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LED bulbs reduced carbon dioxide emissions by more than half a billion tons in 2017

By Shawn Knight ยท 20 replies
Dec 28, 2017
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  1. Adoption of LEDs, short for light-emitting diodes, is having a tremendously positive impact on the environment. According to a recent report from IHS Markit, LEDs used to illuminate buildings and outdoor spaces reduced total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by an estimated 570 million tons in 2017.

    That equates to reducing the global carbon (CO2e) footprint by an estimated 1.5 percent, we’re told. To put it into further perspective, the analytics firm notes that the reduction is equivalent to shutting down 162 coal-fired power plants.

    On average, LED lighting uses 40 percent less power than fluorescent solutions and 80 percent less than incandescent bulbs while producing the same amount of light. As Jamie Fox, principal analyst of the lighting and LEDs group at IHS Markit, highlights, the efficiency of LEDs is essentially what makes them environmentally friendly.

    LEDs exhibit a number of other benefits over traditional bulbs. For example, they have a longer lifespan which means fewer bulbs need to be produced, reducing emissions and pollution associated with manufacturing, shipping, marketing and sales and even disposal. What’s more, unlike fluorescents, LEDs don’t contain the toxic chemical mercury.

    LED bulbs have been around for years but their high cost kept many consumers at bay. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case as LED bulbs are now more affordable than ever. A quick check over on Amazon reveals a 16-pack of Philips LED bulbs for less than $25, or around $1.56 per bulb. When I made the switch to LED bulbs a few years back, I paid nearly $9 per bulb. Ouch.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. CBTex

    CBTex TS Booster Posts: 41   +68

    Technology > politics
     
    Theinsanegamer, Reehahs and wiyosaya like this.
  3. avioza

    avioza TS Booster Posts: 151   +93

    Well, good news for a change =)

    I like the effect on my electric bill too.
     
  4. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 2,915   +1,429

    It is easy to assume prices will continue to drop, and the technology will get better. That is, devices with higher light output will appear on the market.

    As I see it, whatever side of the spectrum (pun intended) you are on, it is hard to argue that reduced use of natural resources is anything but good.

    One other thing is that I doubt that there is anything amiss in this report, I.e., there is little if any fiction that contributed to this report solely aimed at marketing LEDs unlike other similar reports from other industries. LEDs are out there, everywhere, and getting cheaper as time goes on.
     
  5. c7p89

    c7p89 TS Member

    That's great but I recently read that light pollution is worse than ever and the primary cause LED lighting.
    Fix one problem create another.
     
    ShagnWagn and JaredTheDragon like this.
  6. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,567   +4,409

    As short a life span they have, they are still too expensive.
    I have a feeling that is due to LED being so much brighter. It wouldn't be hard to dial down the lumens a bit for outside lighting, if only we would do it. Eventually we might need to have regulations forcing us to dim our lighting.
     
  7. They last much much longer than the alternatives (Flourescent, Incandescent/Halogen) no?

    A few years back ComEd was having a sale on LED bulbs (They do this from time to time) and they were, at the time, going for dirt cheap. I bought my cousin 12 or more BR30's to replace her 60 or more Watt bulbs in her living room. I asked them how long they keep them on every day and how many days a week and I did the math. The LED bulbs (which were free from to her anyways) would basically pay for themselves within no more than 1.5 years. It may have been shorter but somewhere around there. Pretty cool. I took all the old bulbs and put them in the basement for a rainy day. Funny part is they needed new dimmers to dim the LED's properly and those would have costed at least half as much as all the bulbs combined.

    Talented musician, movie star AND principal analyst at the LED's group at IHS Markit? Wow.
     
  8. user108

    user108 TS Rookie Posts: 19

    The cold white LEDs have poor Color Reproduction Index (CRI) and also heavily affect our circadian rhythm, because of the large amount of blue light they emit, just like the Sun at noon (~4000-5780 K). A least most of the new phones have a feature to reduce blue light emission during the evening/night, and there are software products such as 'f.lux' which do the same. I am happy to pay a bit more by using halogen bulbs at home for reading etc as it is easy on my eyes.

    LEDs are OK for outdoor use, but I would recommend using warm white bulbs (~2700K).

    All in all LEDs are easier on the budget but are eyes and sleep may suffer because of them...
     
  9. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 417   +274

    More of the Carbon Cycle Scare. These people can't even diagram CO2 as a molecule, much less explain why it falls out so much faster than Oxygen or Nitrogen. CO2 isn't a "greenhouse gas" any more than oxygen is, and has absolutely nothing to do with the climate.
     
  10. Reachable

    Reachable TS Maniac Posts: 270   +125

    LED bulbs are a boon to the environment, but more so in Bangkok than in Boston. Incandescent bulbs are inefficient as far as producing light, but they are quite efficient overall, with the rest of the energy they use going into producing heat. And in Boston, nine months out of the year, you need the heat. And if you don't get the heat from the bulbs then your building's heating system has to produce more to compensate, and your building's heating system probably uses fossil fuels. That statistic of reduced emissions probably doesn't take that into consideration, so is thus somewhat exaggerated, but still true in basic concept.

    Also, on a hot night in Bangkok in December, it must be a blessing that your lighting doesn't make things even hotter.
     
  11. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 417   +274

    That is the opposite of efficient. That is the same reason CPUs and GPUs are massively inneficient - you're conflating light with itself. Heat is light, Reachable. It's infrared light. Heat is the density of infrared photons in a given volume. They are both photons, heat and visible light. When you're making a light to, you know, make visible light, then any other spectrum emitted is a loss in efficiency. You haven an input, electricity, which is of course also photons (charge). You're converting that charge to a visible charge, with a light. Any loss in this conversion is inefficient. Think of photovoltaics. It's not a mystery why they can't break 30% efficiency - they're still pretending electrons are the fundamental force behind electricity.

    When you're making a CPU which of course use light to crunch numbers, any other emission is a loss in efficiency as well. Pretending an overheating CPU is a good thing because it warms your crappy apartment doesn't make it an efficient CPU.

    A side effect that you happen to enjoy has nothing to do with efficiency. Heating a home with the cast-off photons from an inefficient, archaic light isn't remotely efficient. You have a huge loss of photons in the lower spectrums as well, you know. An incandescent light doesn't just waste visible and infrared photons, but up and down the spectrum.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
  12. Reachable

    Reachable TS Maniac Posts: 270   +125

    Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the Massachusetts Electric Company heated it's headquarters (a glass and steel office building) entirely with incandescent light bulbs. You'd drive by there on a winter night and the place was as bright as if it were on fire.

    Architects, when they calculate the HVAC systems a building would need, take the heat produced by lighting into consideration.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
  13. Stick with Ikea and not only do you get high quality bulbs but you also get excellent color consistency that mimics a incandescent bulb in terms of color.
     
  14. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 417   +274

    We really don't calculate wasted heat from incandescents unless it's an obscene amount of lights involved, or large lights such as sodiums or metal halides.

    The point is that there's nothing efficient about that at all. Electricity comes in and is either converted to visible light or it's wasted. Infrared, micro, radio, ultraviolets, and regular single-spinning Bphotons are all wasted light. They're all the same fundamental quanta, just with more or fewer stacked spins. The average photon is an infrared photon, with four spins.

    LEDs are much more efficient, but nowhere near 100%. They emit a lot more radio and Bphoton spectrums than incandescents, for example.
     
    Puiu likes this.
  15. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 1,267   +1,366

    We have been replacing fluorescent tube bulbs with LEDs at work this year. The quality of light is amazing from the LEDs, and the electricity savings are incredible. They will be paying themselves off within a year or tow at this rate.

    I moved to all LED lighting 3 years ago. Expensive, but totally worth it. Not having a single blub go out for 3 years is just icing on the cake.
    With only purchase price and lifespan taken into account, LEDs are cheaper then either incandescent or CFL bulbs. Put electricity into the equation, and the gulf gets bigger. You can get LEDs for $1.56 per bulb, and they will easily last 5+ years. The cheapest I ever saw an incandescent was $.50 per bulb on sale, but those will only last 6-9 months with the same usage. Amazon is showing between $1 and $1.15 per bulb, and I can guarantee that LEDS last a lot longer then 50% more then old fashioned bulbs.

    So no idea what you are complaining about, other then to complain. LEDs are the cheapest lighting source we have ever had. Do you want them to be free or something?
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
  16. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,567   +4,409

    Half the bulbs we have bought has gone out. And we haven't had them 5 years yet. There lifespan is no longer than "incandescent or CFL bulbs". The energy savings from electricity is still spent in purchase price.
     
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,843   +3,249

    The problem with LED bulbs, (particularly those made by "Cree"), is that they were rushed out with major design flaws, and over priced in a get rich quick scheme. I bought several original design Cree E26 base bulbs (ordinary light bulbs), and the coil whine from the step down transformer, (ceramic thingy at the base of the bulb), was so severe, I had to re-buy bulbs of another brand. Right now, I'm using Philips, with "warm glow" effect, which dials down the color temperature when the bulbs are dimmed. In short, when in use, they're starting to look, and act, like good old fashioned incandescent bulbs. As it stands now, the manufacturers are listening to consumers as to not only the quantity of light LEDs put out, buy the quality as well. I can walk into Home Depot or Lowe's any given day, and buy LED bulbs with color temperatures as low as 2200 K. All first, and a lot of second generation LED home lights were bluish annoying crap, not really fit to put out comfortable light for family living.

    A couple of years ago, I bought a couple of Cree PAR 38 "soft white bulbs", for my recessed fixtures. They looked like sh!t when dimmed, "cloudy moonlight", and one failed in less than 2 months. So much for "energy savings", at 20 bucks a pop!.:mad: Pure garbage.

    The ironic part of the story is, due to the fact I always dim my 90 watt incandescent floods, I have PAR 38s in my ceiling fixtures which are approaching 20 years old themselves! Those floods, (which have now been price jacked to 10 bucks a pop), cost me 25 cents each, as I bumped into a closeout / fire sale at Lowe's, on the very day when they were changing suppliers.

    Another point is this, manufacturers are purposely reducing the lifetime and jacking up the price of incandescents to force you into buying LEDs.

    Very true. As it stands now, we're starting to badly screw up the life cycles of many plants on the planet. For example, cattleya orchids require short days to set buds. It takes little to no light overnight, to throw them out of whack to the point where they won't flower at all. OK, so we're not all going to starve if we don't have orchid corsages, but cash food crops may be begin to be affected as well. No artificial light effectively duplicates the spectrum of our sun, or the quantity of light it puts out.

    As a bizarre and controversial example, marijuana is a full sun crop, Grow lights must be placed very close to the plants for them to to produce THC. This take a lot of electricity and produces a lot of heat. It's also the reason people have been burning down their houses, and have had the electric companies call the narc squad on them, when trying to grow pot indoors...:eek::D (Your electric bill suddenly quintuples, and BIg Brother is informed you're a stoner). :D
     
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  18. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,567   +4,409

    Yeah I've noticed that as well. Some places are even banning them from being sold, so you are forced into paying more.
     
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,843   +3,249

    Standard E26 base incandescent bulbs have been banned in Canada for about 4 years. This is the kind of news story that only gets a quick, if any mention, on the network news.

    Here, copy and paste this term: Are 100 watt incandescent bulbs illegal to sell? into your favorite search engine, and be prepared to be amazed.
     
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  20. Joe Blow

    Joe Blow TS Addict Posts: 216   +74

    Who cares? There's no need to reduce carbon dioxide. What a waste of time.
     
  21. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,843   +3,249

    I think we should have an all out nuclear war. Of course, the atmospheric radiation levels would skyrocket, but with a huge chunk of the population gone, we wouldn't be making anywhere near the CO2 emissions we are now.

    "But what about the genetic effects from the radiation", you ask?

    No problem, say I. Even if it went so far as to produce two headed children, one child would be able to entertain itself with stimulating conversation. Arguably, a two headed child would be "self baby sitting", while its parents could devote all of their time to following Kim Kardashian, and running their yaps on their "smart phones". Where's the downside? I say there isn't any...:cool:(y)
     

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