I know it’s about time again, I was a little busy with LEDs lately, had some very interesting visits of customers working with LEDs and was working a webinar for use of LEDs in Automotive. You can click here to register now for this Automotive LED webinar.
But this time it is not about Automotive but about LEDs, I just happened to read an article about Applebee’s plan to switch to LED lighting to save energy, costs and the environment. In a test project they refurbished the Doylestown Applebee’s to LED lighting and predicted an investment payback in 11 month, reduce CO2 emissions by 630,000 lbs (286.000 kg) over the lifetime of the LEDs by reducing the electrical demand. The LEDs shall reduce the energy consumption by 440,000 kWh over the lifetime of the lights. That would be about the amount of 53 SUVs less on the streets. Since there are about 2,000 Applebee’s out there worldwide, imagine the savings. Ok, let’s do a calculation here, let’s assume the above mentioned values are the average if all 2,000 Applebee’s would use LED lighting, this would give the following values:
1,260,000,000 lbs (572.000.000 kg = 572.000 tons) of CO2 reduction by pure energy saving with a reduction of 880,000,000 kWh = 880 GWh which would be like taking about 106,000 SUVs off the road. Or if we consider shutting down a nuclear power plant as we won’t need the energy created by a nuclear power plant , we would be able to shut down the nuclear power plant “Nine Mile Point” near Oswego, NY as example (annual energy generation of about 14,000 GWh) for approximately 3 weeks. Of course this is over the life time of the lights, but this is only Applebee’s, now consider street lights, households factories and not to mention the fuel consumption and pollution from cars fi they were all equipped with LEDs. So just as a rough estimate, wouldn’t that save a huge amount of energy and ease the burden on our already heavily burdened environment?
Now when the investment pays back in 11 month, with an energy reduction of 440,000kWh and an average price of $0.15 per kWh, they would have saved about $66,000 or for all 2,000 Applebee’s that would be $132,000,000. That would be about 10% of their 2005 revenue and that in 11 month!
I found these numbers impressive! I know from myself that sometime people can be just too lazy to act on the simplest things such as switching the phone or electricity provider even if there is a cheaper one out there who would even provide us with a better product and in case of electricity even with green power. So if just everyone would just say “Hey, he’s right! Let’s switch our bulbs to LEDs.” then this would already be a huge improvement. But to be honest, I have one LED bulb at home. I thought I’ll try it and paid around 20 Euro and that’s a lot, but only if you think of it as the current purchase. Now think about how often you have to buy light bulbs and since in some countries light bulbs will disappear from the market over the next few years (that’s how it is in Germany, so for me) the alternative would be fluorescent bulbs, but I noticed a huge weakness of them: the don’t last very long if you only use light occasionally and not constantly. I bought two or three of them over the last few years and always noticed that the last about a year because you switch the light on when you enter a room and off again when you leave it after a few minutes such as the bathroom or bedroom. The are simply not made for such applications. Now with LEDs they don’t care really how often you switch them on and off and have instant full illumination power compared to the slow increasing power of fluorescent bulbs.
No I plan to get more LED lamps and bulbs over the time and with LEDs constantly improving, the efficiency of them is improving and making them even more economic and environment friendly.
If you want to learn more about LED thermal design in consumer applications, have a look on my webinar “Demystifying LED Design for Everyday Applications with Concurrent CFD”.
See you next time,
Note: All the data on revenue, electricity pricing and power plant output were done in Google and Wikipedia so no guarantee for that.