Outdoor LED Lighting Upgrades Could Save Billions

February 17, 2015



There is no denying that LED's are the lighting technology of the future, and in many cases, the lighting technology of today. Day after day LED lighting upgrade projects make news headlines, whether it be the first fully LED lit Super Bowl or a mega-company like Ford installing LED lighting in its manufacturing facilities.  Even the residential market has embraced the use of LED lighting as the efficient bulbs are available to consumers in nearly every hardware or home goods store.  Just about everyone has jumped on the LED bandwagon and for great reason.  Simply put, LED bulbs use approximately 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and can last up to 25 years, not to mention their enhanced quality of brightness, clarity, and light disbursement.


For these reasons and more, LED lighting is a great option for street and parking garage lights. Outdoor lights typically run for around twelve hours a day, so energy usage adds up quickly.  Additionally, we rely on those lights for safety, either for providing better visual acuity on the roads for nighttime driving, or as a crime deterrent in parking garages or on our city streets.  It is vital that these lights are clear, bright, and stay lit for the safety of citizens.


With the longer lifespan expected from LED lighting, less maintenance is needed to fix burnt out bulbs.  Additionally, with the brighter light offerings in conjunction with better directional output, fewer overall lights are needed to provide equal amounts of light as traditional bulbs.  Less maintenance, fewer bulbs, and a massive reduction in energy consumption all add up to extreme savings.


LED and old streetlight in Houston


Image demonstrates whiter, brighter LED light (front) compared to less efficient traditional light (back) - courtesy of Green Biz



Given that there are around 10 billion outdoor lights in the United States, the savings potential, (both fiscally and environmentally,) is huge.  A major opportunity in this country is the transitioning all outdoor lighting to LED.  According to Noah Horowitz for GreenBiz.com, "...outdoor parking and roadway lighting consumes around $10 billion worth of electricity each year — the same amount of power consumed by 6 million homes. That power often comes from dirty coal-burning power plants that emit carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping pollutant responsible for climate change."


While some cities and private companies have begun to realize the benefits from upgrading to LED outdoor lights, not near enough have made the change.  Currently, fewer than 5 percent of all outdoor lighting fixtures in the U.S. are LED.  Needless to say, there is great opportunity for improvement.  It has been estimated that a total change over to LED outdoor lighting would save our country's taxpayers over $6 billion each year, while eliminated 40 million metric tons of carbon emissions.


For more information on the energy saving potential LED's can offer your facility, stop by our "Lighting Controls" page on our website, or see a Case Study  in which a LED lighting upgrade saved our customer nearly $10,000 annually, with a return on investment of only 16 months.

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