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Quick Facts

Lighting and Energy Consumption

  • Residential Lighting - The dominant source of electric-powered lighting used in residential applications is the very inefficient incandescent lamp. Therefore, the potential exists to substantially reduce energy consumption in residential applications through development of higher efficacy light sources.


  • Commercial Lighting - Electric-powered lighting in commercial buildings accounts for 15% of the total energy used and over 25% of the electricity consumed in the buildings sector.


  • The commercial sector uses almost 3.5 times as much electric power for lighting as the residential sector—3.73 quads vs. 1.09 quads (quad: one quadrillion BTUs).


  • Lighting is the single highest consumer of electricity among all commercial building systems.


  • The U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE) has established the goal of reducing energy used for electric-powered lighting by 50% by the year 2010.


  • The current domestic market for lamps (light bulbs), ballasts, lighting fixtures, and lighting controls is about $12 billion. Globally, this market is about $40 billion.


  • The total electrical energy used for lighting equals the output of about 100 large power plants.1 The cost of this electricity is about $55 billion.


  • Solid-State Lighting (SSL) - The US DOE predicts that when SSL reaches projected efficiencies, the United States will save annually the output of about 30 large power plants, or about 6-7% of our country's total electrical energy usage. This will result in a savings of $17 billion in annual electricity costs (at today's rates). Accompanying environmental benefits are large and include a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 155 million tons, and about a million tons in combined nitrous oxides and sulfur dioxide.


1 A large power plant is one with an output of 1000 MW of electrical energy.
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