LED Lights Coming to a Home Near You

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) are now a near norm for environment minded consumers. Even with complaints about the brightness or color they’ve been installed in second bed-rooms, garages, any place people don’t sit and read by the hour. Their main shortcoming, however, has been the mercury that’s involved in their making. Use LED lights! cry the most CO2 conscious. Problem was LED lights for the home were hard to find, few in size and shape and expensive to buy. That seems to be changing if a report from LightFair International is to be believed.

LED bulbs and fixtures dominated nearly every booth on the show floor.

…the industry is rallying around LED lamps for many applications. They say LEDs last longer than current bulbs and compact fluorescent ones and their energy consumption could eventually be less than fluorescent lights’. They can also be made in many shapes and sizes, which was evident at the trade show. Unlike compact fluorescents bulbs, they contain no mercury and they work well in cold weather. They provide a more pleasing light than fluorescents.

Update: More about LEDs and new means to color correct them.

QD Vision adds an optic–a plastic cover with a special coating that snaps into place over the LEDs.

It’s that coating that makes the difference in the quality of the light. It consists of quantum dots–tiny bits of semiconductor material just a few nanometers in diameter. When excited by a light source–in this case, the LEDs–quantum dots radiate light in a wavelength that varies according to the size of the dot: a two-nanometer dot gives off blue light, a four-nanometer dot emits green, and a six-nanometer dot produces red. The company makes the dots in controlled sizes, then mixes them in the right ratio to get the desired color.

Mercury in CFLs: What to Do?

As is becoming more commonly known, the CFLs (compact flourescent lamps) that are fast replacing the old incandescent lights have a toxic problem: mercury. What to do? Breakage, disposal present a non trivial problem. How to change mercury into something else? Less toxic. Would selenium be the answer?

CFL Disposal

I’d like to know more about this before joining my hands in applause. Selenium, though occurring in nature, in high concentrations is toxic as hell — with many dead duck stories in contaminated waterways in California to prove it. So, walk us through the whole process: from selenium capture, to packaging, to storage, to disposal of the cloth – some without any mercury to act upon, to leaching into ground soil and water. Let’s look before we leap.