Low energy light emitting diodes (LED) can greatly reduce energy consumption associated with both domestic and commercial lighting. They can be be used for:
- Street lights
- Residential lighting
- Commercial lighting
Light Emitting Diodes are among the most energy-efficient light sources available on the market. LED lamps are already today more than five times more efficient than incandescent lamps and future technical achievements offer additional potential for the coming years.
At present, artificial lighting accounts for around 19% of global electricity consumption – that corresponds to 2.4% of worldwide primary energy consumption. 70% of the energy used for artificial lighting is consumed by lamps for which there are more energy-efficient alternatives. Simply replacing conventional light sources with LEDs would theoretically halve global electricity consumption for lighting. The potential savings are therefore enormous.
An OSRAM study monitored the life cycle of an LED and an LED lamp. It´s outcome made it clear – LED lamps need less than 2% of their energy consumption for their manufacture – over 98% are used for their task: illuminating the world.
Energy use and embodied energy
Until late 2009, no one knew if the production of LED lamps required more energy than needed for standard incandescent bulbs. While it is indisputable that LEDs use a fraction of the electricity of a regular bulb to create the same amount of light, if more energy were used in the manufacturing and distribution process, then the lighting industry could be traveling down a technological dead end.
The study results show that over the entire life of the bulb – from manufacturing to disposal – the energy used for incandescent bulbs is almost five times that used for LED lamps.
The energy used during the manufacturing phase of all lamps is insignificant – less than 2 percent of the total. Given that both compact fluorescents and LEDs use about 20 percent of the electricity needed to create the same amount of light as a standard incandescent, both lighting technologies put incandescent to shame.
LED light advantages
LED lights offer the following advantages:
- they use less energy
- they emit no harmful UV
- they contain no harmful waste on disposal
- they save maintenance hours and cost
- they generate less heat and are safer
- they offer wide colour and angle options
When you use LED lamps as a direct replacement for the energy hungry quartz halogen downlights you can save as much as 80% of your light bill.
Concerns with excessive street lighting
The American Medical Association (AMA) has adopted an official policy statement about street lighting: cool it and dim it.
The statement, adopted unanimously at the AMA’s annual meeting in Chicago on June 14, comes in response to the rise of new LED street lighting sweeping the country. An AMA committee issued guidelines on how communities can choose LED streetlights to “minimize potential harmful human health and environmental effects.”
Municipalities are replacing existing streetlights with efficient and long-lasting LEDs to save money on energy and maintenance. Although the streetlights are delivering these benefits, the AMA’s stance reflects how important proper design of new technologies is and the close connection between light and human health.
In addition, excessive street lighting causes light pollution. The International Dark-Sky Association works to protect the night skies for present and future generations.
LED Bulbs Save Substantial Energy, a Study Finds, New York Times, November 29, 2009