The Path to Drawdown: LEDs
First invented in 1994, Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were designed as high-brightness, high-efficiency light bulbs. LEDs 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 turn 80% of their energy use into light. They work like solar panels in reverse, by converting electrons to photons instead of the other way around.
There are many environmental benefits of LED lighting. For people without ready access to ample energy, LEDs can be powered with small solar panels and can replace expensive kerosene lamps and their noxious fumes and emissions. Their efficiency in converting energy into light, not heat, helps reduce electricity consumption and air-conditioning load. Where LEDs are used in streetlights, they can save up to 70% of energy and significantly reduce maintenance costs.
Project Drawdown estimates that if LEDs become widely used in the residential and commercial lighting markets, they can 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 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% annual growth for residential LED, and 11.21% for commercial LED lighting between 2018 - 2050.