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Energy Saving Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 5401 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The Carbon Trust Applied Research and Incubator schemes has over the years through their Low Carbon Technology Assessment given a clear indication of their technology priorities and this have been determined on the basis of the carbon saving potential of each technology and the extent to which the Carbon Trust support is likely to have a significant impact on progress towards its commercial deployment. This they do considering the increasing amount of carbon pollution in the environment which has led to a pile up of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) and has made climate change a great concern for the entire world.

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According to the Pew Centre (2011) nearly all of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the residential and commercial sectors can be attributed to energy use in buildings and lighting accounts for about 11% of energy use in residential buildings and 18% in commercial buildings, which means it uses the second largest amount of energy in buildings after heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Thus adjustments to lighting systems can be straightforward and achieve substantial cost savings consequently; addressing lighting can be a simple way to reduce a building’s energy use and related GHG in a cost-effective manner. This can be achieved according to the Pew Centre (2011) in two ways: Conservation; through minimizing the amount of time lights are in use; Efficiency; improvements that reduce the amount of energy used to light a given space, generally using a more efficient lighting technology.

Lighting is a large and rapidly growing source of energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions. In 2005 grid-based electricity consumption for lighting was 2650 TWh worldwide, which was about 19% of the total global electricity consumption. Furthermore, each year 55 billion litres of gasoline and diesel are used to operate vehicle lights. More than one-quarter of the population of the world uses liquid fuel (kerosene oil) to provide lighting (IEA 2006). Global electricity consumption for lighting is distributed approximately 28% to the residential sector, 48% to the service sector, 16% to the industrial sector, and 8% to street and other lighting.

In the industrialized countries, national electricity consumption for lighting ranges from 5% to 15%, on the other hand, in developing countries the value can be as high as 86% of the total electricity use (Mills 2002).

More efficient use of the energy used for lighting would limit the rate of increase of electric power consumption, reduce the economic and social costs resulting from the construction of new generating capacity, and reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants into the environment. At the moment fluorescent lamps dominate in office lighting. In domestic lighting the dominant light source is still the inefficient incandescent lamp, which is more than a century old. At the moment, important factors concerning lighting are energy efficiency, daylight use, individual control of light, quality of light, emissions during the life-cycle, and total costs.

Efficient lighting has been found in several studies to be a cost effective way to reduce CO2 emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for non-residential buildings concluded that energy efficient lighting is one of the measures covering the largest potential and also providing the cheapest mitigation options. Among the measures that have potential for CO2 reduction in buildings, energy efficient lighting comes first largest in developing countries, second largest in countries with their economies in transition, and third largest in the industrialized countries (Ürge-Vorsatz, Novikova & Levine 2008).

The report by McKinsey (McKinsey 2008) shows the cost-effectiveness of lighting systems in reducing CO2 emissions; see Figure 1.1. The global “carbon abatement cost curve” provides a map of the world’s abatement opportunities ranked from the least-cost to the highest-cost options. This cost curve shows the steps that can be taken with technologies that either are available today or look very likely to become available in the near future. The width of the bars indicates the amount of CO2 emissions that we could abate while the height shows the cost per ton abated. The lowest-cost opportunities appear on the left of the graph.


Figure1.1- Costs of different CO2 abatement opportunities. (McKinsey 2008)

The background above shows clearly that it is not possible to make a decision in one question without considering the others. A holistic view takes into account all energy flows in the building over time in order to reach a sustainable approach (Diemer, 2008). In order to build high performance buildings (WBDG, 2008) we have to consider all the different design processes and aspects of buildings (see figure 1.2) and how buildings are used by owners and users.


Figure 1.2- Global objectives for High Performance Buildings. (WBDG, 2008)


According to Pew Centre (2011) lighting accounts for about 11% of energy use in residential buildings and 18% in commercial buildings, thus the need to conserve light use and adopt more efficient technologies can yield substantial savings. In addition to that it can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and give benefits like better reading and working conditions as well as reduced light pollution.

Carbon emission through the greenhouse gas effect remains the singular problem the whole world is facing due to the increased use of fossil fuels and use of traditional technologies in lightings at homes or in commercial buildings, as well as many buildings still remaining brown instead of going green. In order to achieve the reduction of carbon in the earth’s atmosphere as well as other greenhouse gases a lot of industries have sprung up in the clean or renewable energy sector. One of those elements of the industry according to the US Department for Energy (2012) is the energy efficiency sector, which may not seem flashy or significant at first glance but is quietly spurring innovation while cutting costs and saving jobs across the country as more industry leaders are turning to innovative energy efficiency techniques to reduce energy bills and produce affordable products.

New lighting technologies are many times more efficient than traditional technologies such as incandescent bulbs and switching to newer technologies can result in substantial net energy use reduction, and associated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The US Department of Energy in a study in 2008 revealed that using light emitting diodes (LEDs) for niche purposes in which it is currently feasible would save enough electricity to equal the output of 27 coal power plants.

This project would give a description on researches on different lighting efficiency methods which can be used in Carbon emission reduction and energy conservation, as well as also help commercial firms cut costs so that they are able to produce affordable products and also help save more jobs in the present economic recession still biting most firms in top industrialised countries of the world.



APASI ENERGY COMPANY LIMITED is a global leader in renewable energy solution, the company was established in 1993 with its specialization in Lighting Efficiency Solutions and Technology. Having been in operation in Edinburgh(UK) and most countries in Europe for the past 20years, and conducts researches that span over green technologies like power engineering, lighting technology, environment pollution and management, and more recently carbon technology.

The company offers the most suitable environmental strategy to meet specific environmental, comfort, energy and cost criteria. Using computational methods backed by our practical, performance-based approach we can assess various options of environmental strategies giving greater flexibility to architectural design.

Areas of expertise include:

Environmental façade design and optimisation – analyse performance of façade options including heat transfer, solar gains, day-lighting, and ventilation.

Low energy building design – assess different designs including advice on building form and natural ventilation strategies to aid the passive low energy design.

Renewable and low carbon technologies – investigate alternative technologies that best suit the project needs, including façade integrated low carbon solutions.

Since the commencement of business, our shareholders have undertaken a substantial programme of investment in order to enable the company to meet the rapidly developing needs for energy utilization through lighting technology, with all emphasis in technological innovation and total efficiency, we have maximised the environmental and economic performance of our resources, which has made us excel in the energy market and meet our customers’ needs.


Lighting according represents at times up to 25% of home electrical use and it can affect the way one feels, work and interact with others. It helps accomplish everyday tasks and it is also a significant part of one’s monthly utility bill. Efficient lighting would thus come in useful since it is a form of science as well as an art, despite the fact that most people still use the incandescent bulb, a technology invented some 100 years ago by Thomas Edison. Since lighting thus plays an important part in home electrical use and carbon emission from residential and commercial buildings, increasing one’s lighting efficiency is thus one of the easiest and fastest ways to lower energy bills (http://www.energy.ca.gov/efficiency/lighting/).

Lighting or Energy efficiency can thus be defined as the optimisation of energy consumption, with no sacrifice in lighting quality. It is a combination of thoughtful design and selection of appropriate lamp, luminaire and control system selection made in conjunction with informed choices of the illumination level required, integration and awareness of the environment or space which is being lit (http://www.energyrating.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/2009-ref-manual-lighting.pdf).


This part of the proposal would mention the popular ways to reduce the amount of energy consumed by lighting systems and the following discussed options give a range of conservation options that can reduce the use of artificial lighting (source: Pew Centre, 2011) :

Behavioural Change

This would mean a change in attitude of energy users whether in residential and commercial buildings. Turning off lights when they are not being used reduces energy use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electricity, and utility bills. It may include turning off lights in unoccupied rooms or where there is adequate natural light. Adjusting artificial light output can also provide energy savings; for example, using task lighting (e.g., a desk lamp) rather than room lighting can reduce the number of fixtures in use, and dimmers allow lights to be used at maximum capacity when necessary and at low capacity.


Timers and sensors can reduce light usage to the necessary level; these options use technology to mimic the behavioural change described above. Sensors are used to serve different purposes in this model of light energy efficiency and they are of different kinds:

Occupancy sensors: This help ensure that lights are only on when they are being actively used. Infrared sensors can detect heat and motion, and ultrasonic sensors can detect sound. Both must be installed correctly to ensure that they are sensitive to human activity rather than other activity in the vicinity (such as ambient noise). Some estimates suggest that occupancy sensors can reduce energy use by 45%, while other estimates are as high as 90%.

Photo sensors: They use ambient light to determine the level of light output for a fixture. For example, photo-sensors might be used to turn outdoor lights off during daylight hours.


By improving the substantial amount of natural light that comes into a building, the need for artificial lighting is reduced and it may only become a supplement for use at night or when otherwise needed. Also in reducing GHG emissions through building design, it is important to take a holistic approach that considers not just how design affects natural light, but also the heating and cooling requirements for the building.

When artificial lighting is necessary, choosing efficient technologies can effectively reduce electricity use and related GHG emissions. In choosing among the available technologies, it is important to consider several factors, including the quality of lighting needed, the frequency of use, and the environment in which the light is being used (e.g., indoor or outdoor). The following types of lighting and fixtures are most common in buildings:


These bulbs emit light when an electrical current causes a tungsten filament to glow; however, 90% of the energy used for the bulb is emitted as heat rather than light, making these bulbs the least efficient for most household purposes when evaluating them on a lumen (amount of light emitted) output to energy input basis. Halogen bulbs are a type of incandescent that are slightly more efficient than standard incandescent but less efficient than most other alternatives.


These emit light when an electric current causes an internal gas-filled chamber to fill with ultraviolet (UV) light, which is then emitted as visible light through a special kind of coating on the tube. All fluorescent bulbs require ballast, a component that regulates the current going through the lamp. Ballasts can be integrated into the bulb, as is the case for most CFLs (allowing them to be used interchangeably with most incandescent bulbs) or non-integrated, which require the ballast to be part of the fixture, as is the case for many fluorescent tubes used in schools and offices. Ballasts come in two varieties: magnetic (which are older and less efficient) and electronic (which are newer and much more efficient).

Both CFLs and Fluorescent tubes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and efficiencies (see Figure 1 for a diagram of a typical CFL bulb). They generally use 75% less energy than incandescent light bulbs. A CFL produces between 50-70 lumens per watt, compared to the 10-19 lumens per watt for an incandescent bulb. They are also long-lasting products, with a lifetime of 10,000 hours for CFLs and a lifetime of 7,000-24,000 hours for tubes. Incandescent bulbs, by comparison, have a lifetime of 750-2500 hours.


Figure 1: Diagram of CFL Bulb (Source: U.S. EPA/ DOE Energy Star Program. “Learn about Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs” http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls_about).


HID Lamps come in several varieties with widespread applications. They emit light when a current-also regulated through ballast-is passed between two electrodes on either end of a gas-filled tube. Mercury, sodium, or metal halide gas can be used, each with different colour outputs, lifetimes, and applications. These types of lights are not appropriate for all types of areas and use; for instance, HID lamps have a long start-up period-up to ten minutes-and are best used in areas where lighting must be sustained for several hours (e.g., on sports fields or for street lights). In general, HID bulbs are 75-90% more efficient than incandescent bulbs and have a long lifetime.


Though these types of lamps are among the most efficient available for outdoor use, they are only useful for certain applications because of their long start-up time, cool-down time, and poor colour rendition. Low-pressure sodium lamps are typically used for street or highway lighting, parking garages, or other security lighting. Because of their niche application, they are not typically considered as a substitute for other types of less efficient bulbs.


In light-emitting diodes, electrons and electron holes (atoms that lack an electron) combine, releasing energy in the form of light. This technology has been around for several decades, but many applications of LEDs for lighting have only recently become available commercially as improved colour renditions have been developed and costs reduced. LED fixtures use 75-80% less electricity than incandescent bulbs, and can have a lifespan 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.

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In this emerging technology, a roof-mounted solar collector sends the visible portion of solar energy into light-conducting optical cables, where it is piped to interior building spaces. Controllers monitor the availability of solar light and supplement it as necessary with fluorescent lights to provide the desired illumination levels at each location. Early experiments show that hybrid lighting is a viable option for lighting on the top two floors of most commercial buildings. This technology has other promising benefits as well. The solar collector on the rooftop can separate visible light from infrared radiation; the visible light can then be used for lighting, and the infrared radiation can be used for other purposes, such as to produce electricity, for hot water heating, or for a space heating unit. Because the energy is split, less heat energy is wasted in lighting; it is instead used for other energy-consuming items within the building.


This are the next generation of light energy efficiency technologies which make use of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), or light-emitting polymers are commonly referred to as solid-state lighting (SSL). Unlike incandescent or fluorescent lamps, which create light with filaments and gases encased in a glass bulb, solid-state lighting consists of semi-conductors that convert electricity into light (http://www.lrc.rpi.edu/programs/solidstate/SSLWhat.asp). According to a US Department of Energy (DOE) estimate no other lighting technology offers the same level of potential to reduce energy use in the future like the SSL. The DOE estimates that energy savings in 2030 from SSL could reach 190 TWh, the annual electrical output of 24 large power plants (1,000MW). This they estimate would result in 31.4 million metric ton reduction of carbon and $15 billion in energy savings by 2030.


The purpose of this research is to know the best possible lighting technology that would guarantee energy efficiency and help reduce carbon emission from residential and commercial buildings. Investigation of the best lighting efficiency technology would be the significant part of the research and the results from it would help form the basis for the next generation of energy efficient technologies that would be used in homes, offices and industries to help save costs, keep jobs and reduce global carbon emission.

The research would thus embark on finding out the most cost effective and energy efficient technology that can be used in buildings and how CO2 and light pollution can be reduced especially using next generation technologies like the LEDs and Solid-State Lighting (SSLs).


In terms of product innovation and its application, the Light emitting diodes (LED) and particularly the Solid-State Lighting (SSL) would be the innovative products to be developed to maintain energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions as they are set to make valued contributions over the next 30 years. It is estimated that energy savings over the next three decades from SSL could reach 190TWh which is the annual electrical output of 24 large power plants which would in turn reduce 31.4 million metric ton of carbon released in the earth’s atmosphere. LED lighting systems have proved useful in indicator applications such as exit signs and traffic signals due to their brightness, visibility and long-life, while new uses include small-area lighting, pathway and step marking and are set to be the lightings for entire walls and ceilings in future.

The Solid-state lighting (SSL) on its part is increasingly used in a variety of lighting applications because it offers the following benefits:

Long Life – LEDs can provide 50,000 hours or more of life, which can reduce maintenance costs. In comparison, an incandescent light bulb lasts approximately 1,000 hours.

Energy Savings – The best commercial white LED lighting systems provide three times the luminous efficacy (lumens per watt) of incandescent lighting. Colour LEDs are especially advantageous for coloured lighting applications because filters are not needed.

Better Quality Light Output – LEDs have minimum ultraviolet and infrared radiation.

Intrinsically Safe – LED systems are low voltage and generally cool to the touch.

Smaller, flexible light fixtures – The small size of LEDs makes them useful for lighting tight spaces and for creating unique applications.

Durable – LEDs have no filament to break and can withstand vibrations.

Source: .


There is a varying market base for products developed using the ethos of lighting energy efficiency particularly the LEDs and SSLs which are the next generation of lighting efficiency products to hit the market and are expected to great help reduce carbon emissions by reducing the amount of electrical power generated for homes and businesses. The following groups of market users are identified:

Home users: Products from lighting energy efficiency can be used by home owners and individuals to reduce the amount of electrical power they consume at home through lighting. This they already do through the use of sensors in their lighting systems that detect human voice, noise or activity before turning on the lighting in places within the home. More products like the LEDs can further be developed to be used in most lighting at home to further reduce energy consumptions in residential buildings.

Business leaders: There is the chance for business leaders in different industries to reduce the amount of energy they consume in their offices or industrial places. Lighting energy efficiency can help cut by as much as 30% in some cases of the energy an industrial plant consumes hence saving the company costs and also helping to keep jobs.

Investor: This group of stakeholders would like to know the level of profit available in this kind of project and would be interested when they find the huge potential inherent in lighting efficiency technology and would be excited by the next generation of technology in the field such as the LEDs and SSLs.

Regulator/Government: Government of most industrialized nations like the United States are committed to making consumers and businesses go green and save money and costs by reducing the energy they consume. They sponsor researches into the development of new LED lighting technologies that would help reduce power generation from government and power producers. Thus this research been done and products developed from it would help government in sensitizing people on new information or products to help them go green and be efficient in their energy consumption thereby reducing carbon emission and act as a regulatory tool for sustainable development.


The research project when completed would see APASI ENERGY COMPANY LIMITED make use of its outcome to develop products in collaboration with other researchers, manufacturers, utility companies that are interested and government to devise schemes were the products would be tested to rate their efficiency and thus facilitate a broad adoption of LED technology across Scotland and indeed the UK. Also professionals in business and marketing would be brought on at a later date to help fashion out marketing strategies to help permeate home and business consumers of electrical power to take on the new products so as to reduce their energy consumptions and save them costs.


In terms of energy and carbon savings, the efficient use of lighting in residential and commercial buildings would go a long way in ensuring that happens. Energy conservation and efficient use of lightings would greatly reduce carbon emissions associated with lighting significantly. At the level of individual households and businesses, conservation and efficiency measures can lower utility bills, and broader use of lighting efficiency technology across the society can result in Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions and environmental benefits derived from reduced demand for electricity. For example Candescent Fluorescent (CFLs) use 75% less energy and LEDs use 75 to 80% less energy than incandescent light bulbs; substituting these products for traditional lighting technologies, for example, can reduce net energy use.

The continued widespread use of efficient lighting technologies like the Solid-state lighting technology would be essential for GHG emission reductions with a 2008 study by the US Department of Energy revealing that replacing LEDs from their current niche uses would save enough electricity to equal the output of 27 coal power plants and reduce 31.4 million metric ton of carbon by 2030. Estimates by global market research company McKinsey & Co. also note that LED technology increase such as switching from incandescent and CFL bulbs to LEDs by 2030 would provide GHG emission reductions from lower energy consumptions and also cost-effective over the life-time of the bulbs.

Asides from the benefits of lighting efficiency to global climate, its other benefits include lower utility bills to consumers, reduced light pollution and better reading and working conditions.



Reduced Energy Bills: The use of timers and sensors in lightings of buildings can go a long way in reducing electricity consumption from its use and this can result in net savings for homes and businesses through lower utility bills.

Longer Life: LEDs provide a longer lasting life when used compared to incandescent bulbs. The LEDs can last for up to 50,000 hours compared to the incandescent ones that last for 1,000 hours hence there is a reduction in maintenance costs for businesses and home users.

GHG Emission Reductions: Using efficient lighting technologies and energy conservation can result in the reduction of carbon emitted by residential and commercial buildings. The particular adoption of SSLs is estimated in the next 30 years to be a major technology in reducing the amount of electrical power generated from both non-renewable and renewable energy sources thus reducing the emission of carbon into the atmosphere.

Carbon Trading: When successful developed and deployed across the UK, efficient lighting technology can help the Scotland and the whole UK save a lot of carbon which could have been emitted into the atmosphere. With new global plans to establish a global carbon market, that would give the UK lots of carbon to be traded in the carbon market.


Sensors/Lighting Control: Sensors are not always able to detect and match needs of the occupants because they are often located far from the area of occupancy especially in the ceilings and cannot necessarily gauge lighting needs closer to the ground.

Upfront Costs: This pose a particularly notable barrier, though lighting technologies and practices pay for themselves over time due to their long lasting life-time – some of them particularly new edge technologies have huge up-front costs that consumers, businesses and local councils may be unwilling to pay. Also, products like the Hybrid solar lighting (HSL) has existed for decades but cost considerations have thus far made widespread adoption infeasible.

Mercury Use: Scepticism about the quality of CFL bulbs has deterred many customers though manufacturers have been able to address such concerns like its poor reflectors and noisy nature, but concerns are still high amongst consumers about the use of mercury in it. CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury in each bulb – less than 1/100 of the amount in an older thermometer.

Carbon Reduction: The project looks at how carbon emission can be reduced through lighting efficiency and due to the fact that carbon emission amounts to about 11% from homes and about 18% from commercial buildings totalling 29% between the two, efficient lighting technologies as presently used cannot reduce the entire global GHG emissions.


SSLs: The Solid-State Lighting products when fully researched and deployed have the potential to solve lots of the problems associated with light pollution and carbon emissions from residential and commercial buildings as well as saving costs. It also would greatly reduce carbon emission into the atmosphere by reducing the amount of electrical power consumed hence in turn reducing the amount of electrical power needed to be produced.

Regulatory Tool: This research project would help regulatory bodies better provide policies and regulations that would drive businesses and homes to become greener and save energy. It would also ensure that industries emit less carbon and thus reduce the amount of pollution going into the atmosphere.


Competition: There is the possible threat of competition from rival firms once this research project is made public, as they may want to produce such products. Also there is possible competition from other countries in the world who may want first mover advantage in producing technologies like the SSL which is the future of the lighting efficiency technology industry.

Utility Companies: Companies which sell utilities like electricity may see the development of the SSL lighting technology as a threat as it is estimated to reduce electrical energy consumption in homes and businesses amounting to up to the equivalent of 27 power plants in the next 30 years, hence they may not be cooperative in collaborating to testing the development of the new products in pilot schemes amongst their consumers to be able to generate data on the amount of electrical usage the use of SSL technology actually reduces so as to also know how much carbon emission that reduces from the power plants.

Payback Periods: The payback period for the use of lighting technology also vary in length and building occupants may be reluctant to install efficient lighting technologies if they will be vacating the buildings before they can reap the full benefits of these technologies.

Market Entry Barrier: There is a huge market barrier to new entrants in the lighting efficiency technology market hence the need for funding. To research and also make many of the new technologies in the lighting industry requires costs hence new entrants find it difficult to break into the market or even have enough funds to carry out research on next generation of technologies.


The research project team is a multidisciplinary one which has experts on low energy consumption technology, engineering, environment scien


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