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LED Lighting

LED Lighting is the Future of Lighting today

As I discuss in “How to Future Proof Your Home: A Guide to Building with Energy Intelligence in Cold Climates“, Light Emitting Diodes or LED lighting is the future of lighting. LED lights are nothing new, they’ve been lighting the time on your clock radio, microwave and stove for years. The difference is that LEDs used for lighting have a different chemical makeup to produce a bright white light.

LED lights use approximately 1/8 the power of incandescent lights. That’s about 85% less power consumption because most power used for incandescent lighting is being wasted as heat. LED lights by contrast should always be cool to the touch.

In addition to saving you on your monthly power bills, LED lights can greatly reduce your need for air conditioning during the summer, or all year round if you live in a warm climate.

As you already know from owning your radio alarm clock, LEDs have a very long life. Once installed, an LED bulb should last 50,000 hours or between 20 and 30 years. The long life and significant efficiency improvement of LED lights over incandescent lights mean that they have very short payback periods making them a wise investment.

If you are paying someone to change light bulbs, or hate doing it, the move towards LEDs will pay for itself that much quicker.

Watch this video to see the math of their payback period and learn how LED’s contribute to a Future Proof Home.

Before you purchase an LED bulb, first you should understand the important characteristics of a bulb.


Lumens are the amount of light that a bulb will emit. When you are adjusting a dimmable bulb, you are adjusting the number of lumens that the bulb is emitting. When you purchase a bulb make sure that it will emit a sufficient number of lumens for your application.

You can consult the chart below which compares the lumen output versus Watts for LED lights, compact fluorescents and incandescent bulbs.

lumens per watt futureproofmybuilding.comLumen output is usually the most important factor when selecting a replacement bulb.

Color temperature

Also be aware that everything that has heat above absolute zero ( -273.15°C or 0K) – including you and I – produces light in some area of the electromagnetic spectra. This light is measured in degrees Kelvin (K).  Red light is a lower color temperature, while blue light is of higher color temperature. If you like a cool blue light similar to a compact fluorescent light (CFL), then LED bulbs in the 5000 – 6000K range will meet your needs. However if you like a softer light similar to incandescent lighting, choose a cooler temperature in the 2700 – 4500 K  range.

color temperature chart Graphic borrowed from Wikipedia.

Incand-3500-5500-color-temp-comparisonGraphic borrowed from Wikipedia.

LED Base type

If you are buying LED’s online, this is important information.

For a standard light bulb replacement choose an E26, A19 or E27 bulb. E26 and E27 bulbs are interchangeable between sockets. In North America, the standard voltage is 120 VAC with screw in base is E26. E27 is the standard sized bulb and base in Europe where power is delivered at 220 VAC. The sockets / bulbs are interchangeable except for the voltage rating. Meaning that the bulb you purchase must match the voltage in your region.

LED E26 and E27 bulbs that are universal line-voltage can be used in both E26 and E27 sockets.

Certain LEDs can also be dimmed, however special dimming equipment is required if the light bulb doesn’t indicate that it is dimmable. Do not replace an incandescent that is controlled by a dimmer switch with a non-dimmable LED.