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Three Ways LED Lighting Could Save the World

At Martec, we’re passionate about LED lighting and the wonderful things it can do. LED technology is so adaptable that there are people all over the world using it to lessen our impact on the planet. Here we look at just three examples of organisations using LED Lights to save the world.

Public Lighting

Lighting accounts for a fifth of global electricity use, and in recent years there’s been a push to use LED to reduce the amount of energy consumed – especially in the public sector. Street and parking lighting accounts for 1-3% of a city’s electricity use and account for up to 40% of a local council’s energy bill. It’s therefore in people’s best interests – environmentally and economically – to reduce this output.

In a study coordinated by The Clean Revolution, the ability of LED lights to reduce cities’ lighting costs was thoroughly tested. Fifteen separate trials were set up of more than 7,500 LED lights across 12 cities, including Sydney and Adelaide. In Sydney, LED lighting was installed along George St; in Adelaide, along a pedestrian pathway in Bonython Park. It was found, inboth instances, the lights were trialled for a two-year period. When compared to the lights they replaced, the lights in Sydney saved more than 60% more energy and the Adelaide lights more than 80%.

Even with the admittedly high upfront costs, with savings of 60-80%, it doesn’t take long for the initial investment to be repaid and substantial savings made. State and local authorities around the world took The Clean Revolution study’s advice and invested in LED lighting. In the Californian city of Carpinteria, they replaced their 199 HPS 138-watt street lights with brighter 29-watt LED units, saving US$11,600 and cutting 33 tons of CO2 emissions.

How much could your local council save?

Little Suns

Across the world 1.2 million people live without electricity and access to safe, reliable lighting. One company seeking to change these numbers is Little Sun, a partnership between a designer and engineer.

The Little Suns organisation works on the motto that light is life, and believes their lamps:

  • Let people work and study during the darker hours
  • Improves the quality of leisure time, such as cooking and socialising
  • Reduce the incidence of burns and emissions from kerosene lamps
  • Are cheaper to run than a kerosene lamp

The Little Sun is a solar-powered LED lamp – just five hours in the sun provides enough energy for 10 hours of light.

Much of the innovation of Little Sun is not in the technology they’re using, but in the business model itself; the technology simply makes such a project possible. By asking those who can pay more, Little Sun can lower their prices and provide seed capital for undeveloped, off-grid places; and by providing this seed capital to local entrepreneurs, they’re helping develop commerce in poorer areas.

You can learn more about Little Sun’s work here.

Solar Roadways

The previous two examples look at currently implemented ideas for LED lighting. The next idea is still in the theoretical stage – but it’s certainly an interesting one!

Solar Roadways is the brain child of Julie and Scott Brusaw. It’s an ambitious plan to replace US roads with tough solar panels. Not only will these panels be harvesting the sun’s energy – they’ll also be fitted with LED light and provide a myriad of proposed benefits. These panels will be able to:

  • Light up the road markings, providing greater visibility for drivers
  • Change the road markings to suit traffic conditions
  • Sense and warn if there’s a hazard up ahead, such as wandering stock or a fallen tree

They could also be used on sports courts, with the boundaries altered at a flick of the button to whichever sport is to be played. See all the details in the video below:

Solar Roadways

Solar Roadways is still in the development stage, but it’s an interesting glimpse at the future of LED technology!

What’s next?

What will innovative people do with LEDs next? We’re not sure – but we’ll let you know when the next interesting idea emerges!