LED (light emitting diode) lights, till now mostly used only on baseball diamond scoreboards and your cellphone, are now being installed by forward thinking cities like Ann Arbor, MI, and electricity hogs like Buckingham Palace, according to an article in the New York Times today.
CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) will certainly be only a bridge technology as the cost of LEDs comes down. Some comparisons of LEDs vs CFLs:
- LEDs turn on quickly and are able to be dimmed
- LEDs don't require special disposal as CFLs do
- Their efficacy is about the same or slightly lower than CFLs
- LEDs last such a long time that disposal is less of an issue
The barrier to introduction has been cost, but that may reasonably be expected to come down in the coming years. And, considering that LEDs are semi-permanent "fit and forget" fixtures, they are becoming more rapidly introduced than had been predicted. President Obama's stimulus plan is providing incentives that will increase the pace.
A reader recently made a useful point (I am quoting from his comment) that the discussion about LEDS needs to focus on applications where they can make the most impact:
"So many people are focusing on the potential for using LEDs for general lighting applications when that's simply not where they excel - yet. Maybe someday, but they have proven themselves in a whole range of other applications such as indicators, exit signs, traffic signals, safety lighting (think movie theaters and airplanes), etc.I would like to see the discussion around LEDs focus on practical applications, real world performance, and data rather than the putrid regurgitation of 'LEDs are coming!' that really does nothing but distract us from a useful dialog."