A better climate future can happen


    17th October, 2023

    Consistent, coherent, and continuous climate action is needed now
    People—and things created and used by people such as buildings, businesses, and transportation—produce carbon footprints. A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases generated by a structure or an activity. To place carbon footprints in perspective, a person living in the United States has a carbon footprint of approximately 16 tons, while the global average for carbon footprints is approximately 4 tons.
    This difference in carbon footprint points to another startling statistic. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, 46 of the least developed countries (LDCs) produce only about 4% of the world’s average carbon emissions.

    However, the 46 LDCs have experienced 69% of the deaths caused by climate-related disasters during the past 50 years."


    Jonathan Weinert

    IoT and connected lighting, Signify

    With carbon footprint, carbon emissions, and climate-related impact statistics in mind, developed and developing countries must assume responsibility for curbing carbon emissions.


    Straightforward solutions exist for taking a different path


    Many types of obstacles clutter the path to reduced carbon emissions and energy efficiency. Traditional business requirements, budgetary pressures, and politics at the international, national, regional, and state levels have slowed and sometimes hampered the transition to sustainable practices. However, solutions that can help reduce carbon emissions and create energy efficiencies exist.


    For example, the current built environment contributes 40% of annual global carbon emissions. Of that overall percentage, building operations account for 27% and building construction and infrastructure materials make up the remaining 13%. Each building consumes energy for the lighting, heating, and cooling systems that maintain comfortable indoor environments for residents. Each environmental control system also generates carbon emissions.


    Different technology-driven solutions exist for the carbon emissions and energy consumption problems seen with buildings. For example, connected lighting systems built around efficient LED technologies could save millions of tons of carbon emissions and reduce the demand for electricity. While LED lighting can offer direct energy savings of 50–70% over conventional lighting, connecting LED lighting systems to smart controls, the IoT, and other environmental control systems can increase those percentages. In addition, the installation and use of human-centric connected systems align with improving well-being and productivity.


    Building designs can also move away from materials that release millions of tons of carbon emissions during extraction, manufacturing, transportation, construction, and disposal. Architectural firms and construction firms can prioritize moving away from the use of conventional building materials such as concrete, steel, and insulation to low-carbon, carbon-neutral, or carbon-storing materials. New types of concrete, for example, may reduce carbon emissions by 60%. In addition, firms can reduce emissions associated with manufacturing practices by specifying the use of recycled or reclaimed materials for buildings.

    Cityscape viewed from above, framed by lush green plants and trees.

    Commitments to sustainability begin with policy decisions


    During the past decades, the United States, the European Union, and other governments have made crucial policy decisions that target zero carbon emissions by 2050. In the United States, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 includes tax incentives for installing energy efficient equipment such as LEDs, new types of building insulation, and heat pumps.

    The European Green Deal addresses key policy issues such as accessible and affordable clean energy transportation, creating markets for clean technologies and products, and stimulating the renovation of 35 million public and private buildings. In addition, the EU’s RePowerEU plan focuses on energy savings, diversifying energy supplies, and implementing renewable energy sources.
    Gambia, Mali, Costa Rica, and other smaller countries have also addressed climate change through projects and strategies. In Gambia, the Household Disaster Resilience Project provides financial support for local efforts to improve awareness about climate change, support green business, and change to new agricultural practices that include agroforestry. Mali has converted diesel-powered mini-grids to solar, hydro, and biogas technologies in an effort to cut carbon emissions by 5,000 tons. Costa Rica relies on renewable energies and provides incentives to communities and landowners to preserve forests and increase biodiversity.

    Mitigating climate change requires consistent, coherent, and continuous action


    The consequences of climate change become more apparent with each passing day. According to a report from the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, without action from countries, corporations, businesses, and individuals, global temperatures will likely continue to increase and weather events will continue to set new standards for extremes.


    Although political leadership may change, countries cannot step away from their policy commitments to mitigate climate change. However, setting and adhering to policies is only one step. Corporations and businesses can commit to methods and technologies that reduce carbon emissions and reduce energy consumption. Every person can drive the changes that prompt those commitments.


    To learn more about how connected technologies align with global energy policies, read our white paper Good connectivity: a key to decarbonizing the building sector here

    Listen to this article, and discover other topic related blog podcasts, here.

    About the author:

    Jonathan Weinert

    Jonathan Weinert

    IoT and connected lighting, Signify




    For further information, please contact:

    Signify Global Media relations - Professional Lighting
    Claire Phillips

    Tel: +44 7956 489081


    For commercial enquiries:

    About Signify


    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals, consumers and the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. In 2023, we had sales of EUR 6.7 billion, approximately 32,000 employees and a presence in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We have been in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index since our IPO for seven consecutive years and have achieved the EcoVadis Platinum rating for four consecutive years, placing Signify in the top one percent of companies assessed. News from Signify can be found in the Newsroom, on X, LinkedIn and Instagram. Information for investors is located on the Investor Relations page.

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