The Path to Drawdown: LEDs
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were invented as high-brightness, highly efficient light bulbs in 1994. LEDs work like solar panels in reverse, converting electrons to photons instead of the other way around. They use 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and half as much as compact fluorescents for the same amount of light. While other lighting technologies convert energy into heat (and wasting most of it), LEDs convert 80% of energy into creating light.
LEDs have many environmental advantages. Their efficiency in converting energy into light, rather than heat, helps reduce electricity consumption and air-conditioning needs. For people without access to ample energy, LEDs can be powered with small solar cells and can replace expensive kerosene lamps and their noxious fumes and emissions. When LEDs are used in streetlights, they can save up to 70% of energy and significantly reduce maintenance costs.
According to Project Drawdown’s models, if LEDs become ubiquitous in both the residential and commercial lighting market, they 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 get there, 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.