New LED lamp prototype set to dramatically reduce carbon emissions

Consumer appliances giant Philips has unveiled a new prototype LED lamp, which they claim to be the ‘world’s most energy-efficient’ light.

The Dutch company said that the prototype, which is not expected to go on the market for another two years, is twice as effective as equivalent fluorescent lighting currently used in offices and industry buildings across the globe, indicating that the LED lamp could potentially revolutionise lighting systems worldwide.

Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, have come a long way from their initial use as standby lights on televisions and other electronic devices. Long gone are the days when LEDs were only available in red, technological advances in recent years have allowed manufacturers to produce LEDs of many colours, including white (by mixing red, green and blue LEDs), and of much greater intensity than those found on our TV remote controls.

LEDs are much more energy efficient than normal fluorescent lights, such as the tube lights found in many offices, and use up to 90%  less energy than normal bulbs. Some LEDs can last up to 10,000 hours, compared with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs, 15,000 hours) and traditional incandescent lightbulbs (a mere 1,000 hours). The use of LED lighting, rather than fluorescent or incandescent lighting is an attractive prospect, as it would significantly reduce maintenance bills, even though it would cost more to fit the LED lamps. Additionally, efficiency is higher in LED lights as they tend to lose less energy through heat than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Rene van Schooten, chief executive of light source and electronics at Philips, said “This is a major breakthrough in LED lighting and will further drive the transformation of the lighting industry. It’s exciting to imagine the massive energy and cost savings it will bring to our planet and customers.”

Lighting accounts for 19% of all energy produced globally, and Fluorescent tube lighting used in offices and industry accounts for over half of this, and it is this market that Philips are initially targeting with their LED lamp. The US alone devours a massive 200 terawatts of energy each year through lighting, and Philips estimate that their new LED lamp could reduce electricity costs by $12 billion annually, and prevent 60 million metric tonnes of damaging carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. LED lights are, however, much more expensive than traditional fluorescent and incandescent lighting.

Philips expects the light to be on the market in 2015, and whilst it will initially be used to replace lighting in offices and industry, where lighting is often left switched on twenty-four hours a day. The ultimate aim, however, is to see the LED light used in the home, and a huge leap forward in carbon emissions reduction.

Sources include The Huffington Post, BBC News

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