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LED lamps and low surface temperature: Why you should care

One of the main reasons people are not running out in droves to purchase LED lighting for their retail, commercial, or residential property is simply because the technology, and the benefits it espouses, remains an enigma. One such little known, but crucial, benefit is low lamp surface temperature.

Most of us know, often through first-hand experience (unfortunately), that incandescent lamps are extremely hot to the touch. Halogen fixtures can be particularly nasty and can actually cause skin burns—even after the light is turned off! LEDs, by contrast, have a low surface temperature. So where an old-fashioned halogen or incandescent lamp may be as hot as 150 or 200 degrees Celsius, LEDs are always cool enough to touch.

The reason for this difference is that old-fashioned lamps produce light as a result of heating something, such as a filament. Light is a by-product. LEDs, on the other hand, convert a great deal more electricity to light. As a result, they produce much less heat.

So why does surface temperature matter in bulbs?

There’s a huge benefit to outfitting a room or building with low surface temperature bulb that’s often overlooked: the load on a building’s air conditioning. When less heat is generated, less cooling is required.

Cooling a building is much less efficient than heating, and therefore more expensive. The savings in cooling during summer massively outweigh the costs of heating in the winter—even in northern cities like Ottawa, ON, Canada. Residents of the southern US, where heating is rarely needed, can achieve immense savings year round: first on air conditioning, which is an extremely energy inefficient process, and second on the significantly reduced energy consumption of an LED compared to other lamp technologies.

Unfortunately, climate-control cost reductions are usually ignored in LED savings calculators because they are too difficult to calculate without detailed knowledge of the facility. That said, the cost-savings achieved by using low-surface temperature LED lamps as a way to control a facility’s climate is immediately recognizable.

A bright future

By removing the fire hazard related to old high-heat lighting technologies, LEDs are permitting effective, high-quality lighting in areas that have traditionally been poorly lit, such as closets and other confined spaces.

Have you reduced your air conditioning costs as a result of switching to LEDs? Did you know about this benefit of LED lamps and is this one benefit reason enough to replace other lighting technologies that have a high surface temperature, like incandescent and halogens?

Note: Leapfrog Lighting’s PAR30 operates at a temperature as low as 45 degrees—about the equivalent of a cool shower.

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