Upgrading to LED lighting gives companies a solid return on investment, but doing so also brings significant environmental benefits.
With their low energy consumption, LED lamps and fixtures help reduce the demand on power plants, which often run on fossil fuels. In addition, LED technology generates less waste than other types of lighting.
Environmental stewardship contributes to sustainability, but it also improves the brand image of companies. For many clients, this is a very important factor when deciding who they will conduct business with.
How LED Lighting Helps Reduce the Load on Power Plants
Generating energy has an environmental impact, and this applies for all generation technologies. Even renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydroelectric power have an environmental impact, because even though their operation is clean, it is necessary to disrupt the local ecosystem during construction. Hence, the cleanest energy is that which is never consumed, and LED lighting helps reduce the energy footprint of human activity.
Upgrading a single lighting fixture to LED does not have a noticeable effect on the power grid, but large-scale adoption of the technology can have a considerable impact. For example, assume you replace a 96-watt fluorescent fixture with a more efficient LED product that only draws 50 watts, saving 46 watts per fixture. Although 46 watts is very little power, the effect can be significant when LED lighting is deployed at a larger scale: if this upgrade is carried out for 50 buildings, with an average of 1000 fixtures each, the total power consumption is reduced by 2.3 million watts, or 2.3 megawatts. Even with a power grid running completely on renewable sources, saving 2.3 MW means not having a few wind turbines or several thousand photovoltaic panels. Of course, the benefit is ever greater if these 2.3 MW are subtracted from the load of a coal power plant.
LED Lighting Generates Less Waste
Older lighting products often use hazardous materials, and these are released into the environment once the lamps reach the end of their service life. For example, fluorescent lamps contain small amounts of mercury, a highly toxic element. In addition, even if a lamp is free from hazardous compounds, its disposal normally involves non-biodegradable waste.
LED lighting offers several advantages in this aspect:
- LED lamps have a very long service life, and less waste is generated for the simple reason that replacements are much less frequent. For example, an LED bulb rated for 25,000 hours replaces over 20 incandescent lamps during its service life.
- Many of the components in LED lamps can be recycled. In other words, waste is generated with less frequency, and a significant portion can be reused for new lamps and fixtures.
LED lighting is greener than older lighting technologies thanks to its low power consumption and reduced waste generation. In general, a city that makes ample use of LED technology will produce less emissions and waste than one using HID, fluorescent and incandescent lighting.