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Environmental Impact of LED Lights
LED Lighting Market Gains Momentum
Shifting to LED lighting is a small but fast-growing trend that is redefining the century-old
conception of lighting --- replacing energy-wasting disposable bulbs with
efficient fixtures that are often semi-permanent, like those used in
Studies suggest that a complete conversion to the lights could decrease carbon dioxide emissions from electric power use for lighting by up to 50 percent in just over 20 years.
And in the United States, lighting accounts for about 6 percent of all energy use.
A recent report by McKinsey & Company cited conversion to LED lighting as potentially the most cost effective of a number of simple approaches to tackling climate change using existing technology.
LED lighting was once relegated to
colored Christmas lights
But as a result of rapid developments in the technology, it is now poised to become common on streets and in buildings, as well as in homes and offices.
Some American cities, including many in California, as well as Ann Arbor, MI., and Raleigh, NC, are using LED street lights and industrial size fixtures to illuminate streets and parking garages. Dozens more cities and counties, as well as state governments are exploring the savings in maintenance as well as the energy-saving efficiencies. San Jose, Calif., plans to use $2 million in energy-efficiency grants to install 1,500 LED streetlights.
LEDs are more than twice as efficient as CFLs - compact fluorescent lights -- currently the standard for greener lighting. And the longer life reduces replacement maintenance time, which can be more of a savings than the bulbs or energy itself.
Unlike compact fluorescents, LEDs turn on quickly and are compatible with dimmer switches.
Fluorescent bulbs also contain mercury, which requires special disposal, and LED bulbs contain no toxic elements, are so small, and last so long that disposal is not much of an issue.
The switch to LEDs is proceeding far more rapidly than experts had predicted just two years ago.
President Obama's stimulus package, which offers money for "green" infrastructure investment, will accelerate that pace, experts say.
Edited by Carolyn Allen, Managing Editor of Solutions For Green