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LED illumination: The future is near!

About a quarter of the average household electrical consumption is due to illumination, which makes critical its energy efficiency. This is increased by compact fluorescent lamps, compared with the incandescent (in luminous flux per consumption), by 3 to 5 times (lumens/watt), with an average life span 7 to 10 times higher (without frequent on and off). However fluorescent lamps contain Mercury, an element toxic to the environment and to our health, which requires a complex chain of collection and recycling. How to solve this dilemma?

The solution for the next years is found in LED technology, an acronym for Light Emitting Diode, a device from the Physics of Semiconductors which, like the laser, allows a growing number ofapplications in daily life, and now is shown - together with the natural illumination through the clerestory – in Casa E.

A LED can allow energy efficiency (lumens/watt) 7 to 10 times higher than the incandescent lamp (2 times higher than the fluorescent), with an average time span 40 times higher (even with frequent on and off; 6 times higher than the fluorescent) and without the Mercury toxicity. Its emission in a narrow angle (about 20o) is appropriate to localized illumination (spotlight), but has limited its application in uniform illumination of residential spaces.
This limitation can be overcome by a multi-directed LED array, as in the pictures below, with 108 elements and showing its light distribution – which indicates, through growing scale production and power, with decreasing costs, the transition of household illumination to LED technology with higher energy efficiency (less heat generation), economic viability and environmental sustainability.