Category Archives: LED Lighting

Ask The Experts, Part One

This is the first installment in an on-going series that will address all of your LED lighting concerns. Today’s experts are Joel and Tim.

How is the price of LED bulbs going to change over the next few years?

Tim: Pricing is largely influenced, or outright set, by the chip’s manufacturer. Different types of chips will also reveal differences in prices because, as with most products, the higher a chip’s quality, the more expensive it will be. However, as LED technology continues to improve, prices will probably come down.

Joel: Actually, the pricing may not come down, but the best chips are doubling in light output every 12-18 months, so the compensation is increased light output.

What are the technical challenges faced by the R&D; department when trying to design a replacement bulb?

Tim: There are two basic challenges faced by researchers and designers of LED lights – heat dissipation and Color Rendering Index (CRI) rating. The former is normally solved with a heat sink of some kind while the latter is achieved with a phosphorous coating that adjusts the light’s color temperature by making it “warmer,” i.e. closer to sunlight or traditional incandescent light.

Any interesting new bulbs in development?

Joel: Not really. Standard bulbs – like A-19, MR-16, PARs, fluorescents, etc. – are what we are set on replacing, and we have models designed to do just this already in production.

According to my research, LEDs aren’t very expensive. What makes the bulbs so expensive?

Tim: What LED did you research? The old 2-pin 5mm? Super-flux? SMD? High Power?

Joel: The best chips on the market – Cree, Luxeon, Nichia – are not inexpensive. In fact, it is by and large the price of the chip that sets the price of the fixture, be it cheap or expensive. We deal largely with professionals who stake a lot of money on the quality of our product, so it wouldn’t make sense for us to sell fixtures that use cheaper, far less reliable chips.

Why is the warranty so short when they are designed to last much longer?

Joel: This is a common question as well as a logical one. It is true that LEDs (the Cree XRE type that we use in our best bulbs) can easily last 80,000 hours in a perfect environment. What we are afraid of is the lamps being used in what I will call, for lack of a better term, an abusive environment. In other words, it protects manufacturers like us from wholesale replacement situations where a large quantity of bulbs has failed prematurely due to improper ventilation and installation.

How does LED dimming work?

Joel: It’s important to keep in mind that the LED is a computer chip. As such, it cannot be dimmed by varying the amperage (in a series type situation). What we do instead is keep the amperage constant and vary the voltage. It is certainly at first blush more complicated than standard dimming, but it is quite possible and practicable.

How are today’s LEDs that are used in light fixtures different from classic LEDs used as indicators?

Tim: LED’s in light fixtures for the most part are using High Power chips specifically designed to be used in lighting fixtures and bulbs in place of things like incandescence and fluorescence. Indicator lights use older, low-brightness LED technology that has been around for decades.

What is on the horizon in terms of advancement of brightness?

Tim: The best chips we use are rated at about 60-70 lumens/Watt. The problem facing this figure, as I indicated earlier, is heat dissipation and CRI rating. There are indeed much brighter chips in existence, but many are difficult to put in a fixture or are downright impossible to at this stage of the technology’s development, and their CRI ratings are poor. We keep abreast of all aspects of the LED world, so you can rest assured that the LED lights we sell, though they may not be the brightest possible, are the best possible.

*Joel Slavis is the president of LED*Waves.

*Tim Seeto is one of LED*Waves’ premier LED experts.

To get YOUR question into an installment of Ask The Experts, simply post it as a comment on this post or fill out the contact us form on our website.

LED*Waves – Saving the earth, one bulb at a time.

Changing The World Is As Easy As Changing A Bulb

Just in time for the summer energy crunch, LED*Waves has expanded its cutting-edge LED-Logia line of low-energy light bulbs. Already boasting the outstanding MR-16 and PAR-20, the line now includes MR-11, PAR-30, and PAR-38 models.

The LED-Logia line uses only the latest Cree XRE chips and is the brightest batch of plug-and-play replacement bulbs LED*Waves has to offer. From task-lighting to ambient-lighting, commercial CFL-replacement to household incandescent-replacement, these bulbs are perfect for every circumstance and application no matter the size and no matter the duration. According to Joel Slavis, President of LED*Waves, “All of the LED-Logia bulbs are rated to last 80,000 hours under ideal conditions. In other words, after that amount of use in well-ventilated areas, the chips will have reached 50% efficiency and ought to be replaced. At 8 hours of use per day, that’s over 27 years.”

Second to none in terms of practicality, the PAR-20 has been an excellent way for consumers and contractors alike to effortlessly save energy. Its low power consumption (7 Watts) and high lumen output (500 lumens) make it capable of replacing a 40W incandescent bulb without question. Not only that, but according to research conducted by our specialists, the PAR-20 is significantly less expensive over time, which means it actually puts money back in your pocket. Roughly speaking, the PAR-20 will cost about $100 over 50,000 hours of use, never requiring replacement, while the 40W incandescent will cost over $300, requiring 50 replacements. It’s no wonder that a common use for this bulb is household incandescent-replacement.

The other tried-and-true LED-Logia bulb has become popular due to its ability to effectively replace a 30 Watt bi-pin halogen lamp. Rated at 270 lumens, the MR-16 is perfect for use with low-voltage track lighting because it consumes a mere 5 Watts, thereby increasing the number of heads a given system can have sixfold. A concept McDonald’s in Orange County has capitalized on this potential and its customers have responded, evidenced by a 25% increase in revenue within its first month of operation. Another recent satisfied client is The Greener with DIRTT Gallery in Salt Lake City, who paired the MR-16 with track lighting purchased from Light*Waves Concept.

The all-new 14 Watt PAR-30 is rated at 900 lumens and is capable of replacing a 75 Watt halogen; the all-new 21 Watt PAR-38 is rated at 1600 lumens and is the brightest LED-Logia bulb, capable of replacing a 120 Watt halogen. Along with the MR-11, these bulbs are the newest and most potent additions to the LED*Waves canon.

Let LED*Waves help you save the earth, one bulb at a time.

LEDs Make Brighter Offices

Cree, manufacturer of the world’s best LEDs, upgraded the lighting scheme in their very own office with LED lighting last November.

What a difference! 

If you’re looking to make your office brighter, cleaner, and more efficient with LED lights built around Cree LEDs, look no further than LED*Waves.

Thanks to treehugger.com for the picture and story.

All Roads Lead to LEDs…

…in a world going green.

The LED Half-Watt State Series

LEDs are a constantly evolving and progressing technology, and LED*Waves is pleased to announce an advance in linear lighting: The LED Half-Watt State Series. Combining the utility of our classic Broadway Cuttable Light Bar with New Half-Watt SMD LEDs, these new light bars stand as an excitingly new stroke of genius in the lighting world. In honor of the upcoming Presidential election, the first model in this series is named after the state with the first-in-the-nation primary and whose motto is “Live Free Or Die” – New Hampshire. The LED New Hampshire Half-Watt Light Bar is the latest and brightest idea from the linear lighting experts at LED Waves.

Knowledge Is Power

We were recently contacted by a client about his bicycle shop. He wanted to replace the T5 fluorescent lights in his display cases with an LED alternative, which he thought would in turn both save his company money as well as render his products more attractive to customers. By comparing the up-front costs and energy consumption of T5s manufactured by Techno-Lite™ to both our classic Broadway LED Cuttable Light Bar and our new LED New Hampshire Half-Watt Light Bar, we assembled a thorough energy savings analysis for the client and even we were surprised at the numbers. By using the Broadway in his displays, he would save 82% annually; by using the New Hampshire, he would save 46%. The precise numbers run something like this:

Option

Annual Material Cost

Annual Electric Cost

Annual Total Cost

Annual Savings

Material First Cost

Material Payback In Years

Techno-Lite T5 28W

$3,022.20 to $21,759.84

$3,458.45 to $24,900.83

$6,480.65 to $46,660.67

X

$6,900 to $49,680

X

LED*Waves Broadway

$635.98 to $3,746.48

$617.58 to $4,446.58

$1,253.56 to $8,193.05

$5,227.09 to $38,467.61 (82%)

$7,260 to $42,768

1.4 to 1.1

LED*Waves NH

$2,023.56 to $11,920.61

$1,852.74 to $13,339.73

$3,876.30 to $25,260.34

$2,604.35 to $21,400.3 (46%)

$23,100 to $136,080

8.9 to 6.4

“This is all well and good, but what about brightness and lumen output? The T5 must be dramatically brighter.”

In terms of brightness, a single T5 is indeed much brighter than a single light bar of either the Broadway or New Hampshire variety. However, the above calculations include a 1:2 replacement ratio, so brightness is actually already accounted for in these calculations. So, even when the brightness disparity is compensated for, our LED light bars will still save you 46-82% of your annual lighting costs.

Switching to a green lighting scheme at this stage may seem like a no-brainer to many of us, but the common reserves about switching are real; higher up-front costs, an expected reduction in brightness, and overall skepticism towards new technology tend to dissuade otherwise highly economical business- and homeowners alike from upgrading to an LED-based system. However, as the above analysis shows, these reserves are outdated and do not take the state of the art into consideration. As Joel Slavis, the President of LED*Waves, explains, “There are many cheap, useless LED lights on the market to watch out for. In fact, they probably outnumber the quality products. That’s why we work hard to do the research you would like to do but don’t have the time to do. I’ve been doing lighting now for over 40 years, and I’ve never been as excited by a new technology as I am by LEDs. Their tremendously long life and low energy consumption are something the entire world from first- to third- can embrace. This is why we do what we do.”

LED*Waves – Saving the world, one bulb at a time.

10 Things You Always Wanted To Know About LEDs (but were afraid to ask)

1. Over time, LED bulbs are CHEAPER than incandescents and CFLS. If you take into consideration energy costs, as well as time and resources spent replacing bulbs in the case of incandescents and CFLs, an LED bulb that lasts 80,000 hours (such as our Par-20) will actually quite literally cost less money. See our Blog article titled “Lights Out For Incandescents & Halogens” for further details on this.

2. LEDs are NOT created equal. Unlike us humans, LEDs are very diverse, and large amounts are downright useless in terms of general lighting applications. LED*Waves uses only the finest LEDs built around Cree XRE 5th Binning chips. These chips emit light with a Color Rendering Index of 85%. Lights that use these LEDs will not only last much, much longer than the novelty bulbs you’ll find just about anywhere, but 60% longer than competitively bright bulbs. Just remember: “If it doesn’t say Cree, it isn’t for me.”

3. Contrary to popular perception, LEDs DO generate heat, and it is in fact the biggest problem we face. We have seen a single chip that is as bright as a 100W incandescent bulb, but it’s practically useless because its installation in a fixture poses a yet unsolvable ventilation problem. Because of this issue, the chips installed in fixtures and bulbs must be ventilated properly, and the better the chip, the more difficult it is. There are far too many bulbs on the market that do not take this into consideration and either use cheap chips so they don’t have to ventilate them, or do not ventilate their chips properly, significantly reducing its lifespan. Granted, the average LED bulb is barely warm to the touch, but over time, if the chip is not specially ventilated as ours are, it will inevitably fail prematurely.

4. 100,000+ Hours Is A Myth. We take our product line very seriously and only tell you estimates backed by the best information. If you see a competitor advertising their lights as able to last 100,000 hours or more, take the rest of their claims with a large dose of suspicion. The “age” of our bulb is its “half-life”; when we say a bulb will last 80,000 hours, we mean at that point, the chips will have reached 50% efficiency and it ought to be replaced. In other words, they could very well last over 100,000 hours, but not practically speaking, so to use that as a selling point is misleading.

5. Price Matters. Any cursory search will reveal the fact that the LED bulb market is inundated with product. Many of these bulbs will be very cheap, i.e. under 20 dollars. These bulbs consist of questionable materials and dubious craftsmanship and do not reflect the state of the art. Our bulbs cost more than these cheap ones because we use high-quality chips whose prices are firmly set by manufacturers like Cree. This means that though our fixtures are more expensive, they are drastically superior.

6. 120V LED bulbs must be grounded properly. Beware when shopping for a 120V LED light bulb. If it is advertised as 120V, it means it has been designed to run on AC current (as opposed to DC), therefore it must be grounded. Grounding an LED bulb is tricky and very dangerous if not done properly as ours are.

7. Dimming an LED bulb is tricky. LEDs require constant current to operate. Because of this, if a standard dimming method is applied, it will flicker at regular intervals, or worse, simply not work. In order to dim an LED light, a 0-10V dimming module is required in order to “trick” the LED into emitting less light. In theory, all LED lights are dimmable with this module. However, there are bulbs on the market that claim to be dimmable on a standard switch and it is simply not true.

8. Know your lumens. The lumen is a standard unit of measure that has come into common usage as a tool used to compare LED bulbs to standard bulbs, such as incandescents and halogens. Very roughly, it is a measure of brightness. Lumen quantity is important, but maybe more important is lumen quality, i.e. luminous efficacy (lumen/Watt). Our LEDs have increased by 20% in efficacy over the past year to 60-70 lumens/Watt. Combining brightness and efficiency is the most important challenge us manufacturers face and it is very important that you the buyer demand to see statistics like these so that you may make an informed decision.

9. Know your degrees. There are two characteristics pertinent to LED lights that are measured in degrees: color temperature and beam spread. Color temperature refers to the color of the light emitted. In general, 3000 Kelvin is warm white (closer to infrared light) and 5000 Kelvin is cool white (closer to ultraviolet light). Cool white is brighter because it is the natural color of LED light, whereas chips that emit a warm white light require a phosphorous “filter” to “warm” the color temperature, thus reducing the chip’s brightness. Beam spread is the angle of the light that is being emitted. The lower the number, the more like a “spot” the light is. We offer lights in all color temperatures and all beam spreads, but we also want you to know the differences among them.

10. Know your rights. When you’re dealing with a technology as new and dynamic as LEDs, knowledge is power in a very acute sense. The less you are duped by poor salesmen and poorer products, the greater you will be able to benefit from the wonder that is the LED.

Empire State LED

We all know that a building as iconic as the Empire State Building deserves the finest accouterments technology can provide; that’s why she’s getting with the times and going green.

Since 1931, the Empire State Building has stood for New York City, and New York City has stood for it. Now, as the city’s energy and environmental concerns have grown, indicated by Mayor Bloomberg’s well-received PlaNYC 2030 sustainability initiative, the Empire’s lighting apparatus is loyally following suit. In particular, the Empire will soon begin to supplement its current fluorescent system with LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes.

If this technology perchance rings foreign to your ears, chances are it won’t to your eyes; the video-billboards in Times Square we’re all so familiar with are built around the energy-efficient and super-intelligent technology of the LED. In addition, governments around the world are increasingly turning to the LED to emancipate the intersection at large from incandescent bondage. This is because the LED produces little heat, consumes extremely little energy, and lasts a tremendously long time.

But that’s not all.

The festive and symbolic color schemes that the Empire is so well known for used to take six men a full day to set up. Not only did these changes take a long time to make, the color options were restricted to the very limited number of color filters available. Now, because LEDs are a digital, ultra-intelligent technology, the Empire will have a near-infinite number of color options, controllable with the flip of a single switch.

Easy-to-use would be an understatement.

Consuming a mere fraction of the energy devoured by traditional lighting technologies, lasting much, much longer (up to 10 years!), and offering design and display options only dreamt about, it is abundantly clear that the LED is quickly becoming the most sensible lighting option out there. Needless to say, if the ultra-iconic Empire State Building can be considered a valid harbinger of change, the world seems to be on the brink of an LED revolution.

LED*Waves – Saving the world, one bulb at a time.

Turn your business into a multi-colored icon of forward-thinking change today with our LED Wall Washers!

Lights Out For Incandescents

Lights Out For Incandescents & Halogens

LED*Waves Makes Headway

LEDs have made serious headway in the field of architectural lighting through the growing use of LED-based wall washers, rope lighting, and accent lighting courtesy of companies like LED*Waves. This is clear if you simply “Google” the terms “LED Lighting”; you will find that one after the other, large-scale construction projects are committed to reducing energy-consumption through the implementation of architectural LED lighting. For these cavalier architects and builders, saving the earth has never been easier or more important.

Light bulbs, on the other hand, have been a bit trickier to persuade. They have been a recurrent hurdle for the LED revolution, and for many valid reasons: lumen output, light color, and a general inundation of the market with useless novelty bulbs. These issues have made for a rather small list of practical applications. However, over the past year, the LEDs used by LED*Waves have increased in efficacy by 20%, increasing from 50 lumens per Watt to 60-70 lumens per Watt. This has meant a dramatic increase in the amount of practical applications, which in turn has invigorated and contributed to the sustainability push in all sectors.

One particularly popular application is the replacement of halogen bi-pin bulbs with LED 5W MR-16 bulbs.

Using state-of-the-art 2nd Generation Cree™chips, the LED MR-16 bulb is making its move and getting noticed. A McDonalds in Orange County has decided to use our LED 5W MR-16 light bulb; The Greener Gallery in Salt Lake City is a cutting-edge sustainability gallery and they decided to use them as well. Both locations paired the bulbs efficiently and tastefully with Flex II Track Lighting purchased from Light Waves Concept. Their sleek design, potent lumen output, low energy consumption, and long-life express each establishment’s nose for both style and grace.

In the above cases and for a growing number of customers, the LED 5W MR-16 bulb effectively replaces generic 30W MR-16 halogens. The benefits of this upgrade are numerous. The halogen bulb lasts only about 1000 hours while the LED bulb lasts about 50,000 hours. This means that over the life of your LED bulb, another person still using halogens would go through 50 bulbs before yours stopped working. Add to this the fact that the 5W LED bulb consumes a mere fraction (1/6th) of the energy that the 30W halogen bulb consumes and it becomes clear that an LED upgrade isn’t simply affordable, it’s unavoidable.

Mission: Unavoidable

It’s clear that all large-scale lighting applications, from businesses to schools, stand to benefit from LEDs. Whether it’s T8 fluorescent replacement, halogen replacement, or large-scale incandescent floodlight replacement, the benefits make the upgrade a no-brainer. The homeowner and renter, on the other hand, have been resistant to capitalizing on these benefits due to their perceived negligibility on such a small scale.

LED*Waves recently sent one of its Cree™-powered LED Par-20 light bulbs to Pablo Päster, Sustainability Engineer and VP at ClimateCHECK, who in turn wrote in his May 8th about just this conundrum. However, he believes that LED bulbs turn out to be a very worthwhile investment, even for renters and homeowners: “The LED light does cost a few dollars more but the difference is negligible. Think of the time you will save by not running to the store to buy bulbs and climbing the ladder to change them.” His conclusion comes after a detailed analysis of the overall cost of 3 different bulbs of comparable lumen output: the LED 7W Par-20 bulb (500-550 lumens), the 10W compact fluorescent bulb or CFL (500 lumens), and the 40W incandescent bulb (460 lumens). Pablo’s calculations run something like this:


PERIOD = 50,000 Hours

PERIOD = 50,000 Hours

PERIOD = 50,000 Hours

Bulb Type

LED 7W Par-20 Bulb

10W CFL

40W Incandescent

Average Price per kWh

$0.15 per kWh

$0.15 per kWh

$0.15 per kWh

# of Required Replacements

0

5

50

Wattage of Bulb

7W

10W

40W

Price To Operate Per Period

$52.50

$75

$300

Total Up-Front Cost

$49.95

$34.50

$12.50

TOTAL EFFECTIVE COST

$102.45

$109.50

$312.50

The other critical point of comparison is efficiency, or a bulbs ability to convert the energy it consumes into light instead of heat. Here is a quick comparison:

Bulb Type

LED Par-20 Bulb

10W CFL

40W Incandescent

Wattage of Bulb

7W

10W

40W

Luminous Efficiency

90%

78%

7%

Luminous Efficacy

78.6 lumens/Watt

50 lumens/Watt

11.5 lumens/Watt

And the Par-20 is only the tip of the iceberg. LED*Waves also has a 900 lumen 14W Par-30 and a 1600 lumen 21W Par-38. Stay tuned for more on these bulbs!

LED*Waves – Saving the world, one bulb at a time.

LED*Waves Is Born

www.ledwaves.com

Light*Waves Concept, Inc. has officially divided and founded a new endeavor – LED*Waves. This new division is committed to finding, creating, and sharing Green lighting solutions for everyone.

Joel Slavis, Chief Lighting Consultant for Light*Waves Concept, says this about the division: “You don’t ask for the world to be saved. You just perceive the need and act. LED lighting is quickly becoming an obvious solution to the universal problem of energy waste through widespread use of inefficient lighting technologies, so it seemed nothing more than natural for me to form this new company.”

LED*Waves – Saving the world, one bulb at a time.