Republication of Postings from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solid-State Lighting Program by Jim Brodrick, U.S. Department of Energy DOE has released a much-anticipated new report that estimates the…
Republication of Postings from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solid-State Lighting Program
by Jim Brodrick, U.S. Department of Energy
DOE has released a much-anticipated new report that estimates the savings from using SSL in applications where LEDs compete with traditional sources. Entitled Adoption of Light-Emitting Diodes in Common Lighting Applications, the report not only estimates how much energy is being saved due to current levels of LED penetration, but also projects what the savings would be if those markets switched completely to LEDs from incandescent, halogen, high-pressure sodium, and certain types of fluorescent sources.
Nine lighting applications were selected for analysis, based on interviews with lighting designers, retailers, and manufacturers. These stakeholders were asked to provide guidance on emerging market trends and potential growth for LED usage, and to indicate the most common and most energy-saving LED lighting applications in use today, as well as those applications that have the most to benefit from converting to SSL in terms of improvement to efficiency and overall lighting performance.
The selected applications were classified into three groups: indoor lamps, indoor luminaires, and outdoor luminaires. For indoor lamps, four applications were analyzed: A-type, directional, MR16, and decorative. The indoor luminaires included downlight, troffer and other common fluorescent fixtures, and high-bay, and the outdoor luminaires included streetlight and parking lot/garage.
In those applications, roughly 49 million LED lamps and luminaires were installed in 2012, saving approximately 71 trillion British thermal units (tBtu), which is equivalent to an annual energy cost savings of about $675 million. That single amount from 2012 alone far exceeds DOE’s total SSL program investment of $270 million over the past 10 years. What’s more, if those nine markets switched entirely to LEDs overnight, the annual source energy savings would approach 3,873 tBtu (nearly 3.9 quads), saving close to $37 billion in annual energy costs and representing approximately half of the country’s lighting energy consumption last year.
This makes DOE’s SSL program a shining example of tax dollars well spent (pun intended), since there are millions of LED lighting products on the market that have DOE-funded R&D in them — and even those that aren’t based on DOE R&D benefit indirectly from our SSL market-based programs, such as LED Lighting Facts® and CALiPER, which provide “guardrails” to help avoid the kinds of pitfalls that plagued CFLs when they were first introduced. What’s more, DOE-sponsored SSL design competitions, such as L Prize ® and Next Generation Luminaires, spur the industry to higher performance.
Based on the 2012 lighting inventory, LED market adoption, annual operating hours, and wattage per lamp/luminaire, the new report is the fourth iteration in a series that dates back to 2003 and is widely used by manufacturers and utilities. Previous versions of the report were entitled Energy Savings Estimates of LEDs in Niche Lighting Applications and also included analyses of colored-light and consumer-electronics applications, which are no longer analyzed because LEDs for those applications have generally matured and reached market saturation.
Even though there were more LED A-type installations in 2012 (nearly 20 million, representing 41 percent of all LED installations), LED directional lamps provided the greatest energy savings of any of the nine applications. That’s because LED directional lamps — including PAR, BR, and R lamps — are mainly installed in commercial buildings and thus have significantly longer operating hours than LED A-type lamps, which are split equally between residential and commercial installations. Thus the 11.4 million directional lamps, which comprised 23 percent of all LED installations, provided 24 tBtu of energy savings per year (34 percent of the total LED energy savings realized for 2012), compared with 22 tBtu for A-type lamps (31 percent of the total electricity savings).
LED downlight fixtures and MR16 lamps also provided considerable energy savings, between them representing about 18 percent of the total savings and accounting for 21 percent of all LED installations. All together, the other applications — including decorative lamps, troffers and other common fluorescent fixtures, high-bay, and parking and streetlight luminaires — accounted for about 18 percent of the 2012 energy savings and about 15 percent of the total installations.
LED MR16 lamps had the highest LED penetration rate of any of the applications analyzed, representing about 10 percent of all MR16 installations in the U.S. The penetration rate of LED directional lamps was also among the highest, with an estimated 4.6 percent of all directional sockets having LED installations. By contrast, LEDs comprised less than one percent of A-type installations. The installation of LEDs increased in all nine of the applications over the previous few years. The biggest growth was seen in directional lamps, which went from 0.1 million in 2009 to 11.4 million last year — increasing by a factor of about 100. Over that same period, A-type lamps (from 0.4 million to 19.9 million) and MR16s (from 0.1 million to 4.8 million) both grew by roughly a factor of 50. The explosion in market penetration for these types of lamps was due to improvements in technology, coupled with the sheer numbers of installed sockets for those applications.
There are significant opportunities for energy savings across the markets analyzed. A total savings of about 1,146 tBtu per year is available in troffer and other common fluorescent fixture applications, followed by 822 tBtu in A-type, and 483 tBtu in high-bay. The high potential for LED lighting in troffer and high-bay applications stems from the vast efficiency improvements seen in both of these luminaire products, as well as the significant number of fixtures available for replacement and the high average operating hours. A-type lamps still hold significant energy savings potential due to the sheer numbers (well over three billion A-type lamps available for replacement with LED A-type products). Combined, LED troffer, high-bay fixture, and A-type lamp applications represent 63 percent of the total estimated energy saving potential.
If anything, this estimate of potential savings is understated, because it’s based on LED technology at peak 2012 performance levels, whereas because of continuing improvements, as more market share is captured in the future, the LED technology adopted will likely have better performance characteristics and contribute to even more significant energy savings. To see the full report, please visit www.ssl.energy.gov/tech_reports.html.