Switching to LED lighting: the financial, environmental and health benefits
Posted by Jono Gilbert on 30 May 2018 at 9:30 am
Perhaps one of the most underrated aspects of a home or business is its lighting. But what most people consider to be an unremarkable facet of modernity can actually have extensive implications, not just on efficiency and the environment, but also on personal wellbeing.
Households and businesses of all shapes and sizes are fast realising the numerous benefits that switching to LED lights can bring. And there is mounting evidence to support all the hype.
What makes LEDs different?
LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are made from a semi-conductor material which emits light when a current passes through it. This differs from incandescent light bulbs that use a super heated filament to produce visible light. And it’s exactly this difference that gives LEDs the edge over traditional lighting.
LEDs are efficient, they slash energy bills, reduce CO2 emissions, have a prolonged working life, are brighter than conventional lights, and minimise maintenance costs.
LED efficiency is roughly 70% higher than traditional incandescent bulbs, helping reduce energy bills. And as 20% of the world’s electricity goes towards our lighting, their lower carbon footprint makes them an important factor in the fight against climate change.
In fact, draft regulations will see the banning of both fluorescent and halogen light sources in Europe by 2020, due to their inefficiency. The removal of compact fluorescent lamps is a particular milestone, as these lights were a symbol of eco-friendly lighting in the 1990s.
There are other more practical benefits of LEDs too, including their prolonged working life, which helps minimise the maintenance costs for your home or business. And contrary to the myths, LEDs can actually be brighter than conventional lights, and they reach full light intensity immediately, rather than taking time to ‘warm up’.
All of these financial and environmental benefits have been known since the conception of the LED itself. But what’s starting to come to the attention of scientists are the numerous health benefits also associated with LEDs, and the impact that these can have on personal wellbeing both at home and at work.
So how do LEDs impact health?
Many of the health benefits of some LEDs are linked to the fact that they emit light more akin to natural daylight compared to any other lighting type (e.g. fluorescent or incandescent). Several studies by LightingEurope on the use of LEDs in various environments have shown:
- Increased student or employee motivation and commitment
- Improved concentration and energy
- Increased productivity and learning
- “Mood support” in wellness areas
- Reduced therapy times in hospitals
- Decrease the occurrence of headaches
The intensity and colour of light also has an influence on personal wellbeing, with one study showing the colour of lighting provided by LEDs to have positive effects on a person’s mood too.
These institutes can now look beyond energy efficiency – and take a more holistic view – by considering the wellbeing of their staff and students in order to create a more productive working environment.
Is anyone actually using this to their advantage?
One school in Malmo, Sweden, has recently installed LEDs as part of a human-centric lighting approach. The results from changing lighting scenes have been noticeable, with the overall opinion among the pupils and staff being that the new light has helped improve concentration and reduce feelings of tiredness.
Have you had LED lighting installed in your home or workplace? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.
About the author:
Jono is writing for our blog from highly-recommended YouGen member SunGift Energy.
SunGift Energy is a dedicated renewable energy specialist with extensive experience installing EV charging points for homes and businesses.
They also specialise in solar PV for domestic and commercial properties. So if you want to explore your renewable energy options then contact them on: 01392 213912 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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