We're working to transform how we light our world. Lighting accounts for nearly 6% of global CO2 greenhouse gas emissions, or 1,900 million tons of CO2 per year—which is the equivalent of CO2 emissions from 70% of the world’s passenger vehicles. We can make a considerable dent in carbon emissions if we make lighting more energy efficient.
Light-emitting diode (LED) lamps, combined with smart controls, can cut CO2 emissions 50–70%. LED outdoor lighting also reduces costs, enhances public safety, minimizes light pollution and makes public spaces friendlier at night. In 2012 we called for all new street lighting to be LED (or as efficient) by 2015, and all street lighting the same by 2020.
The main barriers to acceptance are technology risk aversion, outdated lighting standards and capital investment. We are addressing these barriers head on with a three-part program. First we conducted a global trial of LED lamps in ten large world cities (see Case Study box below) to evaluate how newly commercial products actually perform. Results of this LightSavers project were published in our 2012 report Lighting the Clean Revolution and final city-specific reports are available here, along with a technical summary for lighting managers. Secondly, we have been working with some of these cities to scale up their pilots and further enlist our broader membership as early adopters. Finally, we are also working with state and city government partners to encourage wider LED and smart control adoption.
Our goal: to bring LED lamps and smart controls to scale globally.
The first phase of our LED program has been supported by The HSBC Climate Partnership, the British High Commission in India, and Philips Lighting. The LightSavers mark was licensed from the Toronto Atmospheric Fund which pioneered the LED piloting approach, and we are currently working in partnership with the Canadian Urban Institute which is continuing the LightSavers project in Canada.
Photo credits: Ryan Pyle.
Pilots of LED outdoor luminaires and smart controls are being conducting worldwide by a wide variety of users and manufacturers. Independent studies that follow a rigorous performance methodology are scarce, however. Our LED program is systematically evaluating the best pilot examples available globally and will post summaries and relevant links in this space soon. In the meantime, authoritative sources of case studies and evaluations include:
- Solid State Gateway Demonstrations (US DOE)
Detailed reports and briefs on completed projects that focus mostly on intensively studied street lighting and parking area pilots in the US.
- CALiPER (US DOE)
Detailed reports on laboratory evaluation of LED indoor and outdoor lighting products in nine rounds to date.
Pedestrian pathway LED retrofit in the northern parklands of Adelaide. Final report
The municipal government is testing two Chinese-made LED street light luminaires, one on a riverside pedestrian pathway and another on a local street. Results not published
Haldia in West Bengal, India, is receiving LED installations on a major highway in the heart of the city.
Hong Kong, China
Two municipal universities and the Hong Kong International Airport are testing and comparing Taiwanese, Chinese, and American-made LED pathway luminaries on their respective pilot sites. Final report
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation is testing over a 100 Indian made LED street light luminaries in several locales. Final report
London, United Kingdom
Transport for London is testing high powered LED roadway lights in demanding applications on their Red Routes.
The Thane Municipal Corporation will install a trial of LED streetlights in the Greater Mumbai Region with support from the national government's Bureau of Energy Efficiency.
The City of Sydney is testing LED lighting with smart controls on George Street, a road in the centre of Sydney's business district. Final report
Local government agencies are testing two Chinese-made LED street lights products in a new ecocity development and on a university campus. Results not published
Four City of Toronto agencies are testing parking lot, parking garage, and pedestrian pathway LED lighting products, some with smart controls. Final reports for two trials for Caledon and TCHC
We are working with Philips Lighting, the British High Commission and the Canadian Urban Institute on advancing LEDs in indoor and outdoor applications. A number of prominent lighting and luminaire companies participated in our ‘LightSavers’ global trial phase of LEDs. These companies supplied products for testing, sharing performance data, and collaborating with us to help ensure a robust and objective global trial. They include:
BetaLED, Wisconsin, United States (Ruud Lighting in Canada)
- Comprehensive range of outdoor LED luminaries, including streetlights up to 243 watts
- Products are in the New York FDR Drive, Toronto and Hong Kong trials
Carmanah Technologies, British Columbia, Canada
- Solar LED outdoor products, including street lights
- Products will be tested in the 1,000 Village Project, China
eLumen, Quebec, Canada
- LED street lights up to 100 watts
- Products are in the New York FDR Drive trial
Hiyu, Tianjin, China (in Chinese)
- Comprehensive range of indoor and outdoor LED luminaries
- Products are in the Guiyang trials
King Luminaire, Ohio, United States
- Specializes in post top LED luminaries of classic, vintage style
- Products are in the New York Central Park trials
Kingsun Optoelectronic Co., Guangdong, China
- Full range of LED street light luminaries up to 196 watts
- Products are in one of the Tianjin trials
LED Roadway, Nova Scotia, Canada
- Full range of LED street light luminaries up to 240 watts
- Products are in the New York FDR Drive trials
LSI Industries, Ohio, United States
- Street and parking area LED luminaries up to 135 watts
- Products are in the New York City FDR Drive trial
Neo Neon, Hong Kong, China
- Comprehensive range of indoor and outdoor LED luminaries; street and parking area LED luminaries up to 155 watts
- Products are in the Hong Kong trials
Osram (Sylvania and Siemens)
- LED light engine for retrofit in existing post top lamps
- Products are in the New York Central Park trial
Philips Lumec, Quebec, Canada
- Street and parking area LED luminaries up to 180 watts, as well as LED post top lamps
- Products are in the New York Central Park trial
Sentry, New York State, United States
- Specializes in post top LED luminaries of historic, antique design
- Products are in New York Central Park trials
Thermoking Technology International Corporation, Taipei, Taiwan
- Outdoor and tunnel LED luminaires, including street lights up to 320 watts
- Products are in the Hong Kong trial
LED outdoor luminaires have many advantages over conventional high pressure sodium (HPS), metal halide, and fluorescent lamps. LED chip efficiency has surpassed that of these lamps and keeps improving. LED luminaires direct more light on surfaces where it is most needed. Meanwhile, the marriage of smart controls and LEDs makes dimming easy, so energy isn't wasted at times when lighting is not really needed.
To find out why and more, check out the following:
- LED basics and fact sheets (US DOE)
A comprehensive archive of information on how LEDs work, their energy efficiency, luminous efficiency and color quality.
- LED City
An expanding community of municipalities partnering with Cree, a leading manufacturer of LED chips, to evaluate and deploy LED lighting.
- LEDs Magazine
An authoritative source of current news on the LED industry, products, and applications. Sign-up to receive weekly email bulletins free.
A standardized laboratory test that measures and certifies the most important performance characteristics of LED luminaries. Essential for procurement bids.
- Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) LED Program
North America's first electric utility LED streetlight incentive program. The site offers several tools, including a list of qualified products that meet rigorous criteria for incentives.