22 May 2008

The promise of LED lights

Everyone knows that the days of the incandescent bulb are numbered. But the most common replacement, the CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulb, has its own disadvantages, especially that of disposal, since it contains mercury. The LED (solid state light emitting diode) bulb promises to beat both the CFL and the incandescent -- thanks to a combination of energy efficiency and lack of waste. That's what Renaissance Lighting, a maker of LED lights, is saying.

But LEDs have their limitations too. For now, at least, they are directional. That means they are useful only for lights you point at things, such as recessed lights (point down), floodlights and flashlights (point out), and task lighting (points at your task). So LEDs are also not the perfect answer, though the technology is improving.

Renaissance, for example, has announced a new 4-inch LED light. The light is smaller than the company had heretofore offered, and may be a good fit for a wider range of applications.

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