Why Think Green?
Global warming has become a more prominent factor when choosing what to buy. Consumers are thinking about the environmental factors & greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the cost & quality factors.
Global warming is the rise in the average temperature of Earth's atmosphere, most being natural with some being man-made. This rise is caused by the increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases.
Heat energy on Earth comes from the Sun, producing solar radiation. Some of this radiation is reflected back off the Earth, into space. A small amount is absorbed by the Earth's atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and water vapour are the four main greenhouse gases, which occur naturally, but also can be caused by human activity. Industrial, transportational, agricultural, housing and deforestation are some activities that cause significant increases in these greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide.
The increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere means that they are able to retain a greater amount of heat energy. Heat from the Sun is a short wavelength, which is intense and energetic. This is absorbed by the Earth and when radiated back out, it is now cooler than the Sun, making it a longer wavelength. This new wavelength is the same as that of the greenhouse gases, therefore the gases can absorb the heat. This causes the Earth's atmosphere to warm up and consequently causes the climate to change, producing effects such as rises in sea levels, more frequent extreme weather events, species extinctions and decreases in crop yields.
Most electricity is generated by the burning of fossil fuels, which greatly produces carbon dioxide and therefore much of Australia's electricity production uses methods that generate greenhouse gases. Australian households produce an average of 18 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year, which is about one fifth of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. Roughly 15% of those emissions come from lighting. By switching your lighting to LED lighting, you will be saving on the electricity used to run them, as well as reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions being released.
LED lights use less energy than standard lighting, such as Halogens, Metal Halides and Incandescents. They have a common lifespan of 35,000-50,000 hours, lasting for many years and therefore reducing landfill waste. These factors greatly reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being produced and so are a much more environmentally friendly option, when it comes to lighting.
Why Think Orange?
Taking the step from Thinking Green, understanding what and why we need to move towards a greener future, to Thinking Orange, buying environmentally friendly lighting, can be daunting to some people. Many consumers have been apprehensive about joining the LED revolution, through uncertainty on energy efficiency, performance and reliability, or just not wanting to move forward out of the norm.
The cost of changing to LED lighting is a common reason why consumers are hesitant to invest their money. Upfront costs of LED lighting may be more expensive, but the annual savings far outweigh the initial investment. LED lighting produces significantly less energy than that of halogen, incandescent and even compact fluorescent lights. Less energy results in less greenhouse gas emissions, as well as much lower electricity bills. Long lifespans of LEDs means you don't need to change your lights or throw out old lights very often, decreasing landfill waste. LED lights also contain their own cooling system, to reduce the amount of heat floating around the surrounding air. This means that air conditioning systems will be using less energy and therefore producing less greenhouse gases. On top of that, production and manufacturing of lighting will decrease, resulting in lower greenhouse gas emissions from these processes.
To find a quality LED product and to ensure peace of mind, knowing it is a superior fitting and will last, there are many factors to consider:
- LED chips come in many different forms, some are top of the range, while some are not. Knowing the manufacturer of the LED chip used can assist in knowing the quality of the product.
- The luminous efficacy, or effectiveness of the light source, is another important factor. Comparing the lumens per watt ratio will give you an idea of the quality of the product.
- CRI, or Colour Rendering Index, is important for choosing the best product for a job. CRI values relate a source to how close to a natural or ideal light it is. The higher the CRI value, the more accurate to natural viewing the light output is.
- The lifespan of a product will also determine how good a product is, giving security as well.
- Depending on the type of product, IP ratings can come into play. IP ratings determine how weatherproof and how durable in particular conditions a product is.