The Path to Drawdown: LEDs
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were invented in 1994, designed as high-brightness, high-efficiency light bulbs. LED lighting works like solar panels but in reverse, converting electrons to photons instead of the other way around. For the same amount of light, LEDs use 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and half as much as compact fluorescents. LEDs turn 80% of their energy use into light while other lighting technologies convert energy into heat (and most of it wasted).
There are many environmental upsides to LED lighting. Its efficiency in converting energy into light, rather than heat, helps reduce electricity consumption and air-conditioning usage. In regions where people don’t have access to ample energy, LEDs can be powered with small solar cells and can replace 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.
Project Drawdown projects that if LED lighting becomes widely adopted 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 fast:
- <::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.