Mark my words, every urban street in the near future will be illuminated by LED lighting. We haven't seen large cities like New York move as quickly to embrace the technology; the early adopters have been smaller cities such as Pittsburgh, Oakland and Detroit. Earlier this week, Detroit was commended by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz for its choice to utilize LED lighting in the coming years. LED lighting infrastructure is particularly attractive to cities like Detroit who are conceptualizing long-term redevelopment. Cities like Detroit are short on cash, and some might be hesitant to invest in the high initial cost of LEDs; but savings over the long run make it a smarter fiscal decision.
Even at the national level, lighting infrastructure is beginning to shift toward outdoor LED lights. The Obama Administration is rolling out a program to help 5 US cities with the initial costs of updating their current infrastructure. To show its commitment to green technologies, the Administration retrofitted the lights on the National Mall with LEDs. Infrastructure updates such as this are likely to get support from both ends of the political spectrum. The move will save the National Park Service sixty-five percent on consumption and maintenance.
The economic sensibility of LEDs is catching the eyes and ears of governments at the local, national and international level. For instance, certain communities in England are hopping on the bandwagon. One English school, the Business Academy Bexley, sought out funding for LED infrastructure after learning that energy savings would be nearly 70% overall. For sake of perspective, this will equate to nearly 35,000 US dollars in operating cost savings per year. If you're looking for green energy LEDs, I recommend a professional firm such as Laface and Mcgovern, Inc. Click for more info
The London school deepened its savings via the inclusion of adaptive wireless controllers in addition to the LEDs themselves. These automatic controllers detect the amount of natural light and raise or lower the indoor lights accordingly. If these types of controllers were more widely adopted, new building projects in developing cities like Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Oakland could be designed with natural light levels in mind. This relationship between cost-effective technologies and designs will provide increasing savings for recovering US cities.
LED lighting solutions seem to be perfect for urban planners looking to keep taxpayers happy. Oakland, CA has recently announced a plan to upgrade 30,000 street lights with GE scalable LED light fixtures. Scalable LED lights make inventory, installation and maintenance a more streamlined process. The scalability of these particular lights makes them suitable for situations from major highways to residential neighborhoods.
Even with the potential for political disagreement when it comes to legislating specific products over others, there has been relatively little bickering over the ban of incandescent light bulbs in favor of LEDs. It might be true that so far only progressive-leaning city governments have adopted LED technology, but I doubt it will stay that way for long. The financial advantages of LEDs are piling up and will soon be overwhelming enough to quash any partisan posturing on the issue. So join me on the path to the future. The path to the future is bright; LEDs are shining.
Someday, with a click, you could change the color of your walls or your house. Or maybe you would like your car to display your Twitter feed or Facebook page while you're on the road. These things may not be too far in the future, thanks to the Light-Emitting Diode (LED).
The action behind the light-emitting diode (LED) is called electroluminescence, a phenomenon first discovered at the European Marconi Labs in 1907. In correspondence to the energy band gap, the semiconductor was observed to emit light of different colors depending on the voltage of the current applied. Historians name Oleg Losev, a Russian inventor, as the first to develop what we call an LED today, but widespread commercial use was limited in 1927. This occurred in the summer of 1962, when James "Bob" Biard and Gary Pittman of Texas Instruments filed a patent for the infrared (IR) light-emitting diode which was the first modern LED. This led to the release of the commercial model SNX-100, primarily intended for testing electronics but other uses would soon present themselves in other electronic devices, from televisions and digital clocks to common kitchen appliances. Development continued and by the 1990s the LED market had expanded considerably with improved range, reliability and efficiency
Once obscure, LEDs are now becoming a popular alternative to incandescent light bulbs, with the many types of LED interior lights which provide greater efficiency and more adaptable form. Candles, for instance, can be mimicked by the subtlety of LEDs' light quality, a major benefit to people sensitive to glare. Often a benefit as a result of this increased control of the light output is the much improved energy usage, up to 50% energy savings according to one study. Another advantage over incandescents comes from the smaller carbon footprint of LED light fixtures as a result of its lower heat output and longer lifespan. The ratio of efficiency compared to an LED's relative shape and size, which can be as small as 2mm, presents another advantage over traditional incandescent light bulbs or tubes. The many functions and benefits of LEDs have made these once fairly useless little lights into a ubiquitous part of modern society, seen everywhere from vehicle lights to traffic signals to personal computers, televisions, electronic billboards or barcode scanners.
In the coming century, it seems to be clear that LEDs will continue to alter and enhance our lives in even more fantastic ways. The flexible organic light-emitting diode (FOLED), for example, allows a signal to be displayed on a plastic film only nanometers thick, without loss in clarity. Already, the FOLEDs are leading to amazing new uses for LEDs, such as electronic paper, rollable displays for lighter and more durable mobile devices and bendable displays which can be integrated into wallpaper or even a curved surface. In the Netherlands, Philips have been working on a similar concept, textile-based LED (Lumalive), which would enable clothing and large decorative panels to react as LED does. Capable of power cycling millions of times per second makes LEDs quite suitable for high data bandwidth communication, likely to continue on into the future as "LiFi." The technology may even help space exploration, with studies being conducted to judge the efficacy of LED lights in growing self-sustaining gardens aboard spacecraft.
Of course, the more fantastic benefits of LED light are not only confined to the future, but exist in the present as well. 3M has developed a means, for instance, to allow a single LED to cover a large space, which they have named "Virtual LED."The bendable displays of the future have begun with products such as Osram's flexible waterproof coating which permit LEDs to be wrapped around corners and underwater. Likewise, Laface and Mcgovern Associates offers flexible LED strips but uses a trademark polycarbonate resin which they say enhances the control over color options even more. Follow this link to learn more. With all that's happening now and all that is planned for the future, LEDs are sure to be turning up in a lot more places—maybe even on your living room walls.