Feeds

Energy-saving LEDs 'will not save energy', say boffins

Photon-hoggish humanity set for orgy of illumination

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Federal boffins in the States say that the brave new future in which today's 'leccy-guzzling lights are replaced by efficient LEDs may not, in fact, usher in massive energy savings.

This is because, according to the scientists' research, people are likely to use much more lighting as soon as this becomes practical. The greater scope for cheap illumination offered by LEDs will simply mean that people have more lights and leave them on for longer.

"Presented with the availability of cheaper light, humans may use more of it, as has happened over recent centuries with remarkable consistency following other lighting innovations," says Jeff Tsao of the Sandia National Laboratory. "That is, rather than functioning as an instrument of decreased energy use, LEDs may be instead the next step in increasing human productivity and quality of life."

According to Tsao and his colleagues at Sandia, the fraction of gross domestic product spent on lighting has remained constant as candles were replaced by oil lamps, then again in the transition to the gaslight era, then yet again with the arrival of electric lighting. What changed with each of these innovations was that lighting became more and more common.

"Over the past three centuries, according to well-accepted studies from a range of sources, the world has spent about 0.72 percent of the world's per capita gross domestic product on artificial lighting," says Tsao. "This is so for England in 1700, in the underdeveloped world not on the grid and in the developed world using the most advanced lighting technologies. There may be little reason to expect a different future response from our species."

In particular, Tsao expects that an ageing population will resort to brighter lighting as its eyesight deteriorates.

"Improvements in light-efficient technologies may not be enough to affect energy shortages and climate change," says Tsao's fellow Sandia boffin Jerry Simmons. "Enlightened policy decisions may be necessary to partner with the technologies to have big impacts."

Read all about it here courtesy of the Journal of Physics D. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?