Seems lately every time I open the paper bad news glares at me. Defaults on mortgages. Banks going belly up. Strange food-borne illnesses. Higher food and fuel costs. More problems in the Middle East.

Thank goodness for the electrical industry and its non-stop pursuit of greater energy efficient technologies. As the New York Times reported yesterday, LED technology is joining CFLs in taking a bite out of our energy bills.  As the NYT article notes, LEDs — light emitting diodes — are no longer just for traffic lights, DVD players, and cell phones. Because they last for years, and because they use only 15 percent of the energy of incandescent lamps, LEDs are being tested for street and parking lot lighting, under-counter lighting, in commercial refrigerators, residential bulb replacements and office lighting, illuminating the outside of buildings, and a host of other uses.

True, they're relatively costly today. But so were incandescents and CFLs at one point in their early stages of development. As new technologies advance commercially, market forces inevitably drive their prices down.So, while LEDs can't protect me from high gasoline costs this month, they'll surely help bring our society's energy costs down in the coming years.


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