Practical Lighting Design With LEDs by Ron Lenk and Carol Lenk
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Practical Lighting Design With LEDs by Ron Lenk and Carol Lenk


LEDs are bringing in a new era in lighting. Similar to the evolution of computing power that computers went through, from vacuum tubes to the silicon - based semiconductor brains of modern - day computers, lighting is now poised to ride an exponential growth wave in efficancy.

From oil lamps to the invention of the Edison light bulb 100 years ago to the fluorescent lights of 50 years ago to the LEDs of today, lighting technology is finally joining the modern world of solid - state technology. In the near term, LED - based lighting will increasingly become the efficient light source of choice, replacing both incandescent and fluorescents.

The hurdles that keep consumers from adopting present - day energy efficient lighting, such as shape, color quality, the presence of toxic mercury, and limited lifetime, are all better addressed by LEDs. In the long term, LED - based lighting will be better and cheaper than every other light source.

It will become the defacto light of choice. LED lighting will be cheap, efficient, and used in ways that haven ’ t been imagined yet. It will transform the $100 billion lighting industry, and with transformation comes opportunity.


Lighting is the last fi eld that still uses vacuum tubes. All electronics today use integrated circuits because of the enormous benefi ts in performance and cost. But an incandescent bulb is a type of vacuum tube, and so is a fl uorescent bulb. LEDs are solid - state devices, the same as the rest of electronics. The amount of light that an LED can convert from 1 W of power is already on par with the best fl uorescent tubes.

The future is even brighter as LEDs are anticipated to double that performance in the next decade, and then go on to reach the physical limits of electricity to light conversion. We look forward to seeing the last ceiling - mounted vacuum tube in the not - too - distant future.


The benefits of using LEDs for lighting are many. The most obvious is their effi ciency. Lighting accounts for 20% of total electricity use throughout the world today. Using LEDs could cut this down to 4% or less. As LEDs become the dominant light source over the next decade, the reduction of energy used and greenhouse gases emitted will benefi t everyone.

Consumers will save hundreds of dollars every year from reduced energy use. Building owners will save even more. Utilities will be better equipped to manage growth. And the earth will experience the accumulation of fewer greenhouse gases, as well as a reduction in the emission of toxic mercury found in fluorescent lighting.


As solid - state devices, LEDs have extremely long lifetimes. They have no fi laments to break. They can ’ t leak air into their vacuum because they don ’ t use a vacuum. In fact, they don ’ t really break at all; they just very gradually get dimmer. Imagine changing your light bulb only once or twice in your entire lifetime!


Just as microprocessors got cheaper and more powerful, LEDs will also benefi t from the cost - reduction techniques developed in the semiconductor industry. LED light prices will eventually decrease to be on par with incandescent bulbs.

Taken together with LEDs ’ reduced energy usage, this will enable the universal availability of lighting. Imagine every child in the poorest village having a light to read by. The design of LED - based lighting systems is an exciting field, but they are fairly technical devices. With this book, we hope to enable the reader to do great things with lighting, both for him - or herself and for the world.

Ron Lenk

Carol Lenk

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