Cree LED Revolution Blog
Cree and LED lighting are starting a revolution
February 9th, 2011
Ever try to unscrew a light bulb from a lamp right after you shut it off? It’s one of the easiest ways to burn your fingertips.
There’s a good reason why incandescent lights are used to keep your fries warm at restaurants and to bake brownies in an Easy Bake oven: Those suckers are hot!
Stick with me on this, and I’ll explain how/why my boss’ beautiful baby boy (say that five times fast) is able to safely hold our demonstration LED bulb, the TrueWhite Light, in his tender hands.
Most of the energy emitted from incandescent bulbs (about 90 percent) is emitted as heat instead of light. It takes a lot of current to heat that filament enough to make it glow and produce light. That’s what makes the incandescent bulb so inefficient and explains why you’ll burn your fingers if you try to touch one once it’s turned on, or even shortly after it’s turned off.
LED lighting is about 85 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs. Since LEDs consume significantly less energy, they don’t emit as much heat. That’s why you typically won’t burn yourself if you try to touch an LED light once it’s turned on.
Some LED boosters wrongly say LEDs don’t emit any heat. In fact, they do generate heat and it’s really important to dissipate that heat, or it can contribute to premature failure. That’s why you’ll notice metal fins wrapped around the base of most LED lights. Those fins make up the heat sink, which helps transfer the heat away from the LEDs and cool the lighting system.
The overall efficiency of LED lighting combined with proper thermal management makes it possible for our model baby to touch the TrueWhite light without burning his little hands. It also explains why this chocolate bunny barely melted under one of our other LED lights.
Those of us in the LED lighting biz have a game we love to play with our friends. We invite them to touch an illuminated LED light, such as our CR6 downlight. Then we watch as their hand reaches for the light with trepidation. Once they touch it and feel that it’s not blistering hot like an incandescent light, their face relaxes and we all have a good laugh. Yes, we really do this.
So as we prepared to showcase our TrueWhite Light, we wanted to make the efficiency of our LED bulb clear. We think baby Ben safely holding the next-generation of lighting in his precious hands does just that. And don’t worry, his mom is an LED lighting pro and she had him propped up in her lap the entire time.
And here’s a final thought for Baby Ben as he drifts off to his next nap: If his mom screwed this LED bulb into a lamp in his bedroom, she probably wouldn’t have to touch it again until he was off to college.