The Path to Drawdown: LEDs
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were first invented in 1994 as a high-brightness, high-efficiency alternative to incandescent bulbs. LEDs work like solar panels in reverse, converting electrons to photons instead of the other way around. For the equivalent amount of light, LEDs consume 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and half as much as compact fluorescents. While other lighting technologies convert energy into heat (and most of it wasted), LEDs convert 80% of their energy use into light.
There are many environmental advantages to LED lighting. Its efficiency in turning energy into light, rather than heat, helps reduce electricity consumption and air-conditioning loads. For people without access to ample energy, LEDs can be powered with small solar cells, replacing expensive kerosene lamps and their noxious fumes and emissions. Where LEDs are used in streetlights, they can save up to 70% of energy and significantly reduce maintenance costs.
As Project Drawdown projects, if LED lighting becomes widely used in the residential and commercial lighting market, it can help avoid between 10.2 - 10.8 gigatons of CO2 emissions in residences, and between 5.9 - 6.7 gigatons in commercial buildings. To achieve this, the global market share of LEDs needs to grow rapidly:
- <::marker> In 2018, LEDs comprised 3% of the total commercial lighting market and 2% of the residential lighting market
- <::marker> By 2050, LEDs should account for 95% and 90% of the residential and commercial markets, respectively
- <::marker> That’s 12.82% CAGR for residential LED, and 11.21% CAGR for commercial LED lighting between 2018 - 2050.