Municipalities will pay millions to say goodbye to filaments

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Due to the high energy usage of filament light bulbs in Germany's street lighting system, the EU has issued a directive to stop their use future use. Instead, light emitting diode bulbs (LED) would be used going forward.

Much of the current lighting system is more than 40 years old, but is of high quality. It will be more expensive to replace than to just maintain, so there is some amount of pushback from municipalities who need to put out the money.

Lighting accounts for up to 50 percent of the total energy costs for the average German municipality. But with filaments gone and high-pressure mercury lamps being phased out by April 2015), LEDs will become a more attractive and necessary option.

"The German LED market should continue to grow at a very high rate," said Oliver Seiler, director of mechanical and electronic technology at Germany Trade and Invest, the foreign trade and inward investment promotion agency of the Federal Republic of Germany. "It's a lot of investment, and the municipalities in Germany are responsible for themselves, so several business models are being bandied around to try and find the most cost-effective model. But the bottom line is that the market and the opportunities are there, and have to be taken soon."

Driving the market, in part, will be Germany's commitment to reducing harmful carbon dioxide emissions. Plus, municipalities could save up to EUR 2 billion on energy bills when they move from filaments and high-pressure mercury lamps to LEDs.

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