Now the hottest things in the energy conservation world or at least in the lighting world are LED lights. They come in all shapes and sizes. In fact I have one that I use as a flashlight, but it was intended to be a safety head light for my bicycle. It has been amazingly helpful. This is a complex subject so it will take me a few weeks to get it all posted. But here is a start.
An LED is often small in area (less than 1 mm2) and integrated optical components may be used to shape its radiation pattern.
Appearing as practical electronic components in 1962, the earliest LEDs emitted low-intensity infrared light. Infrared LEDs are still frequently used as transmitting elements in remote-control circuits, such as those in remote controls for a wide variety of consumer electronics. The first visible-light LEDs were also of low intensity, and limited to red. Modern LEDs are available across the visible, ultraviolet, and infrared wavelengths, with very high brightness.
Early LEDs were often used as indicator lamps for electronic devices, replacing small incandescent bulbs. They were soon packaged into numeric readouts in the form of seven-segment displays, and were commonly seen in digital clocks.
Recent developments in LEDs permit them to be used in environmental and task lighting. LEDs have many advantages over incandescent light sources including lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved physical robustness, smaller size, and faster switching. Light-emitting diodes are now used in applications as diverse as aviation lighting, automotive headlamps, advertising, general lighting, traffic signals, and camera flashes. However, LEDs powerful enough for room lighting are still relatively expensive, and require more precise current and heat management than compact fluorescent lamp sources of comparable output.
LEDs have allowed new text, video displays, and sensors to be developed, while their high switching rates are also useful in advanced communications technology.
Go there and read in an OMG sort of way. More next week.
I know that going from commenting on falling oil prices (and they are still dropping) to talking about a range for cooking in your kitchen will produce screeching sounds from some readers. But I felt a need to get back to this blog’s roots in the residential housing market so I will just plunge ahead. In my real life I prefer natural gas stoves because I am good with them and not so good with electric. Still if you are like my brother Mike and trapped in an all electric house then this would be the way to go.
While America continues to burn gas, induction cooking is bringing the heat to much of the rest of the world. It cooks faster than other methods, is fantastically energy efficient, and is safer too, since there’s no direct heat. The wares on display at IFA 2013 hint at a creative future for this magnetic cooking technology—a future that hopefully includes the US.
Most induction cooktops are monolithic black slabs—a tried and true design that looks pretty good in most kitchens. But Chinese manufacturer Midea offers up a brighter take on induction design. The company showcased a handful of colorful cookers, from yellow to pink. They might not look so out of place in a retro-inspired kitchen.
The handful of induction cooktops available in the US tend to have fixed zones to fit different pots and pans. If the cookware slips out of the zone, then it won’t cook. But tons of European manufacturers, including big names like Bosch and Electrolux, showed off induction hobs with “flex” cooking areas.
Domestically, lower energy prices means more money for discretionary spending. The equivalent effect on the US economy is a tax cut for consumers on the order of $100-125bn. Think about how low gasoline prices are now compared to where they were a few months ago. This saving generally translates into higher consumption on other things like retail spending. For airlines, this will be awesome because the cost of fuel and flying decreases, the effects of which may be passed on to consumers. Net-net, analysts estimate higher consumer spending should boost US GDP by .4%-.5% over the next year. This will be balanced by lower domestic energy production, however.
Internationally, for countries like China, Japan, and South Korea, which are huge energy importers, each 1% drop in crude prices is the equivalent to billions of dollars saved on their trade balance. Japan, in particular, has been suffering from a trade deficit for the past few quarters. The predominant reason is due to the mounting cost of energy imports (which they were forced to increase due to their shutting down all of their nuclear reactors following Fukushima in 2011). Plummeting oil prices is net-net a huge positive for them. In other parts of the world, low oil prices are squeezing countries like Russia, Iran, and Venezuela in very negative ways. In the near-to-medium term, it may force them to adopt a more conciliatory stance toward the rest of the world on political issues and reforms (Ukraine/Crimea, nuclear initiatives, etc.) due to the poor state of the economy. In particular, Russia may be forced to acquiesce on Ukraine just to get Western Europe to lift its embargo.
Go there and read. There are many other linked articles. More next week.