Nick Holonyack invented the first visible-light LED in 1962. It has been 57 years already, and we are still excited about its future.
There are few inventions that had so much impact as LEDs. LED is one of the breakthrough inventions of human history, and one of the eco-friendliest as well.
Charles Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” concept is relevant to living organisms and LEDs. CFLs replaced conventional lighting, and LEDs are replacing CFLs now.
In this blog post, we will talk about-
- Why LEDs are the best options for any lighting?
- How LEDs are doing their bit in solving the energy crises?
- Why are LEDs better than any conventional lightings we have used?
As time rolled by after the invention of LEDs, they found new applications.
There are many documented examples of successful transitions to LEDs. Most of them are blissful and encouraging.
The first example is from 2008. Sentry Corporation from Oconomowoc, set an example for the world. They replaced all their exterior and interior lighting with the LEDs. LEDs replaced all the fluorescents and incandescent lights in one go.
The replacement cost them 3 times the cost of incandescent and fluorescent combined. Every extra single penny spent on LEDs, they recovered in the form of savings. Another tangible benefit is that they won't need a replacement until 8 more years.
Following this example in 2009, Igate, an Indian company did the same. They invested(spent wouldn't be an appropriate word). $80,000 to replace their entire lighting arrangement with LEDs. The Chennai office they lit, is a giant 57,000 Sq. ft arrangement. 4-5 years ago, they recovered all their costs.
In 2010, Boston replaced its 64.000 street lights LED lights. In 1.5 years, they recovered all their investments and saved even more money later on.
As per the calculations made by IEA, public lighting consumes 19% of all the electrical energy. Most of the energy consumed is in urban areas. Public lighting costs 40% of annual municipal energy bills.
Most of the developed countries like the US, have already switched to LEDs. In the past few years, the shift has accelerated, and the growth is impeccable.
For public lighting sector, LEDs are great options because
- LEDs are 40% to 60% more energy-efficient than incandescent and fluorescent lights combined. As mentioned earlier, public lighting contributes 19% of the world's energy consumption. Besides, it also consumes 40% of annual electricity bills.
Using LEDs can cut energy consumption by 8% to 12% straight.
- LEDs last 4 times longer than the old fixtures. LEDs are costlier than old lighting technologies, bu their longevity makes up for it. Thanks to the great manufacturing process used, the maintenance cost is even lesser.
The lumen depreciation of LEDs is also lesser than old technologies. LEDs will give off the same brightness for years, but oldies will not. Their lumen output declines over the years.
- Extra Savings-
If you spend $100,000 for replacing old lights with LEDs, you will save $25,000 in savings. This is due to the very low-cost maintenance of LED luminaires. With more components used like smart controllers, you could save up to 30% more.
- More Subsidies- Governments of developing nations like India have subsidized LED purchases. This move has encouraged people to buy and companies to manufacture LEDs. These subsidies are helping to cut down the manufacturing costs. Every year, the cost of LED lights is going down by 10%. This technology is still at least twice as expensive, but the great ROI makes up for it.
We need more such actions by governments on the national as well as regional levels.
- Environmental Concerns-
The US is still living in the age of HID lighting. Around 144 million HIDs are still placed in 455,000 industrial facilities in the US. HIDs are highly inefficient.
These highly inefficient fixtures alone consume 58 terawatt. 58 terawatt is enough to light one-third of the entire American homes.58 terawatt of power consumed generates, more than 41 million metric tons of greenhouse gases. It also causes carbon emission of around 29 million tons. It also produces 73,000 tons of nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide which also causes acid rain and smog.
With some 144 million lights in place at 455,000 industrial facilities in the U.S. alone, HID sources still represent nearly 92 percent of all installed lighting. There is another lethal hazard that is often linked to the HIDs and HPS lamps. Each high-pressure sodium lamp produces 10 mg -50 mg of mercury.
This little amount of mercury emitted upon decomposition of such materials is lethal for the environment. This little amount is enough to kill a group of normal human beings.
What If The Whole Industry Switches To LED?
Be ready for the surprises here.
If the industry that uses conventional lighting chooses to switch to LED lightings from the old fixtures than we could accomplish wonders. The initial cost for the installation of LED lights would obviously be high, but the ROI on the investment would be 10 fold. Industries will save around $3.6 billion in electricity bills, and carbon emission will be reduced by 28 million metric tons.
Gross NO2 emissions will be reduced by 28 million metric tons. Mercury production will be reduced by 330 kgs.
These are just the speculations when we think of replacing old lightings on industry only. Results would be unprecedented if we replace LEDs in other places as well.
We need LEDs, and only one reason is enough to switch to LEDs.