Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are a type of solid-state lighting — semiconductors that convert electricity into light. Although once known mainly for indicator and traffic lights, LEDs in white light, general illumination applications are one of today’s most energy-efficient and rapidly-developing technologies. ENERGY STAR-qualified LEDs use only 20%–25% of the energy and last 15 to 25 times longer than the traditional incandescent bulbs they replace. LEDs use 25%–30% of the energy and last 8 to 25 times longer than halogen incandescents.
LED bulbs are currently available in many products such as replacements for 40W, 60W, and 75W traditional incandescents, reflector bulbs often used in recessed fixtures, and small track lights, desk lamps, kitchen undercabinet lighting, and outdoor area lights. They come in a variety of colors, and some are dimmable or offer convenient features such as daylight and motion sensors. LEDs work well indoors and outdoors because of their durability and performance in cold environments. Look for LED products such as pathway lights, step lights, and porch lights for outdoor use. You can also find solar-powered outdoor lighting.
While LEDs are more expensive, they still save money because they last a long time and have very low energy use. As with other electronics, prices are expected to come down as more products enter the market.