Tricks of the Trade

Top 5 benefits of LED lighting

Heather Mahr, a Ferguson author

by Heather Mahr


Lighting technology has come a long way since the early 1900s when the mass-production of incandescent light bulbs replaced candlesticks and oil lamps to light the home. Decades later, lighting manufacturers came to realize the importance of energy efficiency. This led to the popularization of compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, which use about 75% less energy than typical incandescent bulbs. Today, the need to find an even more efficient light source than incandescent and CFL lighting is underscored by rising energy costs and new light bulb efficiency legislation passed by the federal government and some state governments. Enter the LED, or light-emitting diode, light bulb. Similar to how early incandescent bulbs made burning candles for light obsolete, LED lighting boasts several energy-saving advantages that will make incandescent and CFL bulbs burn out into the past. Read the top five benefits you need to know about LED lighting and see what makes this the lighting technology of the future.

1. LEDs are cool. Literally.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, CFLs release 80% of their energy as heat instead of light. Think that’s high? Incandescent bulbs release a staggering 90% of their energy as heat. Conversely, LED light bulbs offer superior efficiency and stay relatively cool to the touch. This means that LED light bulbs do a significantly better job of converting energy from a power source into light compared to incandescent and CFL bulbs.

2. LED lighting is easy on the eyes.

The quality and color of light that is produced by LED bulbs is relatively gentle on the eyes. Whereas darkness is the absence of all color, white light is created when the full color spectrum is blended together. LED light bulbs usually combine red, green and blue LEDs to create white light. The color of LED lighting can be measure on the Color Rendering Index, or CRI, which is a scale of how accurately a light source renders a color in comparison to the same color in full natural light. CRI ranges from 1-100, and the higher the CRI rating, the more accurate the light bulb is able to render color. LED light bulbs typically have a high CRI with some LED bulbs featuring a 90+ CRI rating.

Pro tip: LED lighting is an excellent choice for contractors and trade professionals because some LED bulbs can be used in conjunction with dimmer switches, which is an easy selling point for customers.

3. LED bulbs are easy on the knees and joints.

The average lifespan of a traditional incandescent light bulb is about 1,000 hours according to the U.S. Department of Energy. CFLs perform significantly better with an average lifespan of 10,000 hours according to the same source. LED light bulbs outperform both with an impressive 25,000 hour average lifespan. Because LED bulbs last about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, LED bulbs will need to be changed 25 times less often. This keeps the need to pull out the step stool or get up on a precariously-located ladder to a minimum, which could be particularly appealing to an aging population or to people with limited mobility.

4. LED lighting is dynamic.

Whether you need a bulb for outdoor flood lights or an indoor light fixture, it’s more than likely that there is an LED bulb to fit your needs. Their rugged construction and range of shapes and sizes makes LED lighting extremely versatile. As an added benefit, many LED light bulb manufacturers have made indoor LED bulbs that appear similar in shape to traditional incandescent bulbs. This makes it easy to opt for LED bulbs in even the most elegant lighting fixtures without taking away from their visual appeal. Their energy savings coupled with their ability to fit well in virtually any lighting fixture makes LED lighting the perfect combination of style and substance.

Pro tip: Need a light bulb that will fit well in a tight space, such as for under-cabinet or recessed lights? Look no further than LED bulbs. They can come in very small sizes and offer directional light, which is the perfect accent lighting solution to highlight small nooks and crannies.

5. LED lights are safe for you and the earth.

Even though CFL lights offer comparable energy savings to LEDs, CFLs do not last as long and therefore contribute to increased waste. The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, stresses that CFLs should not be thrown in the trash because this could release toxic mercury into the environment. If you use CFL lights then you should dispose of used bulbs at designated recycling centers. Failing to properly dispose of CFL bulbs in some states could even leave you in violation of the law. Should a CFL break, the EPA recommends special procedures to handle the waste and avoid mercury exposure. LED bulbs contain no mercury or toxic substances and do not pose a similar threat to the environment or your health.

LED bulb savings: The proof is in the numbers

Standard halogen bulb
Average LED bulb
750 lumens
800 lumens
Rated life hours
Bulb cost
10 hours
10 hours
Energy cost per Kwh
Bulbs needed to run 25,000 hours
Annual utility cost savings
ROI period
2.8 months

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Heather Mahr, a Ferguson author

Heather Mahr

As Ferguson’s in-house copywriter, Heather is dedicated to providing readers with valuable information. She is passionate about helping people find the answers they need to make their life easier with her words.