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LED street lighting trial switches on 85% energy savings

LED (light-emitting diodes) street lighting can generate energy savings as high as 85%, an independent, global trial of the technology has found.

The findings of LightSavers, an independent, two-and-a-half-year global pilot of LED lamps in 15 separate trials across 12 cities including New York, London, Kolkata and Sydney, are presented for the first time in a new report entitled, Lighting the Clean Revolution: The Rise of LED Street Lighting and What it Means for Cities.

The report explores the global market status and potential for LED technology and provides guidelines for policymakers and city light managers who want to scale-up and finance large LED retrofits.

Key findings from the report:

  • Surveys in Kolkata, London, Sydney and Toronto indicated that citizens prefer LED lighting, with 68% to 90% of respondents endorsing city-wide rollout of the technology. Amongst the benefits that were highlighted in these surveys were a greater sense of safety and improved visibility.
  • The lifespan of LED lighting trialled ranges from 50,000 to 100,000 hours indicating a high return on investment.
  • LED lighting was found to be a durable technology with the need for minimal repairs; the failure rate of LED products over 6,000 hours is around 1%, compared, for example, to around 10% for conventional lighting over a similar time period.
  • The LED market is at a tipping point, with white light LEDs (used in outdoor lighting) at the early stage of the technology curve. Market penetration is accelerating as the market is expected to expand by 60% by 2020.
  • The LightSaver trial concludes that LEDs are now mature enough for scale-up in most outdoor applications, bring the economical and social benefits to the masses.

“Major energy savings can be achieved virtually overnight at relatively little cost.”


The report was launched as part of the Clean Revolution campaign at the Rio+20 UN Global Compact Corporate Sustainability Forum and produced by The Climate Group in partnership with Philips in support of the campaign’s argument that major energy savings can be achieved virtually overnight at relatively little cost.

Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, said: “This report clearly highlights that LEDs are ready to be scaled-up in towns and cities across the globe. LED technology is energy efficient, scalable and positively impacts on the public; it is the Clean Revolution in action. We are now calling on Governments to remove policy obstacles and enable a rapid transition to low carbon lighting.”

“A full switch to the latest energy-efficient LED lighting solutions provides significant energy savings, a reduction in CO2 emissions, and will transform urban environments”, says Harry Verhaar, head of global public & government affairs at Philips Lighting. “We believe that by driving this lighting market transition, our LED lighting solutions will create liveable cities for the benefit of residents and visitors.”

Lighting is responsible for 19% of global electricity use and around 6% of global greenhouse gas emissions[2]. Doubling lighting efficiency globally would have a climate impact equivalent to eliminating half the emissions of all electricity and heat production in the EU[2]. And like many other energy-efficient technologies, efficient lighting will boost global prosperity.

[1] IEA (2006) Light’s Labour’s Lost, OECD/IEA
[2] ‘Homes’ includes CO2 emissions from residential use of gas and electricity. Figures from: IEA, 2011, CO2 emissions from fuel combustion: Highlights.

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