Demonstrating the huge benefits of using LED lighting is a key part of this blog. Nothing highlights these benefits better than showing real life examples of where LED has gone on to make a real difference, both financially and environmentally.
A recent example of this can be found in The Baltimore Sun which describes how the largest city in Maryland is replacing 70,000 sodium vapour streetlights over the next three years with energy saving LEDs.
The newspaper has reported that the project will help Baltimore save $1.9 million on its annual electricity bill plus $275,000 per year in maintenance costs because they don’t have to be replaced as often as the old bulbs. From an environmental standpoint, the conversion will also help cut down on light pollution.
So far, the first phase of the project is about 80% complete, with 8,000 new LED lights in place. The next phase will involve swapping out lights owned by the local utility, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.
“I’m getting positive responses from citizens. The streets are brighter,” Ted Atwood, director of Baltimore’s Department of General Services, told the Sun. “You have the efficiency of the light and you have less light pollution because you can focus the light better and have less light spilling out.”
Some have criticised the way LEDs focus the lights, believing they will be less effective in illuminating some sidewalks which could present a public safety issue. According to City Councilman, Robert W. Curran, “They don’t seem to be as effective as the vapour lights”.
Despite these rather typical growing pains, however, many other Maryland municipalities and agencies are making the switch. That’s because estimates from the Clinton Climate Initiative says streetlights can account for as much as 60% of a municipality’s electric bill. They also last about twice as long.
A recent analysis by the Department of Energy found that LEDs have the smallest environmental footprint among lighting technologies.
For that reason, they are often at the centre of corporate and government energy efficiency projects, such as a major office retrofit completed in New York by Ernst & Young earlier this summer as well as a remodelling at the iconic Empire State Building. Additionally, retailers can make use of LED spotlights such as GU10 LEDs and MR16 LEDs to save money and be environmentally friendly.