One of the largest drug store chains in America, Walgreens, has been on a mission in recent years. It’s goal? To target energy efficiency in its stores. Part of the most current activity is to change all of its huge outdoor lighted signage to LED lights. This comes during a time when the chain is also retrofitting much of its indoor lighting too. The result? A cooler, more comfortable experience for employees and shoppers, and a solid contribution to the environment.
Put simply, LED lighting saves energy; and saving energy reduces climate change. As Walgreens Director of Energy and sustainability, Menno Enters, stated, “As our footprint increased, the utility bill became more and more noticeable…we began to understand that we could control it.”
Households can follow Walgreens’ example
Lighting constitutes 19% of the world’s energy usage. And LED lighting uses 40% less energy than traditional lighting. It only makes sense, then, that there should be a major push for consumers to replace their conventional lighting with LED options. Imagine reducing the world’s energy costs by 40% and the impact that would have on reducing global warming.
Consumers do want to do their part in reducing energy consumption, but most of the solutions come at big expense. Replacing major appliances and windows is costly, even when governments and utility companies offer rebates and tax breaks. And it can be years before consumers realize the energy cost gains from making these changes.
“Lighting is a low-cost method for everyone to contribute to environmental health,” says Vu Tong, Content Marketing Manager of LED lighting manufacturer Cocoweb, “every consumer who makes the move to LED lighting makes a contribution.”
Early Adoption of LED lighting was not enthusiastic but that’s changing
“When LED lighting first hit the market, options were limited,” says Tong. “For the home, it was a bit brash and ugly, looking more like the fluorescent lighting we found in stores. We recognized this limitation early on, and responded by having our lighting collections designed and crafted by artists who can provide the aesthetics that consumers will love, to complement interior and outdoor designs. Over the years, the industry has evolved, and today’s options are wide and varied. Now the consumer can have any hue of lighting he wants.”
Add to all of these is newer technology with embedded sensors and wireless connections, and lighting can be remotely managed. For the homeowner, LED lighting that is “connected” can save as much as 80% of energy costs. And that savings can have a huge environmental impact, if we can move to universal implementation.
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Energy efficiency without sacrifice and high cost
We consumers are a stubborn breed. We give lip service to support for reducing our impact on climate change. We think hybrid and electric cars can help; we think moving to solar, wind and hydro power is great; we understand that methane gas produced by cow farts accounts for 30% of all methane emitted into the atmosphere.
But all of these options involve sacrifice and expense. So, our individual attitudes seem to be, “let others do it.” In short, consumers don’t want to sacrifice their current lifestyles, and they do not want to spend the money that some of those major changes may entail. Add to that the fact that, in oil-producing states in the U.S., there are restrictions on solar and wind conversions, because fossil fuel corporations wield so much power.
But the stubborn consumer can contribute to energy efficiency without changing his “convenient” lifestyle or damaging his pocketbook. That contribution can be in the wholesale switch to LED lighting throughout his home, inside and out. It is an inexpensive and cost-effective solution that actually puts more money in the consumer’s pocketbook immediately, in the form of lower monthly electricity bills.
LED lighting solutions have come a long way. Lighting fixtures within the home now come in all varieties of styles – formal and traditional, modern and eclectic, and everything in between. Every consumer can find LED-friendly lighting solutions to fit his/her style preferences.
Become a part of the solution
You owe it to your pocketbook and to the health of the planet to take this small step to reduce global warming. You can reduce your environmental footprint in a painless way and save on your utility bills.
Go through your home. If you have traditional lamps and fixtures, replace those traditional incandescent bulbs with energy efficient ones
“As you think about remodeling and renovation of rooms, what permanent lighting fixtures can you replace with LED fixtures?” asks Tong. “Ceiling lighting is the obvious choice. New LED fixtures are inexpensive and give you thousands of hours of lighting without ever having to change a bulb – no getting out the ladder to change burnt our bulbs.”
Once you have changed out your lighting, download an app to your phone that can control lighting remotely while you are not at home.
We all have a stake in the survival of our planet. When we can make simple and inexpensive changes that don’t require sacrifice and that contribute to planetary health,