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LED-ing by example

We recently took a tour of public lighting options  here on the blog, including Paris’s somewhat controversial plan to dim the city of lights at certain points in the early morning. It also touched on LED street lighting, including Los Angeles’ major efforts on this front.

We’ve also had a very recent look at the Green Investment Bank getting up and running. Now, the two elements come together, as one of the newly-funded GIB projects set to go ahead is a Scotland-wide project to replace all the nation’s street lamps with LEDs.

While bringing the low-energy glow of Hollywood to Holyrood is no doubt appealing in itself, the long-term savings are a big pull here. With green initiatives often under more spending scrutiny than other sectors, Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland, pointed out that any move to install LED lighting en-masse is likely to be "great news for taxpayers as well as the planet."

For those who worry about our ability to stargaze as well as our carbon emissions and bills, hope is possibly at hand. A Mexican/ Japanese team of scientists have developed an early prototype of an LED street light with minimum light ‘leakage’. LEDs themselves are easier to direct, as light is emitted from a smaller area. The new design aims to make them even more precise.

Elsewhere, the battle to bring the most efficient LED products to market first appears to be heating up – but obviously not literally. Our technical development manager James Russill was recently asked by the BBC to comment on what manufacturer Philips claim is the most energy efficient LED of all time. While stressing the need to scrutinise the claims of manufacturers carefully, James was hopeful that this is a step in the right direction:

The typical performance of LEDs we have trialled and tested before has typically been in the range of 50 to 70 lumens per watt which is significantly better than traditional lighting - so if this new Philips product can perform as claimed then it represents a huge leap forward in performance. "It is also good that this product is aimed at office environments, where lighting is often left on for 24 hours per day - the potential for reducing electricity demand is therefore very high."

Gary Hartley is Energy Saving Trust's expert blogger. He has extensive experience researching and writing on a number of topics, with particular expertise in sustainable energy, policy, literature and sport. As well as providing regular blog content, Gary has also been published in numerous magazines and journals.

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