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14 Common Myths about LED Street Lighting

14 Common Myths about LED Street Lighting

What is LED street light? What are the components of LED street lights? What should I pay attention to when buying LED street lights? What is the price range of LED street lights?

Below I will briefly answer these questions.

Some suppliers refer to LED street lights as LED road lighting fixtures.

Compared with traditional light source street lights, LED street lights can save 30% to 70% energy, and LED street lights can continue to work for decades without any maintenance.

At this stage, the return on investment of LED street lights is about five years or less. While the initial purchase cost may seem high, the annual savings in electricity bills will cover the cost of our LED street lights.

Roads in many countries around the world, including Africa, are beginning to be transformed into LED lighting, and this transition is expected to accelerate by 2020, with traditional lighting fixtures expected to be completely phased out in the next few years.

Now there are all kinds of LED street lights on the market, with different powers, ranging from 10W to 400W.

The LED street light consists of a housing, a heat sink, a PCB board with LEDs, a constant-current LED driver, an optical lens that provides asymmetric light distribution, and tempered glass as an optical cover.

LED lighting fixtures will work well for many years if the heat sink works well, another key part of the fixture is the LED driver. Although LEDs have a long lifespan, if the lifespan of the LED driver is short, the lifespan of the LED luminaire is also short, so the LED driver also needs to be durable.

For LED street lights, the color temperature range is optional between 2200K-6500K. According to customer preferences, warm white, natural white, and cool white can be achieved.

In LED street lights, there is generally an asymmetric PC optical lens covering the LED. This lens generally distributes light at a wide angle in the horizontal direction and distributes light at a narrow angle in the vertical direction. Therefore, the light will be evenly distributed on the road surface.

LED street lights can be used on urban roads, rural trails, highways, parking lots, airports, gas stations, and many other places.

Because LED street lights are used outdoors, they must have a minimum protection level of IP65. Street lighting must meet the international standard EN-60598-2-3 and have a certification from a third-party laboratory.

When we buy LED street lights, we should pay attention to the brand and life of the LED, the brand and warranty period of the LED driver, and the heat dissipation performance of the lamps. If we can pay attention to these problems, the quality of the LED street lights we usually buy will not be too bad.

The price of LED street lights will vary greatly depending on the configuration. It is not correct to compare the prices only by looking at the wattage. It is only meaningful to compare the prices when the configurations are close because the prices of high-end LEDs and low-end LEDs are different. The price of high-end LED drivers and low-end LED drivers is also very different. In addition, the shell is made very light and thin, and the shell is made heavy to meet the heat dissipation requirements, and the material cost will be very different.

But as mentioned earlier, although the purchase cost of LED street lights is high, because of energy saving, the cost of receiving goods can be saved in a short period of time through electricity bills.

It takes a long time for new technology to mature from immature to mature. Similarly, it has been more than ten years since the appearance of LED street lights to the present. During this process, there have been many misunderstandings and wrong descriptions of LED facts. It also happened. We've assembled a series of helpful resources on the topic to help clarify 14 common myths about LED street lights.

14 Common Myths about LED Street Lighting

Myth #1: LED street lights are more harmful to humans and animals than street lights with other light sources

LED street lights do little harm to humans and animals. Using LED street lights is safer than traditional light source street lights because LED street lights can minimize the blue light emitted. While there is no evidence that blue light LEDs are more dangerous than any other blue light source, there is evidence that blue light can cause headaches, nausea, and disrupted sleep. This is because blue light reduces melatonin levels in the body, which ultimately weakens the immune system and disrupts circadian rhythms. However, the problem with blue light is that all street lights have, not just LED street lights. 

Myth #2: All short-wavelength light is harmful to humans and animals

Shortwave light is ubiquitous in nature, it is present in sunlight and plays an important role in many physiological processes, such as affecting the circadian rhythm (the 24-hour "biological clock" that controls our sleep/wake cycle), so we should understand that not all shortwave light is harmful to humans. Most street lighting benefits from short-wave lighting. Short-wave is an important part of visible light. Short-wave has various advantages, from aesthetics to safety. However, if too much short-wave light is emitted at night, it will affect people's sleep or life.

Myth #3: LED lighting emits more short-wavelength light than other lighting technologies

In the early stage of LED technology, there is indeed a higher level of short-wave content, because the technology is not mature enough in the early stage of development. However, with the great progress of technology in the past ten years, today's LED lamps can control the emission as much as possible according to their own design needs. as little or as much short-wavelength light as possible without compromising efficiency or other performance. With the advent of optical lenses, LEDs can also better control where the light shines, emitting much less light while meeting the same lighting requirements as traditional street lights, further reducing any short-wavelength light.

In contrast to traditional street lights, the light source is a 360-degree light bulb design, which can only emit light to the road through the reflector, and it is difficult to control the irradiation range, so a large amount of short-wavelength light that pollutes the surrounding environment will be generated.

Myth #4: Street lighting should not emit any short-wavelength light

Short wavelengths are a key component of the visible spectrum, with benefits ranging from aesthetics to safety. For example, white light sources containing short wavelengths can display the color of objects more naturally, help identify people and objects, improve the contrast between objects and their backgrounds., and enhances peripheral vision to characterize street lighting in the usual low light levels, so most street lighting benefits from a certain amount of short-wavelength light.

Myth #5: Traditional street lighting makes community life better than LED lighting

In the past, high-pressure sodium lamps were used for most street lighting, and the HPS would emit an orange-yellow light. Street lighting is being replaced by street lighting technologies that emit "white" light - mainly LEDs, due to their higher efficiency and longer lifespan. In addition to lasting longer and being more efficient, there are significant energy and cost savings, while LED street lights offer other potential benefits. For example, unlike other types of street lighting, LED street lights can set the lighting level for a set period of time and can also control the direction of light emission.

LED street lights can play a key role in avoiding unintended consequences for humans and wildlife - as long as care is taken to ensure light is directed only where it is needed, with minimal glare, and emits a spectrum that supports visibility, safety, and health.

Myth #6: LED lights have a short service life

Lamps are used as light sources for lighting, and their brightness has a gradual decay and dimming process (fluorescent lamps, energy-saving lamps). This process can be called light decay. Although, like all primary light sources, the brightness of LED street lights will decay over time, and the time required for LED light decay to exceed 30% is generally regarded as the lifetime of LED lights. According to the LM80 light decay report of LED, The L70 time of LED street lights is more than 100,000 hours. If calculated by working 12 hours a day, the life of LED street lights can be as long as 22 years. However, considering the life of other components, such as the life of LED drivers, LED street light manufacturers estimate that the life of LED lights can reach ten years. years or so. The service life of ordinary street lamps is about three years. In contrast, switching to LED street lights can reduce lamp replacement costs. To sum up, what we should pay attention to when purchasing LED is its light decay speed, not its use time.

Myth #7: LED lights do not dissipate heat

LED street lights are very sensitive to static electricity, which is determined by the characteristics of the LED itself. When the maximum allowable forward DC voltage and maximum reverse voltage are exceeded, the LED light may break down or be damaged. If it is an LED street light, each light has an anti-static resistor. Additionally, there are four resistors for current limiting. Antistatic resistance can effectively inhibit the damage caused by static electricity to the LED. Current limiting resistors are primarily used to limit the current through the entire module. This design can effectively improve the anti-overload capability of the LED and enhance the stability of the product. At the same time, whether the four resistors are marked is a sign that can quickly identify whether the quality of the module is stable.

Many people think that the resistance of LED street lights is very large, so their heat dissipation capacity is relatively poor. Therefore, fires and other unexpected disasters may occur during use. Some people mistakenly believe that LED lights must be equipped with high-tech materials to dissipate heat. This leads to high costs. In fact, the heat output inside the LED can be well explained using a normal aluminum heatsink. After the test, the temperature can be lowered by 3-5 degrees Celsius. Therefore, street lights do not need to use unique heat dissipation materials.

Myth #8: The price is expensive 

Many people think that the price of LED street lights is very expensive, but with the development of technology, the cost of LED and the cost of LED drivers have dropped significantly, so the price of LED street lights has been declining. Moreover, the service life of LED street lights is much longer than that of ordinary lights. Combined with the long-term maintenance cost, the price of traditional street lights is more than ten times that of LED street lights. So we think that LED street lights are expensive, which is not correct.

Myth #9: LED lights are not suitable for cold use

The minimum operating temperature of LED street lights can reach -40 degrees, that is, not lower than minus 40 degrees, LED street lights can work normally, and when the operating temperature of LEDs is low, the life of LEDs will be longer, and the light decay will be smaller. So some people say LED doesn't work in cold weather, they say it will be affected by cold conditions and not suitable for outdoor use, which is a wrong point. In addition, LED street lights work more efficiently in cold conditions. While ordinary street lights may turn on the switch slowly in winter, LED street lights can be turned on immediately. At the same time, LED street lights are much safer than fluorescent lights. Because LED lamps do not contain toxic substances such as lead and mercury.

Myth #10: LED intensity is high, power consumption is high

It is a misconception that LEDs are so powerful that they consume more power because LEDs convert energy into light. The intensity of an LED does not affect its power, instead, the power consumed depends on its brightness.

LED street lights are electrically operated. Sometimes, it might be solar-powered. So, the electric power is huge. But the brighter the brightness, the higher the intensity. Also, the more concentrated it is, the greater the brightness.

So, less attention is on its strength and more on its brilliance. For instance, a red LED may 1200mcd light, 40ma current, and 0.48W. A white LED 1200mcd, 18ma current, and 0.24W power. This exhibits various degrees of power.

For LEDs, the focus should be on their brightness. 

Myth #11: The use of LEDs reduces lighting electricity usage because they are very energy efficient

Yes, LEDs are more energy-efficient, but ironically many cities will buy more lighting from the electricity bills saved by using less electricity, in most cases, especially in the US, when the price of producing and distributing the product falls, people tend to use more rather than less. In economics, it is called the Jevons paradox.

"Governments and environmentalists often assume that increasing efficiency reduces resource consumption and is an effective policy for sustainable development, ignoring the possibility of paradoxes," said Blake Alcott, the researcher who coined the term.

Retrofit revolutions are particularly vulnerable to Jevons’ paradox, as global demand for lighting continues to outstrip supply, and cities will have higher levels of lighting because retrofits with LED fixtures will cost less. 

Myth #12: LED lighting improves traffic safety

There is no academic evidence for this. Some believe that the brighter colors offered by white LEDs improve traffic safety to some extent, but it has not yet been proven how this will work. An unpublished study by lighting researcher and designer Nancy Clanton suggests that the color of light may be a factor in seeing moving objects at night. But no one seems to know how color affects actual traffic safety. Currently, we have no solid evidence that LED lighting improves traffic safety.

Myth #13: The energy saving of LEDs means lower carbon emissions, which is better for the environment

There's no arguing that a single LED produces more light with less electricity (and less money) than most other lighting technologies. If we keep the amount of light using the same, we save on carbon and cost. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen (see Jevons' paradox above). If this paradox is correct, the world will need more light as production prices fall, so the energy savings of LEDs are not reducing carbon emissions. 

Another concern is the carbon footprint of producing LED lighting fixtures, as well as potential environmental issues when lighting becomes obsolete. Just as we're concerned about CFL bulb disposal and mercury contamination, we're going to have to deal with LEDs and some nasty heavy metals.

Myth #14: The flickering problem of LED lights will affect people's health

LEDs are known for flickering so fast that we cannot perceive them, and such bulbs can be associated with headaches, eyestrain, fatigue, and other health problems. However, if your lights are flickering, you've bought low-quality LED lights. MKLIGHTS LED luminaires are established in lighting as the highest quality and most innovative luminaires on the market. Blinking indicates that your purchase is not wise. It is often said that you get what you pay for. When it comes to lighting, don't choose the next best. Flickering happens, but not good quality. This is just another misconception that LED lights are harmful.

14 Common Myths about LED Street Lighting

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