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No need for resistance against LED lighting

Since September 2011, manufacturers have not been allowed to sell incandescent light bulbs
that have a frosted lens or are greater than 60W.

Toolstation is continually enhancing their range of electrical products including LED lights and fittings to meet growing demand

Instead, there are three kinds of energy saving bulbs now available; CFLs, halogens and LEDs. Of the three, LEDs have initially attracted the slowest uptake but it seems that all this is about to change.

Supply group Toolstation has greatly increased its range of LED lighting and related products and EP asked them why they have taken LED to heart.

They explained that energy saving lighting is here to stay; so it makes sense for electricians to grasp its advantages and see what new business and profit can be gained from the switch.

While CFLs and halogens have been taken up quickly both in the domestic and business sectors, the uptake of LEDs has been slower. However, LEDs are not only here to stay but in ten years’ time they will be the main source of lighting.

As LEDs were first developed nearly 40 years ago, it’s understandable that the initial excitement has waned. The earlier LEDs were based on a single solid light bulb that was only suitable for certain applications such as instrument panels and Christmas lights.

Progression in the development of LED lights is something that Toolstation follow keenly and recently things have been progressing vigorously. Today, incorporating cluster technology, diffuser lenses and other advances, LED lights are appropriate for all forms of lighting, from simple light bulbs and spot lights to office strip lights, outdoor and street lighting, public venues, illuminated signs and even displays. Fittings have also changed as now, LEDS are available with standard bases to fit normal domestic light fixtures for easy switch as well as fittings with dedicated LED lamps that are not replaceable because of the long life expectancy.

The cost of LEDs used to be a problem as they were considerably more expensive to buy than incandescent bulbs. This cost factor is reducing year on year which means the enormous benefits from LEDs can now be enjoyed be everyone.

First of course is the energy saving of operating LED lighting, resulting in real savings in fuel bills. The annual cost of burning filaments in traditional light bulbs is considerable too. The cost of the energy required to create the fast moving electrons that produce the light creating photons in an LED light is dramatically less. LEDs typically use less than 15-20% of the power needed by an incandescent bulb to produce the same level of light. In very general terms, an LED can produce the equivalent of 40 watts of incandescent light using less than 10 watts.

A good indicator of the benefits of LED is heat emission. While traditional lighting, halogen and other forms radiate a definite level of surrounding heat, LEDs create minimal radiated heat, ensuring all energy used is directed to its required purpose and that is lighting.

The saving in electricity bills translates back to the carbon footprint, which is increasingly important for commercial operations where green aspects have to be factored in to annual and other reports. Some reports suggest that carbon footprints related to lighting in a building is reduced by nearly 70% after a switch from incandescent to LED lighting.

In the public arena, there is still some doubt about the colour, speed and the prospect of dimming LED lighting and it is important that everyone realises how LEDs have changed in recent years. Modern LED lights come on rapidly without the long delay generally still experienced in many other forms of energy saving lighting. Furthermore, they can be easily dimmed, making them ideal for domestic situations.

LED lights also last longer than other types of bulbs. It is worth remembering that LED lights do not suddenly burn out; instead they dim over time before failing. It will be a long time before they fail, too. While incandescent light bulbs can last around 1000 to 2000 hours in a general situation, LED lights can last between 35,000 and 50,000 hours. Consider the acclaim that initially greeted the so-called long life of fluorescent tubes (around 10,000 to 24,000 hours) and the major advantages of LEDs become clear.

There are other additional benefits from LEDs. For example, there is an extended maintenance frequency which means that they are suitable for places with difficult access. In addition, there is also zero UV which means that fading on clothes, pictures and so forth is greatly reduced, making it ideal for display lighting in shops and museums.

Russell Brittain, Senior Electrical and Lighting Buyer at Toolstation says that it is difficult to keep abreast of the new developments in LED. “It is a very fast changing market and the latest developments are exciting. Round ceiling fittings for LEDs, LED floodlighting which offers great cost saving, and big developments on LED security lighting are all underway. We will soon be introducing new products in our extensive LED range to cover lamps and fittings and other areas. Architects are increasingly turning to LED in their specifications for new builds, and we can testify that at Toolstation, sales of our Sylvania and Philips brand LED products, together with all the associated fittings, is growing fast month on month. If anyone doubts the future of LED, they clearly haven’t seen the light!”

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