LED Lighting: Massive Opportunity, Getting Better.

phillips LED lampLED lights are the shining light of the energy efficiency world. Having come quite a long way in the past several years, LEDs are now available in a number of pretty slick residential LED fixtures, and continue to be adopted on the municipal level as cities switch over to LED street lights.

A recent report from the Climate Group, “Lighting the Clean Revolution: The Rise of LEDs and What it Means for Cities (PDF),” documents some key points around the opportunity that LED lights present, both from an economic and a climate-mitigation standpoint.

Here are a few takeaways from the report:

Lighting Around the World: An Overview.

  • Lighting is responsible for 19% of global electricity use and 6% of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • In the U.S. alone, reducing the energy consumption of lighting by 40% would save $53 billion annually and reduce energy demand equivalent to 198 mid-sized power plants
  • Greenhouse gas emissions attributed to lighting represent the equivalent of 70% of all the world’s passenger vehicles' GHG's.

What’s the Deal with LEDs?

  • They're typically 50-70% more efficient than traditional light sources.
  • They're getting more efficient as we speak. The DOE estimates that by 2020, commercial LEDs could be as energy efficient as 258 lumens per watt, which could lead to energy savings of as much as 90%.
  • As energy efficiency improves, prices are on the way down, as well. 
  • High quality LEDs can last from 50,000-100,000 hours, making them even more economically viable for businesses, municipalities, and homeowners.
  • Unlike CFLs, they don't contain mercury, and they're dimmable.

Here's a table showing improvements in energy efficiency, and decrease in price, over the past several years:

LED efficacy and price over time

This chart shows how quickly LEDs have been increasing in energy efficiency:

LED efficiency improvement over time

Moving Forward:

The Climate Group report concludes that municipal adoption of outdoor LED lighting will be a significant market driver, leading to increased efficiency, decreased cost, and more widespread adoption in other applications. 90% of those surveyed support a full rollout of LED city lights, which indicates that cities will continue to adopt LED lights for municipal applications throughout the world. 

While it's encouraging to see governments and businesses adopting LEDs for energy savings, financial savings and greenhouse gas reduction, remember that you, too, can be a part of the "LED Revolution." Residential LEDs are available today that will pay themselves over the long term, save you money, energy, and trips to the store, and provide a multitude of other benefits (including reduced cooling costs).

Source of images 2 and 3: The Climate Group


Commercial business, private and public, are seeing tremendous returns on replacement LED's. Some are seeing ROI in just two to three years which pretty spectacular. Most homeowners are jumping on board with the LED trend but really won't see that type of return for several years.

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