LED Lights Saved $675 Million in Energy Costs in 2012

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According to a recent report published by The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the increased use of LEDs saved approximately 71 trillion British thermal units (Btu) of energy use and $675 million in equivalent energy costs across the U.S. in 2012.

A comprehensive study compared energy usage of light-emitting diode (LED) products with traditional lighting sources — such as fluorescent, halogen, and incandescent — in nine common lighting applications.

The report — Adoption of Light-Emitting Diodes in Common Lighting Applications [PDF] — also concluded that if LEDs immediately replaced all traditional lighting sources in these nine applications, the annual source energy savings could be as high as 3,873 trillion Btu, saving the U.S. nearly $37 billion in annual energy costs. This would reduce the total national lighting energy consumption by 50 percent.

The nine common lighting applications analyzed by the DOE where LEDs are already competing with traditional lighting sources were:

  • Four indoor lamp applications (A-type, directional, MR–16, and decorative)
  • Three indoor luminaire applications (downlight, troffer, and high-bay)
  • Two outdoor luminaire applications (streetlight and parking lot/garage)

First invented in 1962, a light-emitting diode is a type of solid-state lighting (SSL) that uses a semiconductor to convert electricity into light. Although LEDs have higher upfront purchase prices than conventional lighting products, the costs are quickly offset by reduced electricity usage (80–90 percent lower) and longer life (up to 100,000 hours).

In addition to energy savings, the DOE report also details other advantages LED products provide over conventional lighting products:

These advantages include: long operating life, reduced radiated heat, minimal light loss, dimmability and controllability, durability, enhanced performance at low temperatures, safety improvements, smaller package size, uniform illumination, mercury reduction, enhanced product appearance, improved color rendition, and lower lumen depreciation.

Due to their tremendous energy savings potential, the U.S. Department of Energy and private companies continues to invest in advancing LED and SSL technology. However, the energy savings potential will only be fully realized if buyers in commercial, industrial, and residential markets accept the technology and make informed decisions.

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