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YouthPower Energy Camp


Solid Lighting Solutions By Megan McKoy-Noe and Brian Sloboda


A new year calls for updated  No need to use bulbs with a twist; light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can help you switch on savings.


Congress called for im- - dards for traditional incandes- cent bulbs under the federal Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. By 2014, lightbulbs using between 40-W to 100-W must consume at least 28 percent less energy than classic bulbs. The change will save Americans an esti- mated $6 billion to $10 billion in lighting costs annually. When the next wave of standards kicks in next month, traditional 40-W and 60-W incandescents will no longer be available. In their place, some  with a solid solution: LEDs.


‘Solid’ lighting


Incandescent bulbs create  inside a glass bulb—a delicate connection that can easily be broken, as frustrated home- owners can attest. In contrast, LEDs are at the forefront of solid-state lighting—small, packed electronic chip devices. Two conductive materials are placed together on a chip (a di- ode). Electricity passes through


Kay Electric Cooperative


the diode, releasing energy in the form of light.


Invented in 1960 by


 were red—the color depends on materials placed on the diode. Yellow, green, and or- ange LEDs were created in the 1970s and the recipe for the color blue—the foundation for white LEDs—was unlocked in the mid-1990s. Originally used in remote controls, exit signs, digital watches, alarm clocks, and car signal lights, LEDs quickly gained momentum for large-scale lighting.


Measuring LED potential The Arlington, Va.-based Cooperative Research Network has partnered with several electric cooperatives through- out the United States to test LEDs. Researchers are cau- tiously optimistic; LEDs offer 


- haps for decades  could be substantially less than  - cents


 LEDs are more environmentally friendly  more resistant to breakage 


climates, especially outsides  produce a more pleasing light However, some consumers avoid LEDs because the price tag exceeds normal lightbulb costs. But the true value lies in the lifetime of the bulb. It takes about 50 traditional incandes- cent bulbs, or eight to 1o CFLs, to last as long as one LED lamp.


Buyer Beware


Poor quality LED products  Some are manufactured out- side of the United States with components that produce low light levels, don’t boast a long service life, or make exagger- ated energy saving claims. Don’t be fooled. Look for the U.S. Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR logo for guar- anteed color quality over time, steady light output over the  warranty. You can also look for an LED Lighting Facts label. The label helps consumers com- pare products to manufacturer claims and similar products with a quick summary of perfor- 


- put. The higher the number, the more light is emitted. 


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