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Are we using less energy because of LED lighting, or more?

It is wholly a confusion to suppose that more efficient lighting leads to diminished consumption. The very contrary is the truth. LEDs use a lot less energy per lumen produced; according to IHS Market, a consultancy, LED lighting uses an average of 40 percent less power than fluorescents, and 80 percent less than incandescents, to produce the same amount of light. They determined that "the use of LEDs to illuminate buildings and outdoor spaces reduced the total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of lighting by an estimated 570 million tons in 2017. This reduction is roughly equivalent to shutting down 162 coal-fired power plants." They figured this all out by tracking the market share of all the LED companies, and suggest that every LED sold is a direct substitute for an older, less efficient light. From their press release:
The efficiency of LEDs is essentially what makes them environmentally friendly,” said Jamie Fox, principal analyst, lighting and LEDs group, IHS Markit. “Therefore, LED conversion is unlike other measures, which require people to reduce consumption or make lifestyle changes.... “LED component companies and lighting companies have transformed their industry,” Fox said. “They are fighting climate change much more effectively than other industries, and they should be given credit for it. Unlike in other industry sectors, workers at LED companies can honestly say that by selling more of their products, they are helping to reduce global warming.”
The evidence from space says otherwise Well, maybe not. Because all IHS Markit appears to be doing is assuming that these companies are replacing inefficient lighting with LEDs. In fact, the evidence is pretty clear that thanks to LEDs we are using more energy than ever; as I noted a few years ago, we keep figuring ingenious ways to use them in places that we never did before, like with big LED monitors over urinals. But even if we just stick to lighting, a new study uses photos from space to show that we are using more lighting than ever.

Read More: TreeHugger

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