The truth about LED lighting

Oct 27 2009

I’m glad someone did the research on this – I had a hunch but wasn’t sure… those new 4-watt LEDs run super hot!

Let’s start this off with a quick clarification. When I say “LED light”, I’m not talking about the nifty, little blinky things that are frequently part of the ingredients list in Make projects. I’m talking about the Big Show: An LED light that can replace the incandescent bulbs and/or CFLs you have lighting up your home right now. To do it right, you don’t just need a single LED that works, you need an array of them…and you need them to produce enough light, and the right color of light, reliably enough that people can buy an LED bulb and know what they’re getting into.That ain’t easy. But it is getting easier.

Trouble is, they’re being oversold, like whoa. For about two-and-a-half years, I’ve been reporting on LED lighting for a trade magazine called Architectural SSL*. During that time, I’ve watched mainstream press and enviro blogs tout LEDs as the green energy miracle light. Often, with a level of enthusiasm seldom seen outside rooms full of puppies. Don’t get me wrong. LEDs are pretty cool. There are places where they’re useful now, and places they probably will be soon. But if you’re just hearing about the awesome, you aren’t getting the full story. And, as more LED products start showing up on store shelves, that really starts to matter.

LEDs: Throwing Some Light on the Hype

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