How LED Lighting Can Reduce Your Building’s Carbon Footprint
July 24, 2020
In the quest for sustainability and climate change, lowering greenhouse gas emissions is one of the world’s most pressing challenges. Installing energy-efficient LED (Light-Emitting Diode) lighting in commercial buildings can help significantly reduce the pollution that contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. We’ll discuss why this is such an urgent issue right now especially for Canadians, compare LEDs to traditional solutions, and explore the other environmental and business benefits of using LEDs.
In 2019, Canada was ranked one of the least effective countries among advanced economies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study by Climate Transparency. The study graded G20 nations—19 countries with advanced economies and the European Union—on their climate performance. Canada’s rate of greenhouse gas emissions per-capita was the second-highest in the G20, behind only Australia. Canada’s building-related emissions rate (which makes up one-fifth of total Co2 emissions) is more than double the G20 average. The devastating results of climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions include drought, extreme rainfall, food scarcity, and extreme weather that has cost the G20 about 16,000 fatalities and $142 billion per year. Investing in eco-friendly lighting technology can play a significant role in reducing harmful emissions.
LED lighting is different than incandescent bulbs and Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs). LEDs are about the size of a fleck of pepper, and a mix of green, blue, and red LEDs are used to make white light. They emit light in a specific direction, reducing the need for reflectors and diffusers that can trap light. There’s also a significant difference in heat emissions. Incandescent bulbs release 90 percent of their energy as heat, and CFLs release about 80 percent of their energy as heat. By comparison, LED lights release very little heat and use far less energy than incandescent lighting. Widespread use of LEDs over the next few years alone can save as much as the equivalent of the output of 44 large electric power plants in one country alone.
Switching to LED's Can Make a BIG Environmental Difference
Since LED lights require less heat and energy, they’ve also been proven to have a tremendous impact on reducing the carbon dioxide that makes up the vast majority of greenhouse gasses. Replacing or retrofitting 35,000 lamps reduce CO2 emissions by 2,100 metric tons per year, which is the equivalent of:
• 225,400 gallons of gasoline consumed
• 2,100,000 pounds of coal burned
• 421 passenger vehicles
• The electricity rates of 183 homes per year
• 4,650 barrels of oil consumed
• 781 tons of waste sent to the landfill
There are several other reasons why LED lights are good for the environment. First, they last longer. LEDs, on average, have a life span of 50,000 hours, or at least five years. This is about 50 times longer than a typical incandescent light and 8-10 times longer than a CFL. Choosing LEDs means lower production costs and energy emissions, and you won’t have to worry about replacing them every few months. They also help reduce noise pollution since they don’t generate vibration or humming noises. Compact fluorescent lights can have 4 to 5 milligrams of mercury in each light and LED lights are free of any chemicals that can be dangerous to the environment and public health. Also, they’re a less pricy investment. Since they require less heat and have more longevity, they can save as much as $30 billion in one country alone if they’re implemented over the next several years.
It’s remarkable how simply changing the lighting system in your building can reduce your carbon footprint. Saving money, reducing electricity, durability—the advantages of LED lighting are enormous. If you want to learn more, we’re happy to chat with you.