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A decade or more ago, experts were examining America’s consumption of world resources and in particular energy. The study revealed that despite making up barely 5% of the world’s population, America was consuming 20% of its energy. The question asked by this experts was not how to curb American excess, but what if China, with its 1.5 billion inhabitants consumed at the same rate as the world’s number 1 economy.

Today we are steadily getting closer to that point, but in terms of lighting at least, there is a solution. In 2015, India launched the Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme or DELP which was designed to distribute 770 million LED light bulbs to houses across the country in order to reduce energy usage. Are LEDs the solution to global energy consumption? This article investigates.


A World of Consumption

If we want to understand how the world is consuming energy and relate it to lighting, we need to look at electricity usage. The Indian gambit, 770 million LED bulbs is aimed at cutting its consumption. Across the world, we use 19,320,360,620 MWh of electricity a  year. This works out at 313 MWh per person per year. The top users of electricity by total usage across the world are:



 Total Usage

 Per Person






 United States of America




























 South Korea








 United Kingdom




The most important stats to consider here are the per person electricity usage statistics. America uses 1,683 MWh per capita compared to 101 in India and 458 in China. To put this into perspective, if the per capita usage in China was the same as America, it would use more energy than the whole world combined right now.

It is worth noting that these statistics do not calculate what percentage is dedicated to lighting per country, though the global average is thought to be 5%. A lot of the countries with the biggest gross numbers are countries with sizeable populations, in addition to this developed and developing countries in either very cold or very hot conditions tend to have the highest per person electricity use levels suggesting the use of air conditioning or heating appliances.


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The Spread of Energy Efficient LED Lighting

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In 2015 the global LED market reach was expected to hit 31% with a total market value of $26.7 billion. This is up from 18% in 2013 according to General Electric. The adoption of energy efficient lighting is being driven by domestic and business sales on the open market with Japan and Europe being the fastest growing markets. It is pretty easy to see - LED Light Bulbs are the wave of the future, providing not only economical savings, but also placing less of an environmental impact on the Earth as well.

There are many places where LEDs are growing, it is partly down to consumers and businesses, and partly down to governments. These stats also show the potential for growth in LED sales and implementation, as well as how we can continue to reduce overall energy consumption. With the cost saving benefits that LED Strip Lights, flood lights and other LED technologies have to offer, its no wonder they're becoming so popular. Here’s a few examples:

* 19 million out of 140 million streetlights fitted in 2013 were LEDS.

* 2 million luminaires were installed into tunnels and roadways in 2012.

* LEDs now represent 40% of the domestic, home lighting market (2011).

* Forbes are predicting the LED market share will grow to 70% by 2020.

* LED street lighting would cut costs by up to 85%.

These reports go on to say that the major driver in LED usage and therefore more energy efficient lighting will be Asia, which is expected by McKinsey to make up 45% of the global general lighting market by 2020 with consumption fueled by China, Japan, and India. As these nations continue to increase their demand of electricity, and ultimately lighting, it only makes sense to begin infrastructure upgrades to energy efficient lighting to meet the needs of citizens.

While it is great to realise LEDs are a fantastic option for reducing your energy consumption, the many choices of lighting options can be overwhelming. LED Panel lights are great for use in office buildings where traditional fluorescent bulbs are used. Likewise, energy efficient LED spotlights are great for use in the kitchen at home.

The Global Lighting Revolution

Businesses and governments are coming together in private-public partnerships to create greener cities through the use of LED lighting. In addition to India’s DELP initiative, companies are committing to promoting LED bulbs, while partnerships are taking aim at cutting the role of lighting in global emissions to below its current 5%. The aim, according to The Guardian, is to flood the market with 10 billion bulbs by 2020 with half of those being sold around China. It does seem that market forces - consumer demand mixed with businesses advancing LED technology has made governments and big businesses sit up and take notice. Expect LEDs to form a greater part of the world’s lighting and to help cut energy consumption at the same time.

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GE Lighting Sees Brighter Future with LED Growth, 2013,

Gerdes, Justin, 2012, LED Street Lighting Delivers Up To 85% Energy Savings, Forbes.

Global Energy Statistical Yearbook 2015, Enerdata

Neslan, Arthur, Plan for 10 Billion Ultra-Efficient LEDs Lights Up Paris Climate Summit, The Guardian

Sharwood, Simon, 2016, India Orders 770 Million LED Light Bulbs, Prices Drop 83 Per Cent, The Register.

Yu, Henry, 2015, Global LED Lighting Trends Reveal Significant Growth and Product Development, LED Journal.