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LED-only city

Raleigh Leaders Plan Test of LED Lighting:

Raleigh officials have teamed up with Cree, Inc. in Research Triangle Park to save money and help the environment. Raleigh public works employees will test and implement Cree’s Light Emitting Diode lighting components across the city.

In a pilot program late last year, LED lights were installed in a parking deck downtown. Progress Energy, the city’s primary energy provider, said that the floor equipped with LED lights used more than 40 percent less energy than the standard lighting system. Also, the quality of the lighting was greatly improved, according to Progress Energy’s research.

As part of the initiative, more Cree lighting components will be tested in other applications, such as street lights, architectural and accent lighting, and pedestrian and walkway lights, over the next 18 months. If significant energy savings are found, Raleigh will convert permanently to LED lighting.

While switching to LED in public spaces and governmental offices, as well as, hopefully, a bandwagon effect of this on businesses and private homes, will have a very positive effect on the lowering of energy consumtion an cost and the air pollution, I sure hope they use this opportunity to redesign the city lighting in such a way as to reduce Light Pollution as well.

I also hope that other cities will follow suit. How about a LED-only Triangle region? Or LED-only North Carolina? Set the example for the rest of the country.

[Hat-tip]

P.S. This does not mean banning incadesent lightbulbs. They have their uses. How can you keep a reptile in a terrarium without an incadescent light? Only by wasting even more energy and polluting more by installing a heater.

Comments

  1. #1 Ben M
    February 15, 2007

    How can you keep a reptile in a terrarium without an incadescent light? Only by wasting even more energy and polluting more by installing a heater.

    Minor niggle: Um? If you replace a 100-watt incandescent bulb with a 10-watt LED and a 90-watt heating pad, you’ll get exactly the same amount of heat and cause exactly the same energy usage/pollution.

    (Same situation on human scales: if you live in a cold climate and your house is electrically heated, all normal “energy-saving” ideas can be forgotten during the winter. Inefficient refrigerator? Heats up the kitchen and reduces load on the heating system. Incandescent bulbs? Leave the toaster on and the freezer door open? No problem. Of course, the argument is invalid during the non-heating season, and semi-invalid for gas or oil heating.)

    In my view, incandescents ought to stay on the market only for rarely-lit locations. If there’s a 100-watt incandescent in an obscure corner of the basement, and you only turn it on for 1 hour a month, there’s no point spending $3.50 on a bulb to reduce the 1-kwH consumption in that fixture to 0.1 kwH. Buy a $0.5 incandescent, save $3.00 and spend it on something with bigger savings.

    I’m totally looking forward to home LED lighting.

  2. #2 Mark
    February 15, 2007

    Ben M, I think you are close to right. If you live in a cold climate and you heat with a geothermal electric heat pump, you will get more than 1 kWh of heat per kWh of electrical energy used. If you use electric resistance heating, you are right, of course.

  3. #3 DuWayne
    February 15, 2007

    I would think that LED’s would reduce light pollution, as their lenses tend to make them highly directional. They produce very little extrenious light – especialy next to incandescents.

    Ben -

    If the use of incandescents is reduced to a reasonable level, they will become the three dollar bulb. Little demand means little production. I would love to see it happen, but as it does, the price will rise considerabley. A good example of this phenom is camera film. While it is possible to find plate film, it is really expensive. The only tin plate film I have found, was over thirty dollars a plate – the owner of the store, made it in the basement – he didn’t make any money selling them that cheap. He only sold them at all, so he could live up to his claim to sell you film for any camera you bring in.

    As for the use of appliances inefficiently for heat, the problem with that is you are ignoring the damage to the appliances themselves. It is far more environmentaly damaging to burn out the compressor on a refrigerator, than it is to run your furnace or most other heaters. To have the refridgerator repaired or replaced is a bad thing.

    The toaster issue is more a safety one. They are known to catch fire while turned off, but left plugged in (happened to me once). Point being, energey use is not the only reason to take care how we use appliances.

  4. #4 bigTom
    February 15, 2007

    Well no-one but astronomers cares (or even has a clue) about light pollution, it seems to be a lost cause:< At least with the old sodium vapor lights most of the light pollution was concerntrated into a few wave-lengths -so it was at least possible to buy an expensive filter. I suspect the LEDs are too broadband for that.
    While I may think outlawing incandescents is a bit much, we clearly need to make CFLs (and later -LEDs -which are still pretty pricy) the first thing a lightbulb shopper sees when he looks for his replacement.

  5. #5 coturnix
    February 15, 2007

    Oh no – the second link (“Pollution”) is to the article about effects of night lights on human health and animal behavior: migration, orientation, seasonality of breeding, etc.

  6. #6 Alon Levy
    February 16, 2007

    Now I’m trying to imagine the subway with LEDs rather than the existing mixture of incandescent and fluorescent lights…