Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE), a U.S.-based leader in Light Emitting Diode (LED) solid-state lighting components, and the City of Raleigh, NC, have formed a joint initiative to test, deploy and promote LED lighting technology. The “LED City” initiative is designed to create a “living laboratory” to deliver the economic, environmental and usage benefits of LED lighting to the residents of Raleigh. As part of the commitment to creating an “LED City,” Raleigh plans to deploy LED lighting, through its living-laboratory initiative, to serve a number of lighting applications, including garage and parking lot lights, street lights, architectural and accent lighting, portable lighting and pedestrian and walkway lighting over the next 18 months.
LEDs are one of the world’s most energy efficient light sources and the newest models deliver approximately 70 lumens per watt, using approximately 17% and 50% of the energy consumption of incandescent and compact fluorescent (CFL) lamps, respectively. The LED's, with a lifetime of over 50,000 hours, last more than 20 times longer than incandescent and 5 times longer than CFL bulbs, which lowers maintenance costs. Cree's LEDs are now used in products for residential as well as commercial and industrial use.
Cree claims their advantage is in the materials they use. Cree LEDs combine highly efficient InGaN materials with proprietary G•SIC® substrates that they claim deliver superior price/performance for high-intensity LEDs.Their LED's are claimed to handle more power in a smaller space while producing less heat than other available technologies, materials and products.
The first project in Raleigh is focused on validating both the cost savings and technology capabilities of LEDs through an installation of LED lighting in the City’s Municipal Building parking deck. Cree, the City of Raleigh and Lighting Science Group Corporation (OTCBB: LSGP) of Dallas, TX, announced initial results of this project. LED-based lighting fixtures were installed in the Raleigh Municipal Building parking deck in December 2006; the floor equipped with LED lights uses over 40 percent less energy than the standard lighting system and the quality of light in the garage is greatly improved. It's expected the energy savings will result in a payback of about three years, even though the lights cost far more than conventional fixtures.
“The economic benefits for municipalities to invest in LEDs are clear – they save energy, reduce environmental impact and improve the quality of light.” stated Charles Meeker, Raleigh mayor. “We believe that the cost savings and benefits of LED lighting are real and achievable today.”
“Raleigh’s progressive commitment to becoming the first ‘LED City’ will no doubt serve as a model for other cities seeking to improve energy consumption and reduce negative impacts on the environment. We commend Cree and the City of Raleigh for helping support our mission of achieving a healthier economy, a cleaner environment and greater energy security” commented Kateri Callahan, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance to Save Energy (ASE).
LED Lighting Fixtures Inc. (LLF) produces, available late spring 2007, a six-inch down light for residential and commercial markets using XLamp XR-E power LEDs from Cree. LED technology generates light in a new way and LLF’s product is the first LED recessed down light to deliver approximately 650 lumens from a fixture at 10-12 watts. The product also features excellent color rendering, can to be used in a standard six inch recessed housing and it is dimmable.
Neal Hunter, LLF’s CEO, stated, “Our introduction of a viable LED product for general illumination will have historic implications for the lighting industry. This is the first lighting fixture to rival the output, appearance and lighting quality of a 65 watt incandescent product while offering a justifiable cost of ownership. We believe LED lighting for the mainstream has finally been enabled and LLF has invented a way. This unprecedented technology will not only change the industry, but also reshape the way the average consumer views lighting.”
Approximately 22 percent of the electricity consumed in the United States goes toward lighting, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. If 25 percent of the lightbulbs in the United States were converted to LEDs putting out 70 lumens per watt, the country as a whole could save $55 billion in utility costs, cumulatively, by 2025. That would alleviate the need to build 65 new coal-burning power stations. Future LEDs are expected to have twice the
efficiency lumens per watt doubling these savings. This is one of the easiest ways to save energy, why don't we see more efforts in this direction?
Thanks to Tyler at Clean Break for the tip.