The Path to Drawdown: LEDs
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were invented in 1994 as high-brightness, highly efficient light bulbs. LED works like solar panels in reverse, converting electrons to photons instead of the other way around. For the same amount of light, they use 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), LED turns 80% of their energy use into creating light.
There are many environmental advantages of LED. Its efficiency in converting energy into light, rather than heat, helps reduce electricity consumption and air-conditioning loads. For people without access to ample energy, LED can be powered with small solar cells and can replace expensive kerosene lamps and their noxious fumes and emissions. Where LED is used in streetlights, they can save up to 70% of energy and significantly reduce maintenance costs.
Project Drawdown projects that if LED lighting becomes ubiquitous 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. But to achieve this, the global market share of LEDs needs to scale rapidly:
- <::marker> In 2018, LED lights 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 and 2050.