LEDs Provide Dramatic Performance and Energy Savings for Lighting

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) look great. They have a long lifetime. They are environmentally benign. And if that weren’t enough, LEDs used for displays and illumination save serious amounts of energy compared to the incumbent technology they aim to replace.

LEDs consume so much less energy that governments around the world are phasing out the use of incandescent bulbs. The implication of this is huge for energy savings. A new report released by the Department of Energy analyzed market segments where LEDs are competing or are poised to compete with traditional light sources (e.g., incandescent and fluorescent) for general illumination applications, outdoor lighting, and consumer electronic displays. The report findings include the following powerful statistics:

  • Annual energy savings from solid state lighting (SSL) in 2010 from the markets analyzed was approximately 3.9 terawatt-hours, equivalent to the electricity needed to power more than a quarter-million average U.S. households. Forty-one percent of this savings was due to the use of LEDs for parking lot and garage lighting.
  • The upside potential is tremendous. Annual energy savings from SSL in the markets analyzed could approach 263 terawatt-hours if all markets switched to LEDs immediately. Energy savings of this size would be the same as taking more than 21 million households off the grid.
  • In the outdoor applications alone, LEDs saved a total of 2.2 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2010, and it was estimated that the annual savings would be 131 terawatt-hours or 10 million households if all lighting within this sector was replaced with LEDs.
  • Moreover, LEDs do not pose the environmental and health concern of mercury present in compact fluorescents. Additional benefits of LEDs include long operating life, durability, directionality, compact size, ease of control and dimmability, cold temperature resilience, and high-quality light.

There are many new outdoor street lighting installations taking place around the world to take advantage of what LEDs have to offer. The City of Los Angeles plans to replace 140,000 existing streetlight fixtures in the city with LED units over the next five years. 30,000 LED luminaires have been installed to date. China has four of the top five LED-based street light installations in the world and India is planning to follow this trend too.

Many in the LED industry, including Applied Materials are working diligently on solutions to help drive down the final cost of LEDs to promote broader adoption. This will help the industry expand and use electricity more efficiently in the U.S. and around the world. Reduced electricity consumption will also spare the environment of the carbon dioxide and other pollutants emitted from carbon-based generation sources creating a cleaner, brighter future for all.

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