RNE has a look at the energy efficiency revolution in lighting - LEDs will slash energy use for lighting by 95%.
A simple (but not perfect) measure for lighting efficiency is the number of lumens (a measure of light intensity) a lighting source produces per watt. A conventional incandescent bulb gets 13 lumens per watt to light your room, while a replacement LED bulb from Philips that can be bought at Coles or Woolworths achieves 80 lumens per watt (a compact fluorescent globe gets about 60 lumens per watt).
CREE (the industry leader who, it is speculated, may purchase the next best, Philips’ Lumileds division) has successfully demonstrated Light Emitting Diodes running at 300 Lumens per watt in the lab. CREE currently sell a $10, 9.5W bulb (available in the US), which produces 85 Lumens per watt and can directly replace an old style 60W globe.
Other breakthroughs and innovations are contributing to achieving higher efficiency’s in LED lighting, including a breakthrough by German researchers which will not only effect LED lights, but laptop and mobile phone chargers, cutting losses in today’s most efficient power supplies by half from 10% to just 5%.
Taking all this into consideration, according to the US Department of Energy SSL (Solid State Lighting) program http://energy.gov/eere/ssl/solid-state-lighting we should be able to achieve wall plug efficiencies of 250 Lumens per watt by 2020 which means that a conventional bulb replacement in 2020 would be available using only a third of the electricity of today’s LED bulbs.
At that staggering rate of 250 lumens per watt, it will only take 3W to light a room, when it used to be done with 60 Watts of power. This represents a 95% reduction in energy required for lighting.
This will have a profound effect on the world’s requirement for lighting energy. We can expect - on an absolute basis – that 19% of the world’s electricity which is currently used for lighting to dramatically drop by at least 75%. On today’s numbers the reduction is the equivalent of the entire electricity consumption of the European Union.
In developed nations these huge efficiency gains from LEDs in the lighting sector will contribute to the continuing restructure of the electricity supply industry, which is currently facing a death spiral unless it can electrify the remaining residential energy services coming from fossil gas and supply a fast tracked electrification of the world’s vehicle fleet.
In developing countries, rooms that can be lit with 3W and task lights with even lower electricity consumption. This means that almost all the remaining 1.5Billion of the world’s population without an electricity supply will be able to access one at very minimal marginal cost in the next 5 years.