With the higher initial cost of LED lights, it is no wonder many consumers question whether spending more upfront is worth it. Traditional lighting options like incandescent and fluorescent bulbs and newer CFL bulbs are cheaper and more familiar than LED lights. However, with their longer lifespan and significantly higher energy efficiency rates, LED lights quickly pay for themselves and can save homeowners thousands of dollars over the lifespan of the light.
Why is the cost of LED lights initially higher for consumers than conventional incandescent or fluorescent lights?
LED lights contain many components that are fragile, rare or expensive to work with. To make a LED light, all of its electronic components are packaged together to create a light source that will be long-lasting and energy efficient for the buyer. The LED chip itself contains sapphire and gallium in the semiconductor. Plus, the materials used in the packaging – ceramic, silicone, gold wire, rare earth phosphors, and solder – all add to the final cost for each light. White LED lights are also subject to additional testing for calibration and standardization.
What are the economic advantages to switching from conventional lights to LED lights?
LED light users can expect to see significant economic advantages from using LED lights compared to conventional lighting methods. While the initial cost of LED lights is higher than other lighting options, over their lifespan, they more than make up the difference. Over a 10 year period, a LED light will cost about $14. A CFL will cost just over $20, and an incandescent will cost nearly $90. Because LED lights need less maintenance and have to be replaced less frequently, there is less spent on new lamps and on labor costs.
Even with the initially higher cost, LED lights consume significantly less energy and are a much better value for consumers.
What advances are being made today in the field of LED technology that will continue to reduce the cost of LED lights in the future?
LED lights have come a long way since they were first invented, and scientists, engineers, and technicians continue to make advances in LED light technology. LED lights have become increasingly light efficient while their color quality has also improved. Recently, multiple manufacturers have released LED lights that are ENERGY STAR-qualified, meaning that the lights surpass 100 lumens per watt. As a comparison, traditional incandescent bulbs provide 13 to 18 lumens per watt (thought bulbs with such a low lumen to watt ratio no longer meet energy efficiency standards). LED light costs have continued to decrease as manufacturers make improvements in their production efficiency. Manufacturers also look to simplify and reduce the number of components in each bulb and are experimenting with introducing new materials that would further reduce costs.