UN Study Suggests Efficient Lighting could save $110 billion Worldwide

Posted By: Matthew

The Importance of Sustainable Living

The environmental impact of the way we live is a great cause for concern in the modern world. Thanks to an increase in scientific research into environmental issues such as global warming, the greenhouse effect, over-consumption and the supply of natural resources, governments and people across the world have finally begun to take seriously the concept of sustainable living. According to environmental experts, making changes to the ways we light our homes, businesses, towns, villages and cities is just one of the ways we can reduce our impact on the earth’s dwindling natural resources, as well as our own financial resources.

Low Energy Lighting for a Brighter Future

Traditional incandescent or General Lighting Service (GLS) light bulbs are being phased out across the European Union and in many other countries. In the UK, the government has taken action ahead of EU legislation, and most types of GLS bulb are no longer manufactured. Indeed, in the UK, we have been hearing about the benefits of low energy lighting for some time now, but a recent study suggests that more efficient lighting could be more advantageous than we might previously have thought. According to a UN-led study published at the Rio+20 summit held in Rio de Janeiro earlier this week, $110 billion (£70.57 billion) a year could be saved worldwide by switching to smarter lighting.

The report, which was released by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and the Global Environment Facility, in conjunction with the International Energy Agency (IEA), estimates that five per cent of the world’s electricity consumption could be saved by making simple changes, such as phasing out incandescent light bulbs and replacing them with more energy efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) or light emitting diode (LED) lights. These estimates are based on the assessment of 150 countries. Fourteen countries have now enrolled in a pilot scheme with the aim of developing national strategies for phasing out traditional light bulbs in favour of CFL and LED bulbs.

Traditional light bulbs vs. CFL and LED light bulbs

But can energy saving light bulbs really perform as well as traditional bulbs? Don’t they take much longer to light up? And do they really emit as bright a light as GLS?

There are many myths surrounding energy efficient light bulbs. Although, the first energy saving bulbs took longer to light up than GSLs, nowadays most CFL and LED bulbs take only a few seconds to warm up to full brightness. The light quality of CFL and LED bulbs can vary but if ‘traditional’ looking glow, it is advisable to get a ‘warm white’ or ‘soft white, with a Colour Rendering Index (CRI) of 0.8 at least. To avoid being disappointed with the brightness of your CFL or LED bulb, be sure to check the light output in lumens rather than watts. For example, a 650-700 lumen energy saving bulb is equal to a 60W lightbulb and a 1,200-1,300 CFL or LED bulb will give you the same brightness as a 100W GLS bulb.


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