The Energy Waste Dilemma
With the price of gasoline on the upswing(again, April 20, 06), there seems to be little sign that we Americans are at least trying to conserve fuel, though there are pockets of concerned groups that are making their voice heard, mainly against Oil Company price gouging. At the same time the automotive advertising media seems to be pushing the higher gas consumption Suv’s and cars. Granted, along with trucks, etc., these are the prime fossil fuel guzzlers, but they are by no means the only culprit for our increasing fuel dependency, be it fossil or renewable.
With all due respect to mr. Edison, inventor of our non-directly fueled commercial lighting system, which was design for practicality and therefore efficiency at the time had not been entered into the picture. The goal was only to provide a method of supplying the world with inexpensive, widely available commercial lighting. From this gigantic effort, we know, the incandescent light bulb was born. This achievement was, at the time, a monumental gift to the world…, but the future would reveal some flaws.
This virtually unchanged technology is still the top lighting source used today. For decades, the incandescent light bulb had little or no competition. Over this time, It has maintained the lowest cost per light unit of output(brightness) than any other lighting technology. All of this time its shortcummings were not challenged, or at least not so heavily, until a much newer technology, the LED(Light Emitting Diode) made its phenominal technological advances in recent years…by surpassing it in light output for the power consumed. All that remains for the LED is the cost per lumen of light output to drop to a competitive level. Given the present LED disparity with the incandescent, the total advantages of LED technology far outweighs this because of its longevity of operation, which is over 10 years in constant use(under most conditions), it is virtually unbreakable and because LEDs give off so little heat due to their much greater efficiency and thus lower operating cost, it far outweighs its present day greater price structure.
Consumer Demand For The LED Is The Key
As the demand levels for this new breed of basic “tear drop” solid state light source increases, the price will come down some more and it will eventually reach that price competitive barrier. Of course, production quantities alone will not be the only influence determining the final selling price of the LED lamp to the “home lighting” market, for example, but its total monetary value to this particular market.
We would certainly hope that the LED would eventually replace most our present day lighting
sources, saving the nation…to begin with untold billions of dollars per year, but even
if this were possible today, just a little over 20 % of our energy consumption is used for lighting, so this alone would not solve our total energy problems, but it is certainly a beginning. It will take a national and multi-national effort to even begin to level off
the world energy needs through the use of Renewables. It could certainly and quickly reach
a point that an all out global effort will be needed to ebb the ongoing crisis and if not curbed quickly at that point, I believe it may reach a point of…irreversability.