led lights

Switch to energy-efficient LED lighting now to mitigate energy crisis, company says

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Signify (formerly Philips Lighting) has called on leaders and businesses to accelerate the transition to energy-efficient connected LED lighting to help households and businesses mitigate the energy crisis.

Signify argues that the switch to LED lighting would help the millions of families pushed into fuel poverty due to the recent surge in energy prices by saving each household up to £250 per year. The move would also benefit businesses and could deliver a quick win for the UK’s net-zero ambitions.

With the recent change in price cap introduced in April 2022, millions of households have been pushed into fuel poverty and several businesses are now facing added volatility due to its impact. Earlier this week, for example, it was reported that the automotive industry is facing a 50 per cent hike in energy costs this year.

In response to the energy price squeeze, Signify – a long-established name in lighting – is advocating an accelerated transition to energy-efficient connected LED lighting. With energy prices around the globe reaching all-time highs and global emissions rising at unprecedented levels, the company said it is now more urgent than ever that businesses lead by example and take immediate action to tackle climate change.

Over a decade since Signify called for a worldwide phasing-out of the energy-inefficient incandescent light bulb, the company is now calling for the transition to energy-efficient connected LED lighting as the new standard of ‘general lighting’ (defined as everyday lighting, e.g. bulbs and luminaires for home and professional settings such as offices, commercial buildings, retail, stadiums, road and street, bridge, park and tunnel lighting, and so forth).

The fact is acknowledged that there will be some non-LED conventional lighting still sold and used for specialist applications, where there is no LED alternative, but a majority switch to LED lighting would help meet the goals of the UK’s ten-point plan and similar commitments that other nations around the world have made in line with the Paris Agreement.

According to Signify’s findings, switching to LED lighting in the professional lighting market could reduce CO2 emissions by 3.9 million tonnes in the UK&I region (defined as comprising Britain and Northern Ireland). This is the same amount of CO2 that 175 million trees could sequester in a year. Making the switch would also save 16.1TWh of electricity, equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of more than 4.3 million households. This would result in an estimated saving of €3.8bn (£3.3bn) on electricity costs, according to Signify's calculations (based on a simulation within the framework of its 'Green Switch' conventional light point conversion model). Upgrading to connected LED lighting could also offer enhanced controls for better energy consumption management.

For private households, research from the Energy Saving Trust (data published in its 'Guide to energy efficient lighting') indicates that lighting takes up around 11 per cent of the average UK household electricity consumption. Signify's own UK data suggests that, on average, a home has 15 incandescent bulbs on for three hours a day.

After the change in the energy price cap introduced in April, Signify calculates that switching to energy-efficient LED lighting could help the average British household save £15-£18 per light bulb, which equates to a saving of £250 per year (based on a saving at three hours per day, 365 days a year, at 28p per kWh, where a 60W incandescent bulb is replaced with a 60W equivalent (7w) LED bulb).

Stephen Rouatt, CEO, Signify UK&I, said: “Households in the UK are now in one of the most difficult situations as they see their energy bills rise by 54 per cent, while businesses continue to struggle as well. We understand the urgency created by the energy crisis to help families and businesses under pressure. Switching to energy-efficient LED lighting guarantees quick wins in saving money on energy bills and responding to the urgent action needed to tackle the climate crisis.

“Accelerating the transition to LED lighting is one of the quickest renovations that can dramatically cut CO2 – it does not require large capital investments, has a short payback time and can positively impact the challenge posed by the UK’s built environment and its carbon footprint.

“As leaders in the lighting sector, we have a firm commitment to transformative action and there is no better opportunity than London Climate Action Week to commit to change. This is an opportunity to harness the power that businesses, climate professionals and communities in London can bring forward to tackle global climate action."

The International Energy Agency (IEA) echoes Signify’s call to LED action. Nicholas Howarth, senior analyst at the IEA, said: “The world is facing the most significant energy crisis in recent history and energy efficiency is a solution to many of its most urgent challenges.

“Highlighting its importance, in June at the IEA Global Conference on Energy Efficiency, 27 governments from around the world issued the Sønderburg Action Plan calling for energy efficiency and demand side action to play a much greater role protecting households, businesses and the economy from high energy prices. This is vital for addressing the energy crisis, rising inflation and greenhouse gas emissions.

“Stronger policy packages covering regulations, information and incentives will play a key role accelerating energy efficiency and related measures. This includes the deployment of smart, efficient lighting, upgrading homes with better insulation, improving the fuel efficiency of cars, as well fostering investment in new industrial machinery.

“Efficient lighting is a proven technology to reduce electricity demand, fast. This will also help create extra electricity capacity needed for electric heat pumps and vehicles which put upwards pressure on power demand."

Climate Group, an international non-profit working with businesses and governments around the world to drive climate action, is also aligned with Signify’s ambitions. Toby Morgan, senior manager for the built environment at Climate Group, said: “LEDs play a key role in decarbonisation as we strive to halve emissions by 2030 and achieve net-zero carbon buildings by 2050. The unprecedented energy savings from LEDs compared to traditional lighting presents compelling urgency to raise the priority of global LED adoption.

“The drive towards smart, connected LEDs can also serve as a digital platform for smart building and Internet of Things solutions, opening up a myriad of options for businesses.”

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