The first incandescent light bulb was invented by Thomas Edison over 100 years ago. These light bulbs haven’t changed much over the last century and produce light through an electricity-heated wire filament placed inside a glass bulb. This bulb is incredibly energy-inefficient. In fact, over 90% of the energy produced by an incandescent bulb is heat, not light. This energy inefficiency can drive up cooling costs and causes these light bulbs to only last an average of 750-1,000 hours. Incandescent light bulbs are inexpensive and produce a nice light color, but aren’t the best choice overall.
Halogen lights are a more efficient, more modern version of the incandescent light. The improvements include better light focus, a 2,250-3,500 hour bulb life, and the ability to last without fading, unlike incandescent bulbs. Unfortunately, halogen lights also produce 4 times more heat than incandescent bulbs and waste even more energy. A 500-watt halogen bulb can reach a temperature of 1,200 degrees, which creates such a serious fire hazard that some schools have banned them. Halogens are cheap and have several technological advantages over incandescent lights — enough to make them the standard choice for vehicle headlights — but consume a far greater amount of power than necessary.
LED lights are the most recent innovation in the lighting industry. Instead of using filaments, LED lights use small diodes that produce light when an electric currents runs through and excites the diodes’ electrons. LED light is naturally directional, which allows it to light an area farther and better than halogen lights. A 20,000-50,000 hour lifespan will cut down on replacement costs and issues. These lights cost more, but also offer a long-lasting, low power option that will save money in electricity costs in the long run.
Choosing Your Vehicle Lighting
When comparing energy consumption, total cost, and longevity, LED are clearly the way to go. Because these lights are the most recent lighting innovation, researchers are continuing to improve LED lights and market prices are continuing to drop. The U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that LED lighting could save around $265 billion in energy costs over the next 20 years and might even replace the construction of 40 new power plants! We believe LED lights are the best option, but you might disagree. Share your thoughts in the comments below or let us know over social media!