According to the US Department of Energy, lighting accounts for 15% of global electricity consumption and 5% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. A wholesale shift to LEDs could reduce CO2 emissions by 800 million metric tons per year—equivalent to shutting down 684 coal-fired power plants. Annual cost savings would run to US$26 billion in the US alone.
The advantages of shifting to LED lighting doesn’t stop there. Connected lighting systems can help people lead smarter, happier, and healthier lives, while having far less impact on the planet than conventional lighting.
In cities, smart poles can serve as vertical assets that can be used for delivering smart city and IoT capabilities throughout urban neighborhoods. Smart poles can house integrate 4G/5G connectivity, and can house public broadband access points, security cameras, microphones, sensors, digital billboards, EV charging ports, and other smart devices. All of these contribute to enhanced connectivity, safety, and livability in cities and towns of all sizes.
In offices, LED-based artificial skylights can mimic the rhythm of daylight and simulate nature to support human circadian rhythms, significantly improving employee well-being and productivity in the workplace. In supermarkets and other public environments, upper air luminaries with UV-C light can continuously inactivate bacteria and viruses while ensuring the safety of people present in the space.
As we approach COP27, set to take place in November 2022 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt—the first climate conference to be held in Africa since 2016—it’s also time to start considering solar lighting and the opportunities the technology brings for the continent.
Africa is home to a number of countries that are acutely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Ironically, these countries contribute very little to the problem. An estimated 600 million people don’t have access to electricity. Leapfrogging generations of technology to build a solar- and LED-based lighting infrastructure makes eminent sense.
Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public & Government Affairs at Signify, is forthright about the challenges confronting the global community.