Major cities across the globe are some of the biggest users (and wasters) of electricity. Billions of kilowatt hours every day are wasted, especially in high-rise buildings that keep lights on for safety. The cost to these cities, and to the environment, is enormous to say the least, and has been studied with keen interest for over 40 years as scientists look for ways to cut down on the cost and on the waste.
Enter into the equation the new LED street light, with new technology that will supposedly yield up to 85% energy savings. It’s been tested in 12 of the world’s largest cities so far, albeit on a small scale, and the results have been quite impressive. Of course small scale tests are just that, small scale. In order to really get an idea of the cost benefits and the waste reduction a large scale trial or changeover is needed, and for that there needs to be a large scale infusion of city funds.
Whatever the case may be, with the small scale trials in London, New York, Tokyo, Sydney and Kolkata (a large city in India), not only was the energy saving significant but the people that were polled responded that the visibility was better with the new LED street lights and that they even felt safer. (Although I’m sure the ‘feeling safer’ part was an ingenious bit of good PR.)
Even better is the fact that LED street lights have a failure rate of 1% compared to 10% for older technology lights, and they last much longer. It appears that not only do they cost less to illuminate the streets but they cost less in maintenance and replacement, which will help the environment with less waste and toxic byproducts entering into our landfills.
Philips, the manufacturer of the new LED street lights, and The Climate Group, a non-regulatory commission that keeps tabs on the energy industry, believe that the new LED lights are ready for a full-scale trial and in fact are just waiting for the approval of a number of major cities to begin implementing said trial.
Philips, of course, is all for any approval which will mean the purchase of billions of dollars of their product. That’s me being cynical, but in fact I’m all for anything that will reduce waste and electric consumption on a wide scale, no matter the manufacturer. Indeed, I hope the large scale trials are a booming success.