LED Lights: The Good and the Bad

More and more companies (as well as homes) are converting lights to the LED bulb (LED stands for Light Emitting Diode) for their benefits. These light bulbs offer similar light with substantially less power, saving between 50-90% of lighting energy costs. LED’s are extremely durable and require very little maintenance once installed. Although expensive, they also last a very long time up to 12-25 years depending on use and therefore are considered more cost-effective over the full life cycle of an LED. LED’s have also been touted as superior to CFL’s because they last longer, are more efficient and don’t contain mercury. If a CFL breaks and the mercury is exposed it is considered a hazardous waste issue.

However, LED’s aren’t all good and have waste challenges. They do contain lead, arsenic and a few other substances known to be dangerous. They are not a health hazard in a home or office encased, but if they do break it is important to treat them like hazardous waste. Currently LED’s can be disposed of in regular landfills and are not considered hazardous waste legally. However, because of the toxic contents it is strongly recommended when disposing of LED’s to treat them similar to hazardous waste. (To learn more visit E-magazine article, Dark Side of LED Light bulbs)

For more information on LED lighting visit these websites

LED Lighting Facts: A program of the U.S. Department of Energy that provides information on LED products and performance rating.

LED’s Magazine: A magazine dedicated to LED lighting information.

LED Journal: Provides an online resource guide, a buyer’s guide, industry directory and other resources on LED lighting.

Energy Efficient Lighting: LED reference information provided by EarthEasy, a green product online retailer, which provides basic information for the consumer including an overview of benefits, terminology, and how to choose an LED.

Building Communities and Revitalizing Neighborhoods

Natural Home Magazine had a interesting article, Building Better Community,  in their April 2011 edition on how to revitalize neighborhood blocks and increase community.  The article discusses the Better Block project as a movement to help communities rebuild neighborhoods and make them safer, entice local business economy and build community. They describe how citizens and individuals are taking the initiatives to begin in their own communities.

The Living City Block is another great project happening in Denver and Washington DC to help transform city areas into a sustainable communities where individuals can work, live and socialize.

Recently AmericanTowns launched GreenTowns.com, a new online network that connects green efforts happening in U.S. communities. Through GreenTowns, towns and cities can share and support sustainability efforts in their neighborhoods.

Superbia Ways to Create Sustainable Neighborhoods, a book written back in 2003 is another great resource in how to revitalize communities and neighborhoods.