LED Lighting – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

LED-Light-bulbs-rangeWe’ve all heard the claims by now – LED lighting uses far less electricity, saves costs, lasts much longer and is a far greener solution than either the old incandescent bulbs or the newer ‘energy-saving’ bulbs.

So as good green consumers we go out to buy some, only to be brought up short by the price. At R200 for a light bulb our green principles suffer a set-back. Maybe we find a cheaper version, try it out for a while and are disappointed in its performance: the colour is harsh, the light is too dim or it just doesn’t last as long as the claims.

The truth is that with LED lighting as well as everything else in life, you get what you pay for. Since LED bulbs took off, the market has been flooded with cheaper, badly-made versions that are stocked in supermarkets and general stores. These perform badly, are still more expensive than ordinary light bulbs and give LED a bad name.

So which brands should we look out for and is it really worth investing in LED?

Quality brands are worth the money, typically saving users 80% of their lighting energy costs and lasting as long as is claimed – sometimes 10 years or more. But you do have to go for the more expensive and best quality makes, which have proper quality control. In South Africa, brands such as Cree, Philips, Edison or Bridgelux are good names to look out for even though they may only be available from specialist LED lighting suppliers.

In other areas such as advertising lightboxes and signage products LED lighting technology is already well established, but you should still look out for recognisable brands if you are expecting quality and longevity.

All in all LED is the way forward, but it pays to do your research before investing in a whole houseful and get expert advice from the specialists, rather than just slinging a bulb or two in our shopping trolleys as we pass the supermarket lighting aisle.

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