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  • Studies Estimate Savings from Solid-State Lighting
Nov 2003
CHICAGO, Nov. 14 -- Energy savings from solid-state lighting -- light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) -- in niche and general lighting applications are the focus of two US Department of Energy (DOE) studies, performed by independent consulting firm Navigant Consulting.

The research found that energy savings to date from LEDs exceed the power produced from one large electric power plant, or more than 8 billion kilowatt-hours. If solid-state lighting achieves its price and performance targets over the next two decades, more than 30 percent of the estimated lighting energy consumption will not be needed, representing billions of dollars of savings for consumers, the study predicts.

"Today's energy savings from LEDs are significant -- and we expect to see continuing progress in energy and cost savings over the next 20 years," said Michael Rivest, a managing director at Navigant. "If solid-state lighting achieves the projected price and performance targets, our model estimates that 3.5 quadrillion BTUs of energy could be saved -- more than three times the total annual energy consumption of the state of Oregon."

The study found that LED traffic signals use only 10 percent of the electricity consumed by the incandescent lamps they replace. In other words, 90 percent of the electricity bill that municipalities pay can be eliminated, Navigant said. Moreover, LED signals last several times longer, allowing for additional savings through reduced maintenance costs. Exit signs are also identified as a niche application; an estimated 80 percent of the exit signs now used in the US use LEDs.

LEDs have also made inroads into mobile applications such as brake and signal lights on trucks, buses and automobiles. In the report, the energy savings of these applications are reported in gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel, because the electricity is generated on board. To date, 41 million gallons of gasoline and 142 million gallons of diesel fuel are saved annually because of LED use on these vehicles, Navigant said.

"If the entire fleet of automobiles, trucks and buses were to convert to LED lighting, 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline and 1.1 billion gallons of diesel fuel could be saved each year," the company said. "In gasoline, that is the energy equivalent of 30 days of oil flow in the Alaskan pipeline at full capacity; and, in diesel, that represents 12 days of national consumption."

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