Why use LED lights? What makes them better than other options?
Simple. They are better for the environment, over time they are better for your hip pocket and they are more reliable than other lights. And, they don’t contain mercury. But, make sure you go with a reliable brand, as LEDs are not all made equal.
LED better for the environment
One LED will last about as long as between 25 and 100 incandescent or halogen bulbs. So that means less resources used to produce your light bulbs, and less waste in landfill.
Unlike compact fluorescent lights they do not any have mercury in them. Incandescent light globes are being phased out not only in Australia but also in the US and the UK, and are most commonly being replaced with compact bulbs, which are far more energy efficient.
However, compact fluorescents contain mercury – which is toxic both to people and the environment. While they contain only about 5 mg, far less than a mercury thermometer for instance, a single household will often need upward of 20 light globes at any one time,with as many again for garden lighting, and they do not last indefinitely. Eventually that adds up to a lot of mercury to be disposed of (always assuming the bulb hasn’t broken and the mercury dispersed in your house!).
LED lights also use significantly less electricity than even compact fluorescents (and about 80% less than incandescent bulbs), and they are recyclable. Even better, solar powered LED garden lights use only the energy of the sun.
Better for your hip pocket?
In the long run, yes. At the You will have to buy many more of any other sort of bulbs over the lifetime of on LED light, and pay for far more electricity.
Solar LED Garden lights
From a sustainability perspective, Solar powered garden lights are the obvious choice. They are energy efficient to run, and rarely need to be replaced. Solar garden lights come in all varieties, from these strings of blue LED garden lights, which can be used indoors or outdoors, to this individual LED solar security light with motion detector, to path or accent lighting, like these stainless steel solar landscape path lights, which come in a pack of 12 and are wireless.
But, beware that the cheap lights you may find at your local hardware store may not provide the quality of light you are after. Often they will have a single diode which provides limited light, and if they are automatically activated at dark, they will not operate within a certain distance of the next light – ensuring that even having lots of them, you will still not get much concentrated light! So make sure you look for lights that have a simple ‘on’ switch as well as (or instead of) being light/dark activated, if you want to have them close together.
You may find you are better off going to a specialty lighting store and getting specific advice, particularly if you want the lights to be more than decorative.