Humanity has always created artificial lighting, mainly through use of candles and lamps. Ever since the late 1800s, meanwhile, electricity has allowed light bulbs to create powerful and reliable sources of artificial lighting, and light bulb aren’t a fire hazard the way candles and oil lamps might be. The work of Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison pioneered such technology, leading today’s induction lights and induction ballasts, LED displays, halogen bulbs, and traditional filament bulbs. Such induction ballasts and other lighting sources are used everywhere from vehicle headlights to lamps in the house to parking garage lighting and more. Different jobs may call for different types of light, though.
Induction and Filament Lights
Filament bulbs are what many people may imagine when they think of a light bulb: a thin glass bulb with wires inside that give off light when electricity run through them. Filament bubs are low-cost and can be found everywhere, but they’re also known for their limited life span since their electrodes and filaments may burn out over time. For more specialized lighting needs, induction bulbs set up in induction ballasts may be used, and induction ballasts can be found in parking garages and other industrial sites quite often.
The advantage of induction bulbs is that they don’t even use filaments or electrodes, so they won’t burn out as easily as filament bulbs do. This allows a induction ballast setup to have an impressive lifespan of nearly 100,000 hours, and such bulbs may be quite bright. They electrically excite gases inside the bulb to create light, no filament needed. This is hardly a new idea, either; Nikola Tesla, the famed Serbian inventor, devised them back in 1890. They may be used in parking garages, for example, which are required by law to be lit 24 hours a day. These long-lasting, long bulbs are often the right choice for this lighting need, and installation crews may fit them into place once a garage is built and replace them as needed. In other contexts, though, LED bulbs may be the best choice.
Using LED Lights
LEDs are a relatively new model of light bulb, and they so far have had limited market penetration but they have proven popular. These bulbs don’t use filaments, but they can create a lot of light and may have an expected lifespan of nearly 50,000 hours, an impressive amount. What is more, LEDs don’t suffer from a loss of lumens as they age, and an LED close to expiring will still give off its maximum amount of light. These lights are known for being highly energy-efficient, and can give off the same light as other bulb models with only half the electricity on average. In fact, they use 80% less power than incandescent bulbs. This makes them environmentally friendly if enough are installed. A building filled with them has less need for electricity from fossil fuel-burning power plants nearby. The potential is quite large, and the U.S. Department of Energy says that LED lighting may someday reduce American energy usage as much as 50%. After all, nearly 22% of all electricity generated in the United States is used for lighting, in homes and especially in public buildings.
Where might these bulbs be found? Nearly everywhere, due to their design. LED displays are in fact a collection of many smaller bulbs working in tandem, and they can be arranged into bars or rods, corn cob-shaped arrays, sheets, small lighting fixtures, and more. They can be used in traffic lights, vehicle headlights, in a building’s lighting arrays, on outdoor lighting for foot paths, and even on fishing boat rigs. LEDs may be recognizable on sight as arrays of small, circular lights in neat patterns. What is more, these bulbs generate little waste heat, unlike incandescent bulbs, which release around 90% of their energy as wasted heat. LEDs are much more efficient. Meanwhile, they may use only 15% of the energy as standard halogen lights but give off up to 85% more light, a strongly competitive ratio. LEDs are not yet fully standard, but they are appearing everywhere and the market for them is aggressively growing. This is partly due to the popular “go green” initiative, which calls for energy-saving utilities. LEDs fit that bill.