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How one billion smart LED lights will accelerate climate action

29 November 2017, 9:08 GMT 3 min read

Toby Morgan, LED Project Support Manager, The Climate Group, explains how Cardiff in Wales is scoring huge cost and energy savings by deploying smart LED lighting --- and how a new campaign by Philips Lighting could accelerate climate action globally.

In cities across the world LED lighting is being adopted faster, as cities are realizing the huge energy and monetary savings of deploying this energy efficient lighting on their streets.

Philips Lighting, a partner of The Climate Group’s LED Scale-Up program, has delivered one billion LED lights – and is well ahead of schedule in realizing its ambition of deploying a total of 2 billion LED lamps and luminaires by 2020.

The company’s campaign is part of The Clean Energy Ministerial’s ‘Global Lighting Challenge’ – which Philips Lighting and The Climate Group are part of. The Challenge aims to accelerate the uptake of LED lighting by deploying 10 billion highly efficient, high-quality and affordable LEDs around the world.

The numbers are even bigger when you consider the climate action impact.

With energy savings of 50-70% compared to traditional street lighting, the transition to energy efficient LED lighting is one of the most important short-term objectives to achieving global carbon reduction goals.

The savings are both immediate and significant. For 1 billion LEDs, the savings are equivalent to the electricity used by 300,000 homes, or 30 medium-sized power stations and the CO2 emissions of 12 million cars.

This is the reason that The Climate Group, in partnership with Philips Lighting, has made a global call to action that all public lighting around the world is to be LED by 2025.


As well as the great energy savings and reduced maintenance costs, the implementation of a smart, connected LED street lighting scheme can also lead to further opportunities with “Smart City” initiatives.

For example, Cardiff in Wales has become the latest municipality in the world to become a Smart City by installing 14,000 smart, connected LED street lights. It is estimated that the city will reduce its electricity for lighting by 60% and save the council £750,000 (US$995,000) per year.

Each lighting point in the city is connected wirelessly with a centralized management system, which enables the city council to monitor its assets remotely. This helps the city reduce its carbon footprint by significantly slashing electricity consumption and enabling smarter use of city resources.

The LED lighting scheme also aims to enhance the quality of life for residents in Cardiff, with the project ensuring that citizens were consulted about the scheme prior to any work being carried out.

Cardiff is an international city, with 300,000 residents and more than 20 million visitors each year, who will all benefit from the better, brighter, more efficient lighting.

For example, lighting levels can be adjusted remotely to enhance visibility at peak times outside schools or hospitals. The system can also be expanded in the future to enable it to be fitted with further sensors for data collection, to do things such as monitor traffic or pollution levels.

This smart city initiative will significantly contribute to Cardiff’s ambition of reducing its CO2 emissions by 34% by 2021.

The Climate Group is calling on all municipalities to follow Philips Lighting’s great ambition and Cardiff’s practical example of installing a modern, dynamic LED street lighting system which is fit for use in the 21st century.