Why is LED bad?
Why is LED bad?
LED is bad for many reasons that they probably don't want you to know about. But to really understand why,
let's look at a list of requirements that a good streetlight should fulfill:

1. Aesthetics
2. Reliability
3. Optics
4. Economics
5. Energy consumption

Let's start with aesthetics:
Many LED streetlights resemble things that aren't streetlights, such as tennis rackets, flyswatters, waffle irons, and more!
Only a few of them looks like a proper streetlight, and even those look a little weird.

How about reliability?
Many LED streetlights tout high reliability, but they're not telling you the whole story.
With most the traditional (non-LED) fixtures, you can simply change out a bulb and it's ready for the next few years.
But with LED, many of them aren't as simple as this. A dead fixture usually means the whole thing being replaced,
as it's not economical to chage out a more complicated component. This ultimately means more waste.

Now let's check out the optics:
LED streetlights commonly suffer from a lack of good optics. Compared to HID fixtures,
this means more light is getting wasted because even though the LEDs may have a higher optical efficiency, light is getting spread where it shouldn't.
There are only a couple models of LED streetlights that have good optical systems, and even these sometimes can't beat a standard streetlight.
Also, bad optics means that glare can be higher, and for drivers, this is an important problem!

And what about economics?
Currently, the upfront cost of LED streetlights is usually more expensive than their HID counterparts.
And while you think that LED streetlights will save money in the long run, this probably isn't true:
When LED fixtures are purchased, the upfront cost of them may make the savings not worth it.
If a LED fixture costs 200 dollars and saves 10 cents a day, it will take over 5 years to pay it off. (200/.10 = 2000, 2000/365 = 5.4 years)

Let's finish with energy consumption:
While LED lighting may save energy, this sometimes means lower light levels.
The efficacy/efficiency of traditional streetlights is often said to be lower than it actually is.
If we have a 250 watt HPS bulb with 28000 lumens, and the optics has an efficiency of 75%, we still have 21000 lumens of pleasant light.
Then if the total fixture wattage is 300 watts (because of the ballast) we have a 70 lumens per watt efficiency. This might look like it has a bad efficiency,
but it makes up for this as you're getting excellent light control, this means the light is going where it should.

In short, here are some reasons why LED streetlights are such a big problem:

1. Most of the old streetlights work perfectly fine! Try to imagine throwing out your refrigerator just because something is marketed to be "new" and "more efficient", but the new one can't be repaired and doesn't last as long.

2. LED has higher glare and often lower light levels compared to the older lighting. Do you want dimmer streets that hurt your eyes? Because that's what a lot of LED streetlights offer.

3. The high blue content causes impaired sleep and potential eye damage. It's a lot like constantly staring at a smartphone, which isn't a very healthy thing to do.

4. LED lights often look uglier compared to what they are replacing. Some of them look like something you might find on an alien planet!
Because of this, the aesthetics of them sometimes ruins the looks of an area.

5. With the regular streetlights, you can change out the lamp. But with the LEDs, it's usually trickier to change out its components.

6. They cause light pollution that can't be easily filtered out, leaving astronomers unhappy.
The other lighting technologies have spectrums that are easier to work with.

7. White LED is more harmful to sea turtles than HPS (High Pressure Sodium) or LPS (Low Pressure Sodium),
and this is because it has a lot of blue light.

8. Many of them are made cheaply, making it harder to find a good-quality fixture.

9. LED streetlights often have bad optics, and only light up a small area, not the whole road. This also creates substantially higher amounts of light trespass. The traditional streetlights almost always have better optics, allowing for better control of the light.

10. The spectrum of white LED isn't very good, creating low-quality light. This is due to the blue chips creating a large spike of blue light.

11. White LEDs are fundamentally the same as almost all smartphone screens, and they say to not stare at phone screens for too long.
LED streetlights are an order of magnitude brighter, this means that you have a higher risk of getting your vision damaged from looking at them than most other streetlight types. All of this adds up to LED lights creating poorly-lit streets with stark light, and this isn't just for roadways, it also applies to your yardlights.

Homepage Why LED is bad Help Us Out More Info Yard Lights LED Economics Articles About