Tuesday, November 15, 2011

LEDs Have Arrived!

LEDs are awesome. In exchange for tiny amounts of energy, they produce intense, bright light. Plus they are cool to the touch and very durable. In recent years they have even become affordable!

I think the age of LED lighting has finally arrived. Sure, they conquered flash lights and specialty applications years ago but I think they’ve hit a big bigger milestone this year: they have crushed the Christmas Lights market. The options you find walking down the Christmas lights aisles (yes, aisles) have been slowly moving from traditional incandescents to LED-based products. Last year I looked at the LED options but shied away because they were still too expensive.

This year was different. First off, I couldn’t even find the old bulbs at first—LEDs have nearly pushed them out completely. Second, they are now in the “yeah, that’s doable” price range. Still spendy, but not ridiculous.

And so tonight I took advantage of the warm, calm, no-wind weather to hang 225 lights.

Photo Nov 15, 8 48 43 PMPhoto Nov 15, 8 48 04 PM

Apologies for the weak photography. The resident photographer is away at the moment so I just used my phone. In the dark.

Side note: you know what’d be an awesome product? Shorter sections of lights. I need 18” to finish that top eve. What am I supposed to do…?

So how’d we do energy-wise? I’d say pretty awesome:

Photo Nov 15, 8 42 49 PM

That’s 7.5 tiny watts. At 10¢/KWH, running these for 7 hours a day will cost just…

image

0.5¢/day. Half a penny a day. Is that right?! Whoa.

That seems a bit lower than I expected. I just checked the box and all the lights together are rated at about 18 watts. So either that’s conservative or my meter isn’t working quite right… In any event, they are quite efficient!

If you’ve been avoiding these things, I suggest you take another look. Here’s hoping that interior lighting is the next empire to fall to the mighty LED! (I know LED bulbs exist, but $15/bulb is too much!).