Dispelling the myths surround LED lighting technology

    By Reggie Nxumalo, GM, Philips Lighting Southern Africa

    July, 2017

    As with many other industries, the ebb and flow of technological advancement has resulted in the lighting industry undergoing significant change over the last few years. One of the most important of these technological developments has been LED technology, which has allowed for a range of benefits to lighting applications such as longer lifespan, lower carbon emissions, enhanced efficiency as well as a marked improvement in the quality of light. This has ultimately culminated in LED lighting systems obtaining an ever-growing market share.

    However, even though more and more people appreciate the benefits of LED lighting, there are still stories and misunderstandings going around surrounding the technology. This article aims to shed light on the most common myths in order to provide a clearer picture of how LEDs can work you’re your business or home.

    LEDs last forever but are not bright enough

    Compared to the average light bulb, LED bulbs do last a lot longer. However, they won’t last forever. Like all light sources, they eventually fade over time. But remember that Philips’ LED light bulbs will keep shining almost as brightly as they did when new for most of their lifetime. Many other brands start to noticeably fade - even after just a year of use.

    When it comes to brightness, LED bulbs emit the same amount of light as traditional light bulbs, energy saving sticks as well as twisters. In fact, many outdoor roads, tunnels, entire building facades, indoor offices and shop floors are entirely lit using LED lighting today. The main difference is that they use far less energy.

    For example, a 7W Philips LED bulb is just as bright as a 60W traditional light bulb or a 12W energy saving stick. You can choose a LED light that shines with the familiar warm glow of a traditional lightbulb, or go for one that closely mimics natural light. There’s a LED light for every need in your home or office.

    LEDs don’t get hot but their price makes you hot under the collar

    LEDs do emit heat, but much less than energy-saving sticks, twisters or conventional light bulbs. Just as importantly, when used in your light fittings at home, LEDs don’t emit infrared (IR), only visible light. You can’t see IR, so it doesn’t add to the brightness of the light. Instead, IR just makes bulbs hotter and wastes energy. Another plus point is that LEDs don't emit ultraviolet (UV) light either.

    In the early days of LED, pricing used to be the biggest hurdle to the widespread adoption of LED lighting systems, but this quickly changed as a result of increased competition amongst manufacturers along with decreased production costs.

    While the initial investment in LED systems is higher than that of conventional systems, the return on investment for the use of these systems is surprisingly rapid, especially when taking maintenance and energy costs into consideration. Due to the long life of the LED, no replacement is required for a long while, and users can expect an energy saving in the region of 50% to 70% compared to traditional lighting systems. Economic payback, then, can be experienced within less than two years.

    LED light quality is poor and LEDs have problems switching rapidly

    There are several measures that are used to describe light. For instance, colour temperature characterises the colour appearance of a source and describes the apparent warmth or coolness of that light source.

    The colour rendering index (CRI) on the other hand, is a metric used to measure the quality of light. The CRI for many white light LED systems is typically between 70 and 85 (out of 100), and continues to improve rapidly, making it suitable for nearly all lighting applications. CRI is currently the prevalent method for judging light quality.

    On the topic of switching rapidly, LEDs are capable of reaching their full output almost instantly after switching on. Moreover, these lighting systems can be switched continuously, without shortening the useful life.

    3W LEDs are brighter than 1W LEDs and LEDs are not resistant to vibration

    Not necessarily! In the past, original equipment manufacturers relied on wattage to give an idea of the brightness of a traditional bulb. But the number of watts (W) is just a measure of the power the bulb consumes. With LEDs, the number of watts does not tell you about brightness. Two different LEDs can consume the same power, but differ noticeably in light output.

    When selecting LED bulbs, it’s better to look at light output instead of power. The light output of a bulb is measured in a unit called lumens (lm), and this is indicated on the packaging. In addition, Philips also shows the wattage of an equivalent traditional incandescent bulb that would give the same light output, because buyers are still more familiar with this measurement.

    On vibration, there are no moving parts, filaments or fragile glass used in LED bulbs, so they are very robust. The Philips LED products all pass vibration tests according to internationally agreed standards (IEC), and in some cases, we use even tougher military standards to make sure our LEDs are going to last.

    Hopefully, this article has managed to debunk some of the LED myths. In the end, figuring out the ROI for using these lighting systems at your home or business will come down to a range of considerations that include energy usage, maintenance costs, lifespan of the systems, colour quality, colour consistency as well as making the best of the available technology.

    For further information, please contact:

    Marketing and Communications Manager
    Nelisiwe Nkosi 
    Tel: 011 471 6000

    About Philips Lighting

    Philips Lighting (Euronext Amsterdam ticker: LIGHT), a global leader in lighting products, systems and services, delivers innovations that unlock business value, providing rich user experiences that help improve lives. Serving professional and consumer markets, we lead the industry in leveraging the Internet of Things to transform homes, buildings and urban spaces. With 2016 sales of EUR 7.1 billion, we have approximately 34,000 employees in over 70 countries. News from Philips Lighting is located at the NewsroomTwitter and LinkedIn. Information for investors can be found on the Investor Relations page.