If ever there was a time to consider your lighting strategy it would be now. Arguably the hottest topic at the moment, and for good reason, the Climate Crisis we face is here. Taking care of the environment we call ours is a responsibility we should all prioritise. There are everyday practices most of us follow already, recycling, public transport, reducing single use plastic. Looking beyond these strategies most people are unaware of the technologies that can be adopted to help reduce your carbon emissions, LED lightingis one of these.
LED lighting has numerous environmental benefits as we outline below.
LED lighting is up to 80% more efficient than other forms of commercial and household lighting. 95% of the energy LED’s draw is converted into light with the remaining 5% converted and wasted as heat. Looking at Fluorescents, this is the exact opposite. 95% of the energy drawn by fluoros is wasted in heat with only 5% of the energy used for lighting. The amount of power drawn from LEDs is significantly lower too. To emit the same level of lighting, you can replace a typical 84-watt fluorescent with a 36-watt LED. The higher efficiency in energy and the lower power drawn reduces the requirement from power plants, reducing emissions.
Removal of Toxic Substances
LEDs contain no toxic substances. Fluorescents that are commonly used in commercial environments contain not only the poisonous and harmful metal mercury; they contain Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) which are carcinogens that can be found in the ballasts.
Around 91% of all fluorescent lights are crushed into landfills. When you consider that New Zealand dumps approximately 5.5 million lights a year, making the potential for approximately 500kg of mercury to be dumped into NZ landfills per year*. When fluorescent lights are broken, the mercury they contain can vaporize and contaminate the soils and leach into our water supply. Our NZ landfills are working to mitigate the leaching with over half installing an engineered lining to collect leachate and over 75% of the landfills have processes in place to collect any contaminated substances leaching into the water supply. However this toxic chemical is still making it into our landfills.
Reduction of Methylmercury
Methylmercury is a highly toxic agent. In nature, methylmercury forms in aquatic systems when anaerobic organisms (organisms that don’t need oxygen) feed on it. Unfortunately, landfills often imitate the same conditions so when fluorescent globes are dumped the mercury converts into methylmercury. The result can be concentrations of methylmercury in our environment up to 100 times the normal levels (as was the case with a landfill in Florida). Methylmercury is a bioaccumulate, which means it builds up in our food chain, and is most commonly ingested by eating fish.
Methylmercury is also created when coal is combusted to generate energy, as outlined above LED’s use far less energy than its competitors, therefore, reducing the need to burn as much coal at power plants.
Fewer lights required
LEDs, as compared to fluorescent lights, have better distribution and focus of light. Some lighting alternatives waste energy by lighting areas of the room that aren’t required, like the ceiling. This results in fewer LED lights required to achieve the same level of illumination produced by the alternatives. This again reduces your energy consumption benefitting the environment.
Increased life span
LEDs last 625% longer than fluorescents, depending on your usage they can last 10-12 years before they need changing. This life span has a knock-on-effect as fewer recourses are required to continually manufacture lighting, also reducing packaging and transportation resources.
*this is based on 46mg of mercury per light. Depending on the size and age of a fluorescent lamp mercury levels can vary from 2mg to 46mg per lamp. Newer fluorescent lamps contain around 2-6mg of mercury
How EEL can help
Eco Efficient Lighting (EEL) is a LED lighting specialist company that provides you with a subscription-based service that instantly reduces your energy costs, improves your workplace performance and contributes to a greener world. EEL is passionate about creating a user-friendly holistic service that lives with a conscious responsibility to our environment.
We recycle ALL fluorescent tubes we remove from your buildings.
EEL removes all your old, outdated fluorescent lights and ensures they are broken down and recycled appropriately. The toxic chemicals are removed and disposed of. If we recycle New Zealand’s 71 million fluorescent light bulbs, we not only assist in preventing mercury-pollution, but we also save 13,000 tonnes of glass, 500 tonnes of aluminium, 400 tonnes of other metals and 300 tonnes of phosphor powder.
We are a zero waste company which means we are working towards and committing to producing less waste. We prioritise reduction, recycling and reusing. We have a long term strategy in place to combat and control the rise in waste. Click the link hereto read more.
We are also a member of the Sustainable Business Network to read about that click here. In addition, T8LED adheres to the requirements of the European Union’s Directive 2002/95/EC on the restriction of hazardous substances (RoHS), which impacts all electronics industries and many electrical product manufacturers. This standard restricts the use of specific hazardous materials found in electricity related products including mercury.
For more information on us or to schedule a free consultation, please contact Hamish Coney today.