Is lighting the key to a sustainable future?

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Lighting is responsible for 19 percent of global electricity use, and doubling lighting efficiency globally would have the equivalent effect of eliminating half of EU electricity and heat production emissions, according to The Climate Group.

The use of LED (light-emitting diodes) lighting could lead to significant changes in the global economy, but the use of LED lighting for general purposes is not widespread. For the rapid deployment of this technology, consumers need to become more aware of the long-term savings associated with retrofits using advanced lighting technology.

For example, LED street lighting can generate energy savings as high as 85 percent, according to an independent trial conducted via LightSavers over two and a half years across 12 cities, including New York and London. LEDs used alone reach between 50 to 70 percent energy savings; used in conjunction with smart controls, the savings is 80 percent.

With greater consumer awareness, the environmental impact could be huge. Switching to the latest energy-efficient LED lighting solutions could significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions. If 15 percent of all lighting in 2016 is LED, as predicted by IMS Research, global energy consumption could be reduced by approximately 20 percent.

"To generate 800 GWe (gigawatts-electric) of energy in 2016, you would need to run more than 50 nuclear power stations at full capacity," said IMS Market Analyst Jonathon Eykyn. "At a time when the world is struggling to balance the use of more sustainable power sources with the need to provide access to low-cost power sources to support economic growth, LED lighting could be a large part of the solution."

– Barb