The Climate Group, a global non-profit group that advocates a lower-carbon emission world economy, has adopted a worldwide initiative to replace incandescent and fluorescent lighting with LED lighting systems. The Group has calculated that a complete LED rollout, by replacing all existing lighting technology with LED systems will remove 735 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions from the environment, which would reduce overall carbon emissions by 2.3%.
Modern LED lighting systems are more energy-efficient than existing lighting. According to at least one estimate, replacing all existing lighting with LED systems would reduce energy consumption by more than 50%. This reduced energy consumption translates into lower carbon dioxide emissions from coal- and oil-burning power plants that feed electricity into worldwide power grids.
Roadblocks to LED Adoption
Notwithstanding the theoretical positive effects of wide adoption of LED lighting systems, several roadblocks are increasing the difficulty of achieving this goal. Consumers continue to perceive the upfront investment in LED lighting as significantly higher than incandescent or fluorescent technology. This was true for the early generations of LED as the raw materials and components that were used to manufacture those early LED systems were more expensive and the manufacturing processes more involved, leading to higher product prices and Complete LED Rollout. Consumers focused on those prices without considering the offsetting potential reductions in their electrical utility bills. The cost on LED lighting investment has come down significantly in recent years, however.
LED manufacturers and industry groups have used our experiences with the first generations of LED lighting to educate consumers and to focus innovation efforts on the longer-term cost offsets that LED lighting can provide. For example, if every household in the United States substituted one LED light for an existing incandescent light bulb, the aggregate annual household energy cost savings would exceed $700 million. Moreover, as manufacturers have improved their manufacturing techniques and raw materials are becoming more available, the prices of LED lighting products are coming down.
Consumers also voiced concerns over the quality of light that early LED systems provided. White LED lights are perceived to be harsh and not as warm as incandescent lights. Again, LED technology is improving and expanding to give consumers more color options and lighting systems that are more inviting and color-controlled. Manufacturers are also improving control systems that allow for better dimming of LED lighting and better spot control over individual lighting fixtures.
The Climate Group and organizations that have similar goals are generally realistic about the roadblocks and challenges that their initiatives will face. We’re optimistic that the value promise of specification grade commercial LED lighting will continue to inspire the widespread adoption of high quality LED lighting in industries and applications around the globe.