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What are LEDs?

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) use semiconductors, rather than electrical filaments or gaseous substances, to emit light. LEDs produce light in a way that is different from other lighting technologies. They disperse light in a specific direction, instead of all directions. This characteristic makes them efficient and well suited for down-lighting applications.

Benefits of LEDs

Using LEDs instead of traditional lighting technology such as incandescent, fluorescent or high-intensity discharge (HID) has many benefits, including:

  • Longer life. LEDs have a longer lifespan than traditional lighting technologies (up to 100,000 hours)1, which helps reduce the costs of bulb replacement.
  • Significant energy savings. LED efficacy continues to improve, with some products delivering up to 170 lumens of light output per watt (LPW)1.
  • Reduced cooling costs. Because LEDs consume energy more efficiently to produce light, and produce less wasted heat, they help reduce cooling costs.
  • Directional lighting source. The light is highly directional, which makes LEDs very suitable to some lighting applications and reduces energy use.
  • Dimming capability. LEDs are fully dimmable and last longer when dimmed. This ability makes them highly compatible with lighting control solutions.
  • Instantaneous switch-on. LEDs do not require warm-up time, so they are ideal for uses that are subject to frequent on-off cycling.
  • Excellent cold weather operation. LEDs’ life and efficacy improve at lower operating temperatures.
  • Less UV radiation. LEDs reduce damage to organic materials and historic artifacts caused by ultra-violet radiation. They emit much less radiation than traditional incandescent or halogen light sources. The lower emission makes them a great choice for museums and homes.2

Learn more about LED technology and LED lighting considerations. Visit California Technology Lighting Center - 2015 Lighting Technology Overview.

Deciding where to use LEDs

LEDs are a great choice for many applications. Following are some of the most common uses.

Using LEDs for interior ambient lighting

LEDs are available in a wide variety of color temperatures ranging from low/warm, which closely mimics incandescent lighting, to high/cool, which is more like daylight. Other benefits make LEDs ideal for use in lighting control solutions, for example:

  • Instant-on and dimming capabilities
  • Longer lifespan
  • Being unaffected by on-off cycling

LEDs are suitable for various environments including offices, schools, retail stores and hospitals.

LEDs’ longer lifespan, higher efficacy and greater control make them well suited to applications with:

  • Long hours of use
  • Ceiling access challenges
  • Storage spaces that are infrequently occupied, such as warehouses or retail spaces

LEDs’ luminous intensity and uniform lighting helps increase workers’ safety in warehouses. It also delivers adequate lighting for product inventory at all shelf levels.

Get additional help on choosing linear LED solutions. Download Linear LED Buyer’s Guide (PDF, 1.68 MB).

Using LEDs for accent and directional lighting

The directional nature and low UV radiation of LED lighting makes it ideal for retail, hospitality and museum uses. Accent and directional lighting is also ideal for office reception areas. LEDs can highlight artwork or light up displays in retail shops. LEDs greatly reduce UV radiation damage to artwork, clothing and other organic materials.

Using LEDs for outdoor lighting

Outdoor lighting has numerous uses, including:

  • Building perimeter lighting
  • Parking lots
  • Pathways
  • Gas station canopies
  • Landscaping


High-quality LED light is perfect for use around:

  • Commercial offices
  • Retail stores
  • Hospitality spaces
  • Healthcare facilities
  • Schools and college campuses

Outdoor applications offer major energy-saving potential. LEDs can resolve the poor light quality and control issues from which most traditional outdoor lighting suffers. Uniform light distribution and directionality of LEDs allows strategic placement for safety, security and comfort. Combine outdoor lighting with advanced controls to optimize energy use.

Get additional LED information

Access the following LED lighting resources: