Quite a bit, as it turns out. Starting with the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), the federal government has embarked on a policy designed to move our country toward increased lighting efficiency to lower the greenhouse gas emissions and high energy use that come with using inefficient incandescent lighting.
EISA set new performance levels for various common light bulbs to make them more efficient and to pave the way for new lighting technologies. While Congress defunded the enforcement of these EISA efficiency requirements in the 2012 federal budget, the lighting industry had already embraced the new policies and had, in large part, retooled production lines to make other bulbs, including LEDs, thanks to federal government initiatives.
In the meantime, the US Department of Energy has ramped up its efforts to distribute grants to municipalities and private ventures throughout the country to help replace wasteful incandescent bulbs with much more energy-efficient LEDs. One such grant in Wisconsin provided $500,000 for a casino project in conjunction with a private financing package that’s expected to save the casino almost a quarter million dollars annually.
And it’s not just the federal government partnering with private investors to modernize inefficient lighting systems. Pittsburgh has received over $800,000 to replace all city lights with LEDs through a grant authorized by Governor Edward Randall. During the first phase of the retrofit, the city replaced 40,000 high-pressure sodium lighting fixtures with LEDs, saving the city over $110,000 in electricity and maintenance. Overall, Pittsburgh expects to save taxpayers over $2.5 million every year with LED lighting.
In a recent global LED lighting market report produced by Global Industry Analysts, the LED industry is poised to make significant gains in general lighting applications worldwide. The government policies targeting inefficient lighting technologies we mentioned above are a strong growth driver in the US for this trend, which is expected to be fastest in outdoor and commercial lighting segments. Streetlights, spotlights, and residential LED bulbs are among the applications expected to increase substantially over the next few years.
The more state, federal, and private funding is used to jumpstart LED lighting use, the more encouraged cities, towns, and private entities will be to seek out financial aid for additional LED lighting projects. This will not only help reduce worldwide carbon emissions, it will save money and make the world a cleaner, safer place to live.