These days, it seems every aspect of our energy consumption is transforming, and in that regard, the lighting industry is no exception. Within the lighting industry, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have assumed a prominent role in the quest for greater efficiency and reduced costs.
Furthermore, when it comes to transformative change, government is often the catalyst. According to a recent survey, American cities—i.e., municipal governments—have embraced LEDs, and the pattern is expected to continue.
In October, the Washington, D.C.-based research firm, Northeast Group LLC released the results of a survey, which show strong levels of support among city governments that were early adopters of LED streetlights. The survey identified 400 U.S. cities that have either already begun or had considered installing LED streetlights and interviewed 100 of them.
The results were impressive. Of those surveyed, 95 percent were satisfied with the overall performance of the streetlights. That should come as little surprise given that LED streetlights were found to save, on average, nearly 60 percent in combined energy and maintenance costs. Perhaps most important, law enforcement officials noted improved visibility and public safety.
Like so many other components of the energy transformation, the survey notes that LED street lights may also help introduce the development of new “smart” technology for street lighting. LEDs turn on and off almost instantly and have dimming capability, which is conducive to smart lighting. Smart street lighting could help cities reduce energy consumption by another 20 to 30 percent. The survey projects the LED smart street lighting market to reach a cumulative $4.7 billion in the United States by 2025.
Despite this favorable early reaction and the potential for market growth and costs savings, LED street lighting penetration in cities is still very small. The survey found that LEDs had penetrated less than 1 percent of the street light population in the United States, which means there is plenty of room for growth.