Conventional mercury-based light sources such as arc lamps and metal-halide lamps require a warm-up period before use and a cool-down period after switch-off before they can be used again. As a solid-state device, LEDs switch on/off instantly and need only draw power when illumination is required.
Many laboratories leave the mercury-based light source switched on all day to ensure its availability when required. The result is that power consumption is significantly lower when an LED-based light source is used. In addition to saving energy, the Carbon footprint of LEDs is trivial compared to mercury-based lamps.
Evaluating the cost of operating mercury and metal halide lamps is not just about the greater amount of energy consumed and the cost of replacement bulbs but also about recognising the associated costs when a bulb needs replaced; down-time between replacements, alignment of new bulbs and the disposal of spent bulbs. In addition, if the laboratory uses a third-party supplier to carry out these maintenance tasks, there is the labour charge which will have to be covered.
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