Energy Agency outlines new lighting policies

July 3, 2006
A book published by the International Energy Agency maps out the set of political measures that will be needed to ensure that energy-efficient lighting technologies such as HB-LEDs will help to curb carbon dioxide emissions.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris, France, has outlined the policies that will be needed to implement efficient lighting technologies, helping to reduce energy waste and CO2 emissions.

Called Light’s Labour’s Lost, the IEA book that documents those policies is part of the response to the G8 Gleneagles Plan of Action that was agreed in July 2005.

According to the IEA, the book contains the first detailed global analysis of the energy used for lighting, as well as a detailed review of the technologies, such as high-brightness (HB) LEDs, that could be implemented to reduce this energy consumption.

Chapter 7 of the book is entitled, "O'LED where art thou? Emerging solid-state lighting technologies and opportunities."

"Lighting ranks among the end-uses dominating global power demand," pointed out the IEA. "Worldwide, grid-based electric lighting consumes 19 per cent of total global electricity production."

Currently, LED-based lighting represents only a minuscule fraction of total electric-light generation (see pie-chart), but the IEA stresses that developing a world lit by energy-efficient sources is not simply a question of technology – it requires policies to transform current practice.

Claude Mandil, executive director of the IEA, added: "Government and the private sector must grasp the opportunity that energy-efficient lighting offers, if we are to attain the clean and competitive economy that we seek."

"The policies which can bring about this transformation are known and proven but need to be implemented on an altogether larger scale if the vast opportunities afforded by energy-efficient lighting are to be realized," concluded Mandil.

At its current rate of increase, the energy demand for lighting alone will be 80 per cent higher in 2030 than it is today, reports the IEA.

While the development of brighter, more efficient and cheaper LEDs will help to put the brakes on this trend, simpler measures such as using appropriate ballasts and controls will also make a major contribution.

Light's Labour's Lost is available from the IEA bookshop for €100 in paper form, €80 in PDF form.

Author Michael Hatcher is editor of Compound Semiconductor magazine.