In the mid ’90s they took a quantum leap to replacing our (approximately) 100 Watt incandescent lamps in our traffic control units at most of our intersection locations through the country. They replaced the lamps along with their colored filters (in some cases) with Red, Amber and Green LED lamp clusters.
The Initial Applications of LEDs
Our traffic lighting systems are now littered with retrofitted original incandescent lamp assemblies, now using the much more visible LED lamp cluster assemblies……and I must say saving our municipalities and towns an estimated 90 % on electrical consumption of the incandescent originals and as much as 97 % when a single Red turn arrow is replaced with an LED arrow cluster. This becomes a direct electrical savings on those municipalities and of course.. the people who have to pay the taxes to run them. What this really tells us is that before the LED replacement of the original incandescent lamps, we were paying 100 % of the electrical costs to run the traffic lighting system, but only receiving 10 % of the useful lighting value. The other 90 % was being released as heat. WOW !
Initially, some of the town policy makers were reluctant to adopt the simple, though very noticable change to the new technology, but once they were made aware of the savings from lower electric costs along with their much greater reliability and virtually zero maintenance costs…they were sold on the idea.
This phenomenum has not only transpired here in the U.S., but also throughout the world, with some of the bigger tranpirations in Japan…because of their greater need to conserve energy. It is hoped that this positive change continues, especially with the global trend toward energy conservation.
Many Other Uses Have Now Sprouted And Benefited
Mines, or that similar type of environment where power is difficult to provide is where rechargable battery power can be used because of the high efficiency of the LED lighting technology. Using LEDs in this type application also offers greater protection than other types of lighting such as incandescent since LEDs do not shatter, revealing a white hot filament, thus possibly causing ignition of volatile gases along with its consequences.
Today, many areas of the under-developed world are finding the ideal use of the unique qualities of the LED. Some areas of Africa as well as many remote villages of India are quickly replacing the long time use of the oil lamp with the LED lamp and are now also using the latest in recent Solar panel technology to recharge the battery(s) during the daytime, achieving an almost “perpetual” night lamp, or reading lamp. The cost of the simple electronics to accomplish this is very little and it replaces all the lamp oil, lamps and the ever-present fire danger and air polution from their use. Just to think of the labor savings involved from the need to procure, store and refill the lamps on a regular basis is enough to warrant a great sense of satisfaction from the implementation of this new lighting technology and its application of Renewable Energy.