LEDs Light the Way in Combating Climate Change

LEDs Light the Way in Combating Climate Change

May 07, 2013 at 08:05am

Ask any individual or government official whether they support sustainability and combating climate change, and you will get hearty and universal assent. Ask how to do this, and the reply is much more muted. However, lighting is one area where both individuals and governments can – and are – taking steps to significantly reduce operating costs and lower environmental impacts.

That’s because, of all the technologies available to improve energy efficiency, lighting is the most cost effective. With LED lighting taking the lead, individuals and governments here in the Middle East are finding low-energy lighting solutions, notably in outdoor and roadway settings, are delivering significantly better lighting experiences, while simultaneously sharply reducing electricity consumption and maintenance costs.

However, there’s always one big concern about energy-efficient lighting: the upfront cost of the lights and associated hardware. But this is no longer the concern it once was. Two GE projects, in Morocco and Turkey, have shown the payback time on investment can be as short as an astonishing 2.5 years!

So, what are LEDs? Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are a type of solid-state lighting (i.e., they have no moving parts) that use up to 80% less energy than other light sources. Also, they can be used far more efficiently because they emit light in a specific direction, rather than conventional incandescent or compact florescent lights, which emit light in all directions. One result is that LEDs deliver light uniformly and only where needed. And because they last up to four times longer than other light sources, LED lights require less maintenance, which reduces another cost.

If that weren’t enough, LEDs require fewer materials in the manufacturing process, and when it comes to disposal, the hazardous-waste considerations of mercury-free LEDs are far fewer than with other light sources. They also generate high-quality white light for improved visibility and comfort for both drivers and pedestrians.

Two regional examples exemplify the benefits of LED and the ecomagination-certified GE LED light engines in particular. The Moulay el Hassan Bridge, one of the longest and most modern in Morocco, is located in the capital city Rabat. The solution included 72 Iberia LEDs to light the new bridge. Installed at a height of 11 meters to ensure visibility across the three traffic lanes in each direction. In addition, the Moulay el Hassan Bridge has a pedestrian and cyclist crossing and a platform for two tramcar lines. For these reasons, good lighting was essential to increase safety on the bridge. Not only does the solution deliver aesthetic and safety benefits, but it is designed to deliver up to 77% energy savings and lower maintenance costs.

The second example is the Ankara Tunnel, which connects the Gazi Street area with the highway in the Turkish capital, thereby helping to alleviate traffic congestion. As a substitute to the conventional lighting solution, GE installed 266 pieces of its 90W Tunnel LED system. This system creates superior light conditions for driving, in terms of photometric light distribution. Alongside the aesthetics and visual conditions, the installed solution is designed to reduce energy consumption by 44%, or 163,000 kWh (adding up to $21,200 in utility costs) per year.

The tunnel solution comes with six years of 24-hours usage, thus reducing maintenance cost by $53,200, which, alongside the operational cost savings, delivers a payback time of just 2.5 years.

For more on GE’s outdoor LED lighting solutions, click here.

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