An affordable and easy way to increase efficiency and reduce carbon emissions is to install light emitting diode (LED) and compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) light bulbs as a replacement for your incandescent lighting. In fact, to steadily increase the efficiency of world energy use, this is the first step in the Earth Policy Institute’s climate stabilization plan.
The Earth’s climate stands to be irreversibly disrupted with our carbon based and inefficient energy economy. We need to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent or more by 2020 if we want to have any hope of averting
- Accelerated sea level rise
- Crop shrinking heat waves
- Waves of climate refugees
- More destructive storms
- And, of course, dangerous climate change
Raising Energy Efficiency
Systematically raising the world’s energy economy is the first step in avoiding these disasters. Simply changing your light bulbs is the one quickest way to cut carbon emissions, save money, and increase efficiency. Lighting uses up approximately nineteen percent of the world’s electricity demand. By comparison, the carbon emissions generated to produce lighting is about 70 percent of that cause by automobiles around the world.
Over 40 percent of the 3,400 terawatt hours of electricity consumed each year by light fixtures around the globe is used by schools, offices, hospitals, retail businesses, and other commercial buildings. Eighteen percent is used in industrial buildings; lights in parking lots, at traffic stops, and in other outdoor applications use eight percent, and almost a third of the electricity consumed is used in houses.
Using highly efficient CFLs in place of incandescent bulbs will reduce lighting electricity by over 75 percent. CFLs also last ten times longer than incandescent bulbs leading to a $40 energy savings over its lifetime. This is why many countries are phasing out incandescent lights in favor of CFLs. The United States, Cuba, the whole European Union, Japan, Australia, and many other companies have pledged to phase out incandescent lights since 2006. Many have already banned their sale or production.
The Rise of LEDs
The shift to LEDs is well under way even before CFLs could be completely transitioned in. LEDs last for twenty years or more and use even less energy than CFLs, making it the most state of the art lighting technology on the globe.
Several niche markets, such as traffic lights, are being taken over by LEDs. While the figure is less than twenty percent in Europe, more than 70 percent of traffic lights in the United States are LEDs. New York City’s annual bill for maintenance and power was cut by $6 million once they switched all of their traffic lights to LEDs. The potential savings are even greater for the far more numerous street lights. By 2020, it is believed that LEDs will take over more than 80 percent of the overall European and North American lighting markets as prices continue to drop.
In summary, we can drop lighting’s share of total global electricity use from all sectors to seven percent from nineteen percent and reduce the amount of electricity used for lighting by 65 percent by shifting to the most innovative linear fluorescents in commercial outlets, factories, and office buildings; LEDs for traffic lights; and CFLs in homes.
You could close 705 of the 2,800 coal fired plants across the globe by making these simple changes. The saving can be even greater if the likely shift to LEDs by 2020 continues. Between now and 2020, it is possible for us to offset all projected growth in energy use by combining this lighting revolution with other energy saving efforts in other major economic sectors.
If you would like to get on board with the sustainable energy light bulb movement, one of the best resources available is 1lightbulbs.com. They can help you come up with sustainable solutions specifically catered to your living area. They have the largest selection of affordable light products on the internet. Take action now.
This post was generously sponsored by 1lightbulbs.com.
LEDs are a personal favorite for me, though some types of LED bulbs are more competitively priced than others compared to the fluorescent bulbs they replace. So in some cases, it’s an easy price justification. In other cases, not so much. But there are reasons to choose LEDs beside just initial price and savings, and some people choose on these factors (no mercury being one of the reasons).