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When will we be LED to Sustainable Lighting?

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There are plenty of worrisome trends when it comes to Achieving Sustainability but when it comes to lighting the trend is stunningly good--electricity use is falling precipitously [3]. As we explored previously [4], this trend has been driven entirely by improved technology and not changed household behavior. But what is really exciting is that further technological advances are widely expected to accelerate this positive trend. This new technology, LEDs are clearly the future. So should we wait for it to arrive, or should we take action today?

In this piece we will NOT examine whether LEDs are a good investment [5], or how they could drive the adoption of sophisticated lighting control [6], or their knockdown positive impacts such as dramatically less waste heat1)Anyone who as tried to unscrew a light bulb after it had been on for a bit has learned this painful lesson, our kids may not have to, LEDs will run practically cold. or decade long lifespan.2)Nor will we speculate about potential unintended consequences, such as disrupting insects [7]. Rather we will only look at the potential impact of LED on one area--electrical consumption--which is quite clearly the area that for lighting and Sustainability we should be most concerned.

I built the following infographic to explore the impact our household lighting currently has, the great future advanced LEDs offer and why we don't need to wait for them to arrive to have a huge impact. Download it as an image file [8], or view it online [9].

These numbers are based on the DOE's 2010 report [10] from which I constructed an average American home from which to base my analysis.3)Based on households having 51 bulbs, with an average output of 800 lumens, on for 1.8 hours/day and 12.7 kwh per gallon of oil [11]. I presumed that currently CFLs produce an average of 67 lumens per watt and LEDs 83 lumens per watt but current trends suggest that LEDs are now beginning to significantly diverge from CFLs [12]. LED bulbs currently on the market are highly variable in terms of their efficiency: for a standard bulb anywhere from 60 [13] lumens/watt to 95 [14]. Buyer beware.

So in conclusion, LEDs are the future but don't just wait around for them to arrive. The CFLs and LEDs of today can dramatically slash are energy use in your home. BONUS: Just do it once and you can forget about changing bulbs for years and perhaps decades!

Please feel free to post or share this infographic. Here are some embed codes:

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The Series: Achieving Sustainability in Lighting

Aaron Redman [18]

[19]

Aaron Redman is the founder of Achieving Sustainability and what passes for an administrator in these parts. Currently he is working on his Sustainability PhD at ASU while raising a baby daughter and taking advantage of nap time to foment discussions on this here blog.

Footnotes   [ + [20] ]

1. Anyone who as tried to unscrew a light bulb after it had been on for a bit has learned this painful lesson, our kids may not have to, LEDs will run practically cold.
2. Nor will we speculate about potential unintended consequences, such as disrupting insects [7].
3. Based on households having 51 bulbs, with an average output of 800 lumens, on for 1.8 hours/day and 12.7 kwh per gallon of oil [11].