Retrofit LED bulbs (ones that fit into existing bulb holders) are suitable in most situations. Close attention should be paid to heat dissipation needs, especially when replacing halogen reflectors in enclosed light fittings (e.g. recessed ceiling light). Advanced heat sink design in modern LED lamps overcomes the reliability problems seen in early models. Manufacturer’s guarantees are often supplied to back this.
A few words about dimming
LED lighting is excellent for dimming, maintaining energy efficiency at all light levels. However, not all LED lamps or fittings are dimmable. Dimmability is a property of the LED driver, so you need to shop specifically for it.
Many modern LED lamps are compatible with old dimmer switches, but the minimum load of a switch (often 60W) is a potential problem if you only want to dim a few lights. It is sometimes easier to install a new dimmer switch, with modern ‘trailing-edge’ dimmers being suitable for LED loads.
Dedicated LED fittings
LED light fittings are increasingly designed with non-replaceable LEDs, mainly due to their long LED lifespan. In this instance, the whole luminaire is replaced at the end of its useful life. One of the advantages is that designers can build light fittings that are fine-tuned for efficiency, with very little light being wasted.
Does the light from an LED reduce over time?
Yes, it’s a process called lumen depreciation, which affects LED and fluorescent lighting. Incandescent bulbs produce the same amount of light throughout their lifespan.
LED lifespan is usually measured to a point where it has lost 30% of original lumen output (known as 70% lumen maintenance, or L70). Lumens are used to measure the total amount of light produced, regardless of direction or beam angle.
Reducing carbon emissions
It is argued by scientists worldwide that we are heading towards potentially disastrous climate change due to excessive carbon emissions. The way we create and use our energy is all part of this equation and regardless of your stance, reducing your carbon footprint is definitely a positive way of doing your bit for the environment. You’ll be saving money at the same time!
LED in summary
LED lighting is energy efficient, long-lived, eco-friendly, robust, and all-round cool (except around its heat sink). In addition, it produces little or no UV, is unaffected by frequent switching, is naturally directional for precise control, and it’s compact. LED is the future of lighting.