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NYC goes LED

New York, New York may well be wonderful, but it’s also set to become a more energy efficiency place too, after the city’s officials announced plans to replace all of its quarter of a million street lights with LEDs.

The potential cost and carbon savings are being widely recognised by governments both local and national: Scotland and Los Angeles are but two strong examples of ambitious LED installation programmes. This latest commitment by one of the world’s most iconic cities is likely to provide a further boost LED credentials.

Much like in our Lit Up report on the use of this technology in social housing, strong anecdotal evidence suggests people appreciate the sort of illumination LEDs provide. New York’s transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan says:

People tend to like them. It’s clear. It’s bright. It really does a good job in providing fresher light.”

Here, here. But once a product reaches commercially-viable attention, technological development rarely stops there. This is certainly the case with LEDs, where there are plenty of new lights and fittings springing up.

First up is a claim to have produced the most efficient LED light bulb ever, at 203 lumens per Watt. For the exact science, and to weigh up the claims for yourself, visit Electronics Weekly’s report. Elsewhere there’s an attempt to ensure even less energy is wasted via heat, through a rather unique-looking fitting which claims to bring its owner 30,000 hours of light to the brightness of a 100W incandescent bulb.

A recent report coming out of the States suggesting that the world LED lighting market will grow 45 per cent a year to a high of $42billion in 2019. Collaborative studies in a number of UK universities are working to ensure this is a lighting revolution that benefits everyone.

Scientists in Cambridge, Manchester, Bath and Strathclyde are working to improve the efficiency, quality, and in particular, the economics of this technology. Indeed, a new manufacturing technique using silicon that has been designed as part of the study offers the chance to greatly reduce the cost of LEDs – and is set for commercial application.

All in all, LEDs have come a long way from strings of Christmas tree lights kept in the loft for eleven months a year - and they’re set to go much further still.

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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