The science behind 3M LED technology
Science and technology are drivers in developing highly-efficient products. The science behind the 3M LED advanced light was cultivated from 3M’s multilayer optical film, adhesives and heat management technologies. These technologies, paired with a strong focus on design, helped to inspire a powerful package. The result was a bulb that not only has a beautifully stylish design, but provides energy efficiency without the compromise.
Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, produce light in a fundamentally different way than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. In an LED, electrical current runs through a small semiconductor chip, resulting in light.
LED technology has been around since the 1950s. Until recently, however, LED’s limited output was too dim to light up a room. Advances in technology now make it possible for an LED bulb to shine as brightly as a traditional light bulb.
3M light guide technology
An LED emits light in one particular direction, creating a spotlight effect. That doesn’t work for lighting up a room. Light Guide Technology from 3M allows LEDs to shine in multiple directions, delivering all-around light. The 3M LED advanced light with 3M Light Guide Technology shines brightly in all directions, just like a traditional light bulb.
LED lighting is recognized as one of the most energy-efficient lighting technologies available today. A traditional incandescent light bulb burns 80 to 90 percent of its energy as heat instead of light. Conversely, an LED uses most of the electricity it receives to produce light. The 3M LED advanced light typically uses almost 80 percent less electricity than an equivalent incandescent bulb, making it about five times more energy efficient.
A 2012 report by the US Department of Energy estimates that switching to LED lighting over the next two decades could save the country $250 billion in energy costs, reduce electricity consumption for lighting by nearly one half and avoid 1,800 million metric tons of carbon emissions.
The need to save energy and reduce emissions led the U.S. Congress to pass the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The law mandates a switch to more efficient lighting in the years to come, requiring roughly 25 percent more efficient light bulbs by 2014. By 2020, light bulbs must be 200 percent more efficient. The 3M LED advanced light meets those goals right now.
LED versus CFL
Many consumers have replaced their incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. CFLs, however, have a number of drawbacks. For example, they contain a small amount of mercury. Because of the danger of exposure to mercury, CFLs cannot be placed in landfills and must be discarded according to special procedures. 3M LED bulbs do not contain mercury and can be disposed of according to local regulations.
CFLs are also considered impractical for residential use by many consumers. Most are not dimmable and take several seconds to start up after switching on. And some people find CFL light to be harsh and uncomfortable. 3M LED bulbs, however, turn on instantly, are compatible with several dimmers and cast pure, beautiful light.
CFLs do last longer than standard incandescent bulbs, but not as long as an LED. A typical CFL bulb can last for 8,000 hours. A 3M LED advanced light typically lasts for 27,500 hours. If used for three hours per day, it won’t need replacing for 25 years.