The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that if LEDs become standard technology in indoor white-light niche market applications, 108 TWh of electricity could be saved per year, which is equivalent to 1.1% of total annual primary energy consumption and 13% of electrical energy consumption for lighting in the U.S. in 2007 .
However, one of the subtle obstacles facing LEDs, despite their otherwise compelling benefits, is that driver circuits for these devices must include power conversion capability to transform alternating-current (AC) branch distribution voltages (typically 277 V AC) to low-voltage direct-current (DC) power. While this process is fairly simple, it adds cost and can reduce the otherwise extraordinary power conversion efficiency of the LEDs themselves. It is like putting a brick wall in front of each device or light engine. Given today’s typical building AC power distribution infrastructure, there is not much choice.
This article was published in the January/February 2009 issue of LEDs Magazine.
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