the outhouse in the dark. Spending most of ones day outside, designing workspaces to use outside light, following the seasons, not the clock... this is what makes sense. Where I think LEDs make the most sense is safety. I think the technology is available now for lowlevel LED lighting to be always on with a battery that about lasted forever. I think perhaps it is time at least for those off grid, to think in more than one system for different uses. Electric is easy to use for everything, but maybe not wise.

OK, next question... what of the LED array in front of you as you read this? (I am assuming very few people still use a CRT monitor) With the amount of time people spend in front of their computer, does it matter what colour the LED lamp is?
 
Matthew Lewis
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I think LED's are great but "it depends" on the application.

In our case we live in a tiny house on a trailer and all of our lighting is DC LED's. Being direct current a lot of the issues Paul brought up don't exist.

With DC LED's there is no need for a driver (so less materials) because the currents doesn't need to be converted from AC to DC before running through the LED. For this same reason there is no flicker to our LED's and they are even more efficient because there is no heat loss to from the AC>C conversion.

We heat with wood and propane. Incandescents would drain our batteries at least 10x faster and only add a bit of heat.
 
Deb Rebel
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@ Len Ovens....

I am working on an off grid move here. So reducing my power use within my dwelling unit then moving to (building a wind turbine and putting some solar panels up) it makes sense. Step by step retro of what I use and how I use it (more task lighting than before for example).

We are at the end of the world literally. We are the true end of a feed off the power grid. When we get bad weather, a tornado taking out poles, etc, we can be off here for days. So we are already used to thinking of making it without. I am continuing a move to if the power goes off I want heat and light and my tech toys. With my heating is the ability to cook. To still have water, to still be able to eat. It's nothing one can do overnight. So, when moving off the grid the DC current is easier to deal with as you have short transmission distances and a 'personal' amount. In that case the LED's are indeed far superior. I actually have a slightly used LED light section off a wrecked vehicle (a neighbor is the wrecker) that I want to play with in my grand experiments on providing myself light with electricity. AC was better for long distance transmission, DC is better in short distance.

Back to it, since AC won the electricity wars in the late 1800's, most of the US and other parts of the world use AC. A lot of our tech is run DC (hence off batteries, etc). LED needs a transformer, and if you take apart a 'corn' bulb you will find the electronics to make it happen, it has to be a part of each bulb.

Incandescent may be cheaper to make (I have no idea what tungsten runs these days though) and it has over a century of use so it is pervasive throughout and whatever is at the top, ubiquitous, will be cheapest. CFL is a step in the right direction. LED is what CFL was 15 or so years ago. It should get there.

I feel too, if I were to move into something like the ant village I would show with solar panel(s) as needed and LED light sources. That way I could have 'electric lights' and be able to actually live off a 750 watt panel. I wouldn't even think of incandescent as I could get a lot more lumens for the electricity used.
 
Ionel Catanescu
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I'll add my 2c here.

Apologies if this has been said before and i did not see it.

I'll put my electronics manufacturing/ assembly hat on for a bit.

A major point is that LED LAMPS and LED BULBS are NOT the same thing.
The only differentiator between them is the SHAPE and SIZE.
These might seem irrelevant to an untrained eye but they make ALL the difference.
Shape and size dictate how HEAT is evacuated.
If HEAT is properly evacuated, temperatures are lower, if not, they are higher.
And this is THE KEY.
Semiconductors and LED's especially, don't like high temperatures.
It reduces efficiency and lifespan.

Now, if you have a lamp built for this purpose, it's excellent but very pricey and is a standalone device meaning you can't plug it in whatever you had before.
It is a complete LAMP.
But if you have a light bulb, the same electronics + LED's must be crammed in a smaller space -> a lot higher temperatures.
To put fuel on the fire, the actual LED's used in LAMPS tend to be of the more expensive and more efficient types.
Advantage is you can just put these in as drop-in replacements for whatever lamp you have around.

As an example, a CREE XML-T6 LED was for long the most efficient cool white led, much more so if ran at lower currents.
You can run twice more efficient by just using this led in a lamp vs bulb design and 30% more efficient on top of that if you put two such leds driven by half the current.

THIS REALLY MATTERS FOR EFFICIENCY.
In this setup you can get a 100W incadescen't output for 5-10W (maybe even less, depending on electronics).
Just for info, a single XML-t6 led is about $8 retail, without any heatsink and electronics.

Now, regarding electronics and AC/DC.
Converting AC to DC is not a big problem these days but few companies are doing it right.
Conversion efficiency can be very high (99%) but it does have a cost.
Most LED bulbs don't have such fancy electronics inside meaning they will run less efficient from the mains and create a lot more radio interference / polution.
Regarding DC, most people don't understand that LEDS are current driven devices.
In our modern day and age, a current source is most of the times electronic in nature.

A battery on the other hand is a VOLTAGE source.
To make it a CURRENT source appropriate for LEDS, you need a device called a DRIVER.
This can be from a simple resistor upto a special integrated circuit.
Of course, the simpler resistor will have high losses but dirt cheap while at the other end we get high efficiency but higher costs.

For those that just plug the leds into the DC source, please bare in mind that most of the times this setup is at least 30% below max. efficiency but inexpensive.

So, besides all the manufacturing toxicity and light quality (which can be easily addressed), REAL LED EFFICIENCY is probably attained for just a tiny fraction of products on the market.
The real world efficiency for most led products is about 50% or less than max. efficiency.
Efficiency / price go up on a pretty steep curve.
 
Troy Rhodes
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Here follows a lovely 8 minute video from a guy named Matthias Wandel.  He runs a terrific youtube channel as well, for those handy folk who want to build tools like band saws.

He used a diffraction grating (a CD) to actually show you the different light spectrum produced by CFL vs LED.

The LED's are dramatically superior.  Somebody should do one with all 3 technologies.




This gives you first hand experiential knowledge about the spectrum produced.

A verbal description of what x, y or z light produces tells us...something.

A chart showing the type and amount of wavelengths tells us a little more.


Visually seeing the spectrum spread out by a diffraction grating is better yet.

 
Thor Johnson
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Since I live down in the south (Georgia), I love LED's and CFLs -- the last thing I need is heat (the reason all the supermarkets have put LEDs in their freezers and fridges - CFLs can't handle damp so they couldn't change from incandescent before).  That being said there is one number that almost nobody in the consumer world looks at that makes *all the difference*:
  CRI - Color Rendering Index

High-CRI bulbs put out a much better spectrum than others and are prized in Photography, Supermarkets, and Jewelry stores (who were really quite stuck on Halogens for the longest time)  because the colors will look so much better.  Anything below 80 gives you that early-fluorescent tinge (or worse).  If you get 95 CRI CFLs, you'll find it amazing light, and your models' makeup will have much less tendency to melt on you.  I haven't seen too many high-CRI LED's (most consumer brands don't even put the figure on the box, instead saying 4500k or other bunk).  If you suffer from SAD, you will feel so much better with high CRI bulbs (otherwise "daylight" isn't so "daylight").  High-CRI bulbs are 10-20x more expensive than no-CRI bulbs (last time I bought 4 CFLs for $50).

And for reliability, I'd go with American brands (or at least brands that have an American presence), as they're much less likely to cut corners than overseas people are.  About 80% (iirc) of CFL and LEDs fail in the driver section because the don't deal with inrush current correctly (if you find ratings of "high PFC", you won't have this problem).  The other killer of LED's (not CFLs) is heat.  If LEDs get hot, they did faster.

For those having trouble sleeping after staying on their computer in the evening, I'd recommend the free program f.lux https://justgetflux.com/ -- it gradually turns down the blues on your screen in the evening.
 
C Jones
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Tons of good discussion on here.  Thought I would throw in a couple, maybe have already been covered but I can't read the whole thing right now:

Longevity of incandescents - I see someone did already mention the bulb's voltage rating esp. with regards to long-life bulbs.  IIRC they mostly just make the wire filament thicker, which makes it less efficient in lumens / watt, but does make it last longer.  It's all tied up with Ohm's law, voltage applied stays the same but play with the resistance to change current.

That brings me to the centennial bulb Paul mentioned - IIRC, that's the same thing - it runs forever because it's running at very low current.  Plus never gets turned off and on, and have you ever noticed how it's often when you turn it on that it blows?

Which brings me to inrush current limiters to increase longevity.......I haven't personally tried this yet (never took the time).  But - a simple part added inline with your light fixture will supposedly make your incandescents last a LOT longer.

http://www.edn.com/electronics-blogs/analog-ic-startup/4395153/Saving---around-the-house---Part-I
I thought I had read a more detailed tech discussion of this, but there's enough there to get you started.
And the part in question - http://www.digikey.com/products/en?keywords=KC013L-ND
 
C Jones
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And that makes me think of a product idea, someone could make simple screw-in adapters that add the inrush limiting protection.  With a good design and good marketing, you could help a lot of people who stick with incandescents!
 
duane hennon
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the solution may be on its way

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/03/12/return-of-incandescent-light-bulbs-as-mit-makes-them-more-effici/

Return of incandescent light bulbs as MIT makes them more efficient than LEDs

Ever since the EU restricted sales of traditional incandescent light bulbs, homeowners have complained about the shortcomings of their energy-efficient replacements.

The clinical white beam of LEDs and frustrating time-delay of ‘green’ lighting has left many hankering after the instant, bright warm glow of traditional filament bulbs.

But now scientists in the US believe they have come up with a solution which could see a reprieve for incandescent bulbs.
"The lighting potential of this technology is exciting."
Prof Gang Chen, MIT
Researchers at MIT have shown that by surrounding the filament with a special crystal structure in the glass they can bounce back the energy which is usually lost in heat, while still allowing the light through.

They refer to the technique as ‘recycling light’ because the energy which would usually escape into the air is redirected back to the filament where it can create new light.

"It recycles the energy that would otherwise be wasted," said Professor Marin Soljacic.


Usually traditional light bulbs are only about five per cent efficient, with 95 per cent of the energy being lost to the atmosphere. In comparison LED or florescent bulbs manage around 14 per cent efficiency. But the scientists believe that the new bulb could reach efficiency levels of 40 per cent.

And it shows colours far more naturally than modern energy-efficient bulbs. Traditional incandescent bulbs have a ‘colour rendering index’ rating of 100, because they match the hue of objects seen in natural daylight. However even ‘warm’ finish LED or florescent bulbs can only manage an index rating of 80 and most are far less.

"This experimental device is a proof-of-concept, at the low end of performance that could be ultimately achieved by this approach," said principal research scientist Ivan Celanovic.

"An important feature is that our demonstrated device achieves near-ideal rendering of colours.
 
Richard Grevers
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There is a fourth player not considered here: Halogen, the more efficient version of incandescent. Domestic applications date to the 1980s, based on 1960s industrial/theatrical uses. Advantages over traditional incandescent:
- greater energy efficiency (more lumens per watt)
- light output deteriorates much less over lamp life, because the halogen cycle picks up tungsten atoms which have burned off the filament and redeposits them on the filament
- longer lamp life, for same reason as the previous point
- higher colour temperature ( typically 3900deg)
- less radiant heat in the light beam, since 75% of heat passes through the dichroic reflector and is convected away. (Disadvantage for Paul, but definite advantage standing on a stage bathed in 30kW of light)
Disadvantagess:
- only available as directional sources (spotlights), although you can get 60deg beam widths)
-low quality ones have uneven light distribution (filament images).
- requires a transformer for mains use ( but being 12V is a big advantage off grid).

However, when we moved into our off grid house, in winter with the solar installation having been destroyed by a storm, and only microhydro power, we could only run one light at a time, as they drew 4.8 amps each. We replaced with LED and could run 4 at once, though individual lights are less bright. The difference in the thickness of copper wiring required for LED vs incandescent/halogen would be a significant factor in lifetime energy/resource consumption.
As i age, I find 2700deg light increasingly inadequate to read or work by. Most of our LEDs are warm white, but we have one cool one in the kitchen, which feels brighter but less homely (our psychological conditioning to find firelight comforting).
Aside: when we lived in town and had CFLs, I observed that the type of fitting had a major effect on lamp life. If the lamp base had inadequate ventilation, the electronics simply cooked and gave up.
 
Robert Woden
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Hi, I'd just like to express a small opinion here on how the efficiency of LEDs have made lighting available to me and perhaps many others when less efficient incandescents have not really been an option for "micro off-grid" lifestyle.

I've lived for 3 years now without electricity, reading at night with cheap solar charged leds (similar to those people light their outdoor paths with) and candlelight. It's been pretty challenging, but the led technology made it possible to have little easy light at night. I think there's a lot of people in this situation, maybe not in our country.

I now have a small 750w solar system. I live in southeast Ohio, and in the heavy overcast days of winter (which can last weeks) it is not uncommon to trickle in around 15 watts throughout the 6 hour solar window, that's with 3 250w panels. Sometimes there's not even enough light to trigger the charge controller out of its "resting" phase on really bad days.

Point being here is that incandescent lighting, while arguably "better" (based on all this really great evidence and dissection of components) is really only an option for people grid-tied, or with a substantial off-grid system, or perhaps just a more reliably sunny climate.

For some of us, the wattage efficiency of LEDs doesn't have have anything to do with what seems to some as a silly margin of a few dimes on the power bill. The revolution in the difference of watts from 60w to 4w means whether or not I can have lighting without worrying about substantial discharge of my tiny battery bank.

I've also known folks to conveniently power LEDs from car batteries, then start their car the next day on the same charge. Point is that this technology has made lighting available for folks that would otherwise be without.



 
C Jones
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Robert, there is a newish lighting product out you might be interested in:  GravityLight.  Basically you put some rocks or sand or whatever in a bag, raise the bag up with the cord built in to the light, and as the bag falls over time it provides energy for the light.  I've followed them for a few years and they really seem to have it together.  Originally developed for undeveloped countries, to replace kerosene lights, field trials over multiple generations of product, trying to change the world and improve people's lives vs. just make another "cool" product and some money, building them local to one of the places they're trying to help, etc. etc.

Not real cheap at $80 but I think some of that goes to providing lights for their real market (changing the world etc).  Can get them through Amazon.  If you or anyone else tries it....let us know what you think!
GravityLight / Deciwatt



(Sorry about the threadjacking..... oh and back to the original topic, yes, they are LEDs....maybe still better than the alternatives in many cases though)
 
Tam Deal
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On the subsidies, I am skeptical they are all that deep.  You can buy any number of LEDs off EBAY that come from China for pennies and are not taxed etc...  Everything that comes from China is subsidized, but not to profit US makers, or to the extent suggested.

If there are subsidies, load me up.  I will vote against them but if they exist I am available.

LEDs would be a lot more efficient if we had 12V in the walls, Increasingly every dang thing I buy needs some form of adapter to run off 110.
 
Charles Dean
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I want to revisit this topic with some updated facts. After some research I think that Paul's analysis is fundamentally incorrect.

I apologise in advance for the length of this post but I wanted to give Paul the respect his analysis deserves and to "show my working" so it can be discussed.

In terms of Paul's original argument my points of disagreement are:
1) The colour spectrum of a LED is fine, even better than an incandescent for working.
2) The life of LED globes is far greater than assumed and more importantly some of Paul's argument relies on life span possibilities that incandescent globes might be able to supply but don't
3) The efficiency of the LED is understated by 50%.
4) The benefits of heating using an incandescent is completely overstated
5) The cost manufacturing life-cycle is overstated.
6) The analysis provided only works for a particular geographical zone.

1) Light Spectrum or Colour Balance. Firstly this is a completely subjective judgement. I personally prefer the light of an LED as is is much more balanced than an incandescent which is overly yellow and makes it nearly impossible to judge the daylight colour of anything. My rating incandescent a yellow 8.5, LED a balanced 9. But as said this is a subjective argument, Paul's judgement is completely correct for his taste and wrong for mine. Basically as long as the colour spectrum is good for you, this is a non argument. There is also no difference between the colour spectrum of DC and AC LEDs they use exactly the same light generation components. The difference is that the AC LED globes also have an internal powers supply. I would also point out that there is an increasing range of colour temperatures available. Yesterday I looked and there were four in my local supermarket I expect many more online or at a speciality store.

2) Life of a LED globe: Paul bases his argument on a LED lifespan of 10,000 hours. He also stated that an incandescent can, not does, but can get better hours. The actual LED is is rated for at least 50,000 hours. Excessive heat can also shorten the life span and packing the components into a standard globe volume is not ideal for heat management. A typical supermarket LED globe is therefore down rated to 25,000 to 30,000 hours, most new models on my shelf were 30,000 hours+ In reality, those claims are really arbitrary—no one really knows how to define the lifespan of an LED quite yet. That's because LEDs do not burn out like an incandescent bulb, rather, their brightness slowly fades. So, if the lifespan of your LED is listed at 30,000 hours, that is the point when your bulb will most likely be shining at around 70% capacity (the industry assumes people notice a decrease in brightness at that point). So if you don't mind a drop in the light output you may get another few thousand hours before you need to replace the globe. Note that the rating is a guarantee and therefore is probably a significant understatement.

3) The efficiency of the LED is understated. In the article Paul states that LED's get 4 times as much light per watt. My direct experience is that with warm white is is 6 times and higher for the cool white or daylight colour temps. This value is backed up by many independent research articles.

4) Heating using an incandescent... Really? This is a benefit? Most of the world doesn't live in Montana and even in Montana, there is summer or so I'm told. I live in Australia in a warming world and the last thing I want is to pay for large amounts of waste heat when I want light. At a summer temperature of 107F I need cooling not by-product heat. I can get efficient heating and cooling at 7 watts of heat per watt of electricity unlike the one for one of the incandescent. If I want I can also get efficient spot infra-red radiant heaters. The incandescent doesn't produce efficient heat or light. Oh and also I like radiant warming on my face and upper body, when sitting at a desk. To use an incandescent I would need a spotlight in the face to accompany the heat, no thanks.

The argument about heat production as a benefit of filament globes only applies in cold climates, and then only in the cold seasons, and then only if you don't mind lights shining on you, and then only if it is dark when you want the heat (bit silly in the daytime). Basically obtaining heat from an incandescent is inefficient and often inappropriate. It is never free! Another way to think about this heat is that on average for every watt of "free" heating in winter you have a watt of cooling to manage in the summer. Obviously this varies with your location but globally it by definition will balance out. No free lunch here.

5) Manufacturing cost. Paul suggests there is $10 of energy costs in manufacturing an LED. Currently I can buy the equivalent of a 60W globe for $4.95 US (unsubsidised!). This amount includes manufacturing, two layers of profit (manufacturer and retailer), international transport and distribution. The energy manufacturing costs are more like $1 to $2.  Note that the US has the worlds cheapest grid electricity costs at around 10c/KWh. Australia for example pays nearly three times as much. My costs are $AUD0.34 per KWh roughly $0.26 KWh.  Even in the US my research says that power costs range from 9c a KWh to 28c a KWh.

Energy savings now look completely different $2 (taking the higher amount) and realistic bulb life spans. Using 30,000 hours for a LED, 1000 hours for a standard incandescent, 5000 hours for a high quality one.
Using Paul's "Energy costs"
Incandescent 100W: 100W for 30,000 hours = $300 + (6 globes at 0.10) = $300.60
LED 14W = 42+ (1 globe at $2) = $42.60. A killing for the LED.

Also missing from Paul's analysis is that the incandescent needs 30 lots of transport and 30 lots of packaging compared to one for the LED

But I think that this is not a correct costing. The retail price reflects much more of the whole life-cycle costs as it includes distribution costs and you can say that the profit margin (much higher for the LED) reflects the disposal costs. Equally the environmental cost of generating the electricity over 30000 hours of use dwarfs the increased environmental cost of a LED globe.

This costing is based on actual prices paid last week for globes and average electricity costs of $0.20 per KWh
One Philips Light Globe 13w 1430 lumens Warm Bc @ $15.00 30,000+ hour life
One GE incandescent 100W @ $2.00 1000 hr life

For 30,000 hours use
LED
1 Globe @ $15
14W*30000 Hours =  420 KWh = $84

Incandescent
30 globes @ $2 = $60
100W*30000 Hours = 3000KWh = $600

Conclusion
Environmental cost
$99 Vs $660
Power Consumption
420KWh of consumed power Vs 3000KWh
Units consumed (Manufucturing, transport, packaging)
1 Globe Vs 30 Globes


I'll take the LED right now and by the look of the new ones coming down the pipeline the analysis is only going to get better for the LED.  The day of the incandescent is over.




 
Marc Troyka
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As far as color quality goes, there is an actual system for describing it for non-incandescent light bulbs. It's called "Color Rendering Index" or CRI. Incandescents by default have a CRI of 100. For comparison the highest CRI from an 'ultra white wide spectrum' CFL is around 82 when it's fully warmed up. A good quality LED light bulb now has 80-85 CRI on average, and there are color corrected LED bulbs with 95 CRI, although they tend to be more expensive. In a few years I expect the price for such high-CRI bulbs will likely drop significantly. I've had some of the high-white CFLs before and they really don't look bad, so I'm expecting these new LEDs to be pretty outstanding.

In terms of energy-to-luminance efficiency LEDs are now around twice as efficient as CFLs. A 14W CFL might produce 800-850 lumens while a 15W LED produces 1600-1700 lumens. The progress in this area in just the last few years has been astounding. Most of the LED bulbs I saw were also dimmable, which previously was not the case and a limitation they previously shared with most CFLs.

In terms of lifespan I can't really say much since I have yet to try out LED bulbs, although I've ordered some so I'll get to try a set soon enough. I have used CFLs for years though and in general I can say that they last quite a long time, anywhere from 6 months to 2 years under pretty brutal frequent on-off usage. Incandescents tend to burn out pretty quickly and seem to do very badly in high-humidity environments like a bathroom. Good quality LEDs are rated at around 25000 hours now though, which is 2.5 times what CFLs are rated for, and I've also seen LEDs rated for 35000 hours although they're ridiculously expensive.

In terms of cost LEDs are definitely on the expensive side. The cheapest decent bulbs I found were around $5 each, and the most expensive ones are $20. Given that CFLs are only like $1.50 each that's pretty freaking steep, but given that LEDs have none of the disadvantages of CFLs in terms of in-use toxicity and warmup times and all of that nonsense I guess it might be worth it. All I really care about is the lifetime, brightness and color quality anyway, and if the LEDs can live up to those promises I'd consider it money well spent.

I'm not really sure if the energy to produce LEDs is really that much higher than for incandescents. Keep in mind that incandescents use tungsten filaments, and tungsten has a ridiculously high melting point which makes working with it an energy-intensive process. Also given the respective lifespans of LEDs vs incandescents it takes many incandescent bulbs to equal the same life span of a single LED bulb. A preliminary study that tried to estimate the lifetime energy cost of different types of bulbs, using a very conservative 50% discard rate for the LED emitters suggests that LEDs may be highly favorable compared to both CFLs and incandescents. https://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/13/do-energy-saving-led-lamps-save-energy/

I also ran across some work in the direction of improving the energy efficiency of incandescent bulbs by reflecting all of the heat they produce back at the filament. The energy-to-light conversion efficiencies they were claiming was off the scale, even beating the best LEDs into the dust, but then you would no longer be able to use the bulbs for heating your house and I suspect that the lifetime efficiency would not be that much better since higher temperatures would probably lead to shorter filament life spans. This is also the reason why the "centennial bulb" is a rather bad comparison: yes those bulbs last a long time but this comes at the expense of low energy-to-light efficiency and generally low brightness.

Edison bulbs certainly are pretty though!:

 
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