The latest must have accessory for eco living is Organic Light Emitting Diodes or OLEDs for short. These eco-lighting systems provide light as would a normal light bulb but using a tiny amount of power.
The OLEDs were unveiled at the Basel Art Fair where a British lighting artist had designed a while chandelier this way. There are lots of transparent globes suspended from the structure and these appear to glow from within and depending on the angle you view the globes from, they either glow from top to bottom or from the bottom up.
The globes are lit up by the latest in eco-lighting technology and each requires only 2 watts of electricity, meaning the entire chandelier only uses 30 watts, far less than even one light bulb in conventional lights. The OLEDs manage to produce far more lumens (a way of measuring brightness) per watt of electric supplied compared to a normal light bulb. The OLED technology can produce 45 lumens per watt compared to 10 lumens per watt for a tungsten bulb.
The OLED has been available for several years but this is the first time it has managed to be included in a useable domestic lighting situation.
In a normal tungsten light bulb, the electricity passes through a wire, heating it and causing a glow. In fluorescent lighting systems, the current passes through a gas. However in an OLED, the electricity passes through one or several very very thin layers of an organic material able to conduct electricity and laid between microscopically thin layers of glass. Through the way it is designed, it means that the light can be made to appear in layers, sheets and a multitude of strange shapes as the light is not being emitted from a single point. In the chandelier design mentioned above and displayed at the art fair, the OLEDs are placed in acrylic spheres so allowing the light to be magnified and be seen to be even brighter than would be achieved with flat OLEDs.
However, whilst a definite breakthrough for green lighting and very exciting to scientists and artists alike, the technology is still very expensive. The chandelier on display at the fair would set you back around £20,000.
Until very recently it was not possible to use the OLEDs in a simple plug in lamp but not designers and manufacturers are managing to make lamp stands to use OLED technology and have plug adaptors for domestic use. For example one such floor lamp on sale will cost you £1830.
It is still very new technology and with all new inventions the cost will slowly come down. LED bulbs were very expensive ten years back but now cost around a third of what they did two years ago.
Maybe in time it will mean the harsh ugly fluorescent bulbs can be phased out. The light bulb manufacturer Philips is working on OLED technology and said it hopes to have a reasonably priced OLED lamp available for domestic use within a couple of years.
The implications for saving the world’s energy resources are massive. Around 20% of all the world’s electricity goes towards lighting and this technology could reduce power demands by up to 90% and so could helper educe carbon emissions.