You’re going to be hearing a lot about LED lighting in the coming years. The technology promises to revolutionize the way we light our homes. Among many benefits, they are energy-efficient, dimmable, don’t contain mercury like compact fluorescents, and they have a very long service life—currently as long as 50,000 hours!
Currently LEDs are a lot more expensive than incandescent or fluorescent lighting. And because LEDs provide directional light, it takes some good engineering to cast light in all directions like we’re used to with common light bulbs. As a result, I don’t think most of the LED lighting available out there is ready for prime time outside of some specialty applications or where light quality is changing. I do expect that to change rapidly however.
And there are some products that are ready to go. I am particularly impressed with the CREE recessed lighting.
They’ve been used successfully in commercial applications (ask Linc Lighting and Electrical), and I’ve installed both the LR6 and LR4 in my own home. The quality of the light is amazing (CRI of 92 for you lighting geeks), and they’re available in the warm colors we expect in homes. They work best with a few select dimmers—but installed with the right dimmer, they perform better than even incandescent (they don’t seem to change color as the light dims). I really like them, I’ll be installing more in my home, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them for mainstream use.
As I’m writing this, I see that the NY Times has a story out right now about LEDs—it’s worth a read.