As well as simply looking better, LED lights consume much less energy compared to incandescent and fluorescent lighting, they have a significantly longer lifespan, and – as they contain zero mercury – are easier and safer to dispose of once spent.

For these and other reasons, the invention of LEDs is commemorated each year on October 7 with National LED Light Day.

A brief history of LEDs

LEDs were first developed in the early 1960s and became commercially available in 1968. However, only able display deep red colours and lacking efficiency, they were unsuitable for general lighting and their usage was limited to digital displays and vehicle indicators.

A breakthrough in the technology occurred in 1994 when Japanese researchers Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, Shuji Nakamura developed the first high-brightness blue LED. With the existence of blue high-efficiency LEDs, the first white LED soon followed and humanity had a new means of creating light.

In 2014, the three innovative researchers were each awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics.

National LED Light Day

Such has been the success of LED lighting, in 2016 global LED light supplier, Bridgelux, established National LED light Day.

As well as to celebrate the benefits of LEDs, the day is a chance to recognise the achievements of the three researchers who invented the technology. The date of October 7 was chosen because it was on this date in 2014, the three were awarded their Nobel Prizes.

Why LEDs are so popular

The popularity of LEDs stems from humanity’s need for and fascination with light. As our vision provides such powerful sensations, light and colour capture our attention and can inspire the full range of human emotions.

With LEDs providing economic and environmental benefits as well, our love affair with them is not difficult to understand.

LEDs can inspire emotion

The consistency and cleanliness of LED light is a key reason it is used in all kinds of environments. In business, they are often used because their ability to trigger emotion is well known.

For example, if you were to walk down a street in search of food and came across two, adjacent and similar sized eateries, how each one uses light could affect your decision as to which one you would choose to enter.

If one eatery is illuminated by clean, bright LEDs and the other by yellowish incandescent bulbs of varying strength, perhaps some even flickering, the likelihood is that you would choose the eatery equipped with LEDs.

The colour consistency of the LEDs would inspire feelings of security, comfort, and cleanliness, influencing your decision and likely without you even realising.

LEDs are economical

Though often more expensive to buy upfront compared with incandescent and fluorescent alternatives, LEDs don’t take long to provide a healthy return on investment.

They require less power to illuminate, are more reliable, and their significantly longer lifespan means they need to be changed with much less frequency.

LEDs are good for the environment

And they’re good in various ways. Firstly, by lasting longer, they need to be changed less often, meaning compared with incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, fewer end up contributing to overall waste.

Then there’s the mercury factor. Incandescent bulbs contain traces of mercury which when dumped in landfills leaks into the earth harming wildlife and ecosystems. Where it is consumed by animals we eat, it can also prove harmful to humans. LED lights, on the other hand, contain zero mercury and are thus safer to dispose of.

The efficiency of LEDs is also of benefit to the environment. As they use electricity more efficiently, less needs to be generated, meaning a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

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