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Sustainable cities and LED Anchorbird

Transitioning to LEDs to build sustainable cities

June 18, 2020

Transitioning to LEDs to build sustainable cities

A changing society

There is a lot of concern for climate change among this new generation of consumers. In 2018, Greta Thunberg, a young Swedish activist initiated a mobilization outside her country’s parliament to demand actions over global warming. Her word has been spread in all the continents and inspired other youths to take school days to strike for climate. The protests are pushing world leaders to propose sustainable development goals such as renewable energy sources, greener cities, and the implementation of new technologies, like LEDs.

Urban expansion is one of the major concerns. Since 2007, more than half of the world’s population has been living in cities, and this is projected to rise to 60 percent by 2030, according to the United Nations. Construction is without a doubt a key industry that can help to achieve these goals. The pressure for greener buildings is not coming only from government requirements, but also from consumer demand of houses, offices, and schools that meet eco-friendly, environmental standards. These modern, sustainable buildings need certain necessities, such as lighting.

The way to a brighter future

Ever since primitive times, people have found different sources for artificial lighting, and discoveries have made it possible to illuminate spaces with more cost-efficient methods. Thus, and from kerosene to crude oil, until the incandescent lighting took over as the most competitive form of lighting.

Still, in recent years, technology has advanced and provided us better options. Today in the market, more choices compete with regular incandescent bulbs such as the induction lamp, the compact fluorescent lamp, and light-emitting diodes (LED). Out of these three, the LED is capable of saving energy and has the longest lifespan. Despite this, the incandescent lamp remains widely used around the world. Lower prices might be the explanation for its still dominance in the market, as consumers are still unaware of the benefits that replacing regular lighting entails.

The advantages of LEDs in numbers

The big electricity consumers

According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), the electricity consumption in the United States was about 3.95 trillion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2018, more than 16 kilowatts higher than in 1950. Thus, it’s no surprise the global warming problem has intensified in the last two decades. The same source shows that the residential sector accounts for the first consumer of electricity in the U.S. with around 39%, following by the commercial (36%) and the industrial sector (25%). EIA correspondingly indicates that the average American house has approximately 50 light bulbs. Transitioning to LEDs could help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower our electric bills.

Traditional lighting vs. modern LEDs

In the hypothetical situation that a person has two identical houses in the United States, where the first one has 50 incandescent light bulbs of 60 watts each, and the second house has 50 LEDs, the first home would consume around 5475 kilowatts per year, and it would cost a $548 bill for lighting, whereas the second house would only generate 548 kilowatts, and that would cost $55 annually. LEDs require less power (watts) per unit of light generated (lumens); the actual consumption for a similar incandescent bulb of 60 watts is just around 7 watts. Compact fluorescents similarly help us saving energy, but they require double the amount of watts than LEDs do. 50 compact fluorescents require 1278 kilowatts annually. Given these facts, why are home-owners still using incandescent bulbs?
Energy Efficiency & Energy Costs LEDs Compact Fluorescents Incandescent Light Bulbs
Watts of electricity (equivalent to 60 watt bulb) 5-8 watts 13-15 watts 60 watts
Kilo-watts of Electricity used (50 Incandescent Bulbs per year equivalent) 548 KWh/year 1278 KWh/year 5475 KWh/year
Annual operating cost                     (50 Incandescent Bulbs per year equivalent) $54.75 $127.75 $547.65

Traditional lighting vs. modern LEDs

Ten years ago, LEDs were very costly compared to the average price today. An LED lightbulb with the equivalent brightness of a 60w incandescent bulb was about $25. In order to buy 50 bulbs, we would need $1250. Today, the average price for a LED bulb with the same characteristics has decreased, reaching lower prices at $5 each. Additionally to energy savings, using LED lights signify other advantages to the environment.  Contrary to compact fluorescent lamps, they do not contain toxic mercury. LEDs also have the longest lifespan and as a result, they generate less waste. An LED has a durability of 50,000 hours, while an incandescent or a compact fluorescent last 1,200 and 8,000 hours respectively.

Notably, it is possible for us to afford LEDs and build sustainable cities for future generations.

It is the right time for a change

LEDs are not just more than beneficial for the environment but also from the perspective of cost reduction. In recent years they became very affordable and hence to there way of construction they offer a nearly infinite variety of possible areas of application. 

To be on the safe side with LEDs, they should follow certain standards and certifications.

We at Anchorbird take it even one step further by only offering LEDs that are not just following those standards bur also have been tested throughout real-life scenarios for a long term period.

You can find our LED selection in our Shop:

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