Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Cutting Costs And Carbon: New LED Standards Illuminate the Future

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Join Rudy Ramos for a weekly look at all things interesting, new, and noteworthy for design engineers.

This week, we discuss a recent standard for LED lightbulbs from the United States government and consider how it will impact businesses and households.  

New LED Lightbulb Standard

The new standard for LED lightbulbs announced by the Biden administration in April 2024 will likely mean measurable savings for American households. The final ruling doubles the energy efficiency requirements from 45 lumens (the unit of measurement for brightness) per watt to more than 120 lumens per watt.

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The US Department of Energy (DOE) has projected that the rule will result in about 27 billion USD in total savings and prevent the release of seventy million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions over thirty years. However, some experts believe that because LED bulbs last so long, it may be years before consumers notice the benefits.

Lighting Costs in the United States

According to the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) most recent Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), lighting in US homes accounted for 6 percent of total electricity consumption in 2020.

Additionally, the EIA’s 2018 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) and the Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey (MECS) estimate that lighting accounts for 17 percent of the electricity consumption by US commercial buildings, while manufacturing facilities’ lighting electricity usage totaled 53 billion kWh in the same period.

The most recent LED bulb standard is a positive step toward helping people lower their homes’ lighting energy usage. While it might not be sufficient on its own to reduce monthly electric bill expenses, the average savings it will offer families, when paired with other habits, will make a significant difference.

Enhancing Smart Homes with LED Lightbulbs

A switch to LED lighting in the home offers many advantages. Besides the substantial energy and financial savings, consumers can readily find drop-in replacement options for their legacy incandescent lightbulbs, making the change easy.

Furthermore, consumers have a wide range of lighting options to pick from, including retro-looking lightbulbs, motion-sensing, dimmable, temperature selectable, RGBW, Wi-Fi-capable lightbulbs, and LED strips, simplifying creative lighting integration into their smart home’s design, ambiance, and current ecosystem (Figure 1).

Figure 1: The many benefits of LED lighting at home include setting a home’s ambiance and reducing lighting costs. (Source: Kristian/stock.adobe.com; generated with AI)

The Newest Products for Your Newest Designs

This week’s New Tech Tuesday features innovative products from Cree LED and Banner Engineering that help mitigate lighting costs. 

The Cree LED XLamp XHP70.3 High-Density 3V LEDs are a breakthrough in the high-power LED sector, delivering unmatched light output and lumen density within a compact 7mm footprint. This innovative LED provides an effortless drop-in upgrade for existing XHP70 designs, allowing lighting manufacturers to boost system efficiency in terms of lumens per watt (LPW) without the need for costly redesigns. The XHP70.3 LED variant is specifically engineered to meet the high-output demands of outdoor and high-end indoor lighting applications.

Banner Engineering WLF12 Flexible LED Strip Lights are a versatile lighting solution designed to enhance visibility in various commercial settings. Their flexibility and ease of installation allow quick integration into workspaces, cabinets, assembly stations, and machines. These strip lights provide bright, daylight-white illumination, making them ideal for detailed tasks where precision is paramount.

Tuesday’s Takeaway

The latest LED lightbulb standards signal a bright future for energy efficiency and environmental stewardship in the United States. By elevating the lumens per watt requirement, these regulations promise not just immediate savings on household energy bills but also long-term benefits by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Although the extended lifespan of LEDs may delay consumer realization of these benefits, the overall impact will be a considerable decrease in energy consumption nationwide. This move also underscores a broader shift towards sustainable living, offering consumers a wealth of innovative, eco-friendly lighting options that blend seamlessly into the modern smart home ecosystem.


Author: Rudy is a member of the Technical Content Marketing team at Mouser Electronics, bringing 35+ years of expertise in advanced electromechanical systems, robotics, pneumatics, vacuum systems, high voltage, semiconductor manufacturing, military hardware, and project management. As a technology subject matter expert, Rudy supports global marketing efforts through his extensive product knowledge and by creating and editing technical content for Mouser’s website. Rudy has authored technical articles appearing on engineering websites and holds a BS in Technical Management and an MBA with a concentration in Project Management. Prior to Mouser, Rudy worked for National Semiconductor and Texas Instruments.

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