An LED street light is a lamp typically composed of many small light-emitting diode bulbs that sits on top of a pole. In general, an LED street light can be used in the same ways traditional street lights are, such as to provide light on roadways, sidewalks and parking areas. LED street lights are increasing in popularity in many areas due to the advantages they offer over traditional, often gas-based, street lights.
Light-emitting diode bulbs typically contain small semiconductors inside a hard, clear plastic outer shell. When electricity sent through the semiconductor, electrons in the metals that make up the semiconductor react in a way that causes them to give off energy in the form of photons, which are seen by the human eye as visible light. This technology is typically considered highly efficient, creating light almost instantly and giving off very little waste energy. This is in contrast to many traditional gas-based street lights, which generally need to warm up before producing light and give off a lot of heat as a waste byproduct.
Due to the fact that LED semiconductors, and therefore LED bulbs, are usually small, many of them typically need to be housed together in a larger fixture to create an LED street light. There are numerous styles of LED street light fixtures available, ranging from industrial-looking lights often found on highways and commercial parking lots, to more decorative, antiqued designs that may line pedestrian pathways and sidewalks. To be installed in the end location, the LED lamp fixture is typically attached to a pole of the desired height, which is secured in a hole the ground or by a cement or metal base fitting.
In general, experts note there are numerous advantages to using an LED street light versus a traditional street light. One of the key benefits often touted for LED lights in general is the lower energy consumption. For example, some LED lights use one-sixth the amount of energy as similar metal halide lights, a technology that is often used in traditional street light bulbs. Owing to the fact that LEDs have much lower electricity demands, LED street lights can often be used in places that other street lights cannot, such as in remote areas that rely on solar power.
Other advantages often touted for LED lights include longer life, lower costs for maintenance and lack of potentially harmful lead and mercury. Overall, many experts consider them a more environmentally friendly lighting option. These advantages, along with energy savings, are typically thought to outweigh the most commonly cited disadvantage of LED street lights, which is a higher initial cost.