The term luminous flux is used to measure the visible light output of lamps, where light is not directional. It refers to the visible light emitted in all directions at any given moment. If a light source emits the same luminous flux in all directions, then the luminous intensity is the same in all direction, however usually a light will vary depending on the angle it’s observed from. A unit of measurement called the “Candela” (candle power) can be taken from various angles around the light to get a sense of the spread of light. This value quoted on a light is the peak intensity, usually measured directly in front of the light.
A lumen is a measure of the rate of flow of the luminous energy from a light source. This is usually the total amount of lumens a light can emit in all directions.
Watts is a measure of the power consumed over time or the rate of energy conversion with respect to time.
Yes. The world health organization have said that this technology is already having a massive positive impact on developing countries where access to the grid is difficult. In 2014 the Nobel Prize was awarded to the inventors of the Blue LED. About 25% of all energy used in developed countries is used on lighting. There will be a huge environmental benefit as take up of LED technology increases.
The first practical LED was invented in the early 1960s by Nick Holonyak, Jr. while working for General Electric Company. However, it was Russian self-taught scientist and inventor Oleg Losev who was actually the first to understand and document the phenomenon the 1920’s. Losev rightfully assumed that the light emitted when an electric current passed through silicon carbide resulted from the inverse “photoelectric effect” discovered by Einstein in 1905. The photoelectric effect is the observation that many metals emit electrons when light shines on them. Scientists have built on these discoveries, but its only now; decades later when we are seeing the full benefit of this early work.
LED stand for Light Emitting Diode, they are sometimes called solid state light chips. They are semiconductors made using gallium nitride crystals. There are two parts to the crystal (separated by a transitional layer), one with a surplus of electrons and the other with a deficiency of electrons. When the correct current is applied, electrons move through a transitional layer to the deficient side releasing photons of light.
The quality of LED products on the market ranges greatly. LEDs are complex semiconductor circuits and require very specific current to be matched to the LED chip. Look for certified products backed-up by a warranty and made using quality components to ensure safety and ensure a good lifespan.
The “life” of an LED is generally accepted to be when the luminous output drops to 70% of its original intensity. There are two things that have the biggest impact on the life of an LED chip. The first is heat. Leading manufacturers spend much of their research and development working on the best way to dissipate and minimize heat. The second thing that can lower the lifespan of LEDs is the driver, the driver is an electronic device that provides a precise electrical current matched to the semiconductor. Feeding the wrong current to the semiconductor will damage the semiconductor and reduce its lifespan. Good quality LEDs will last for 30,000 hours or more.
The initial purchase price of LEDs may be more than halogen, florescent or incident, however LEDs use far less energy to produce the same amount of light. They also last much longer. When you take into account the cost of maintenance and ongoing energy consumption together, the payback time is usually a couple of years or can even be as little as 9 months.
Traditional lighting technology like the incandescent bulbs are very inefficient because they basically produce light as a byproduct of heat, therefore most of the energy used to create light is given off as wasted heat. LEDs emit light as a direct result of the electrons interacting with a semiconductor crystal so there is fall less wasted energy.

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