We all realize that greenhouse gases are causing climate changes. Most of us want to help combat climate change in some way, and there is an easy way for us to do so. Switch to LED light bulbs.
One company, Ikea, is making it easy to only buy LED lights. By Sept. 1, it will only sell LED light bulbs and lighting, the retailer announced on Monday. The announced fulfills a commitment Ikea made in 2012. Since 2013, the retailer’s U.S. customers purchased 7.6 million LED bulbs, collectively saving almost $3 billion in energy costs.
The announcement also marks Ikea’s move away from the LED’s energy-sipping cousin, the compact fluorescent (CFL) bulb. While CFLs last longer than incandescents and use less energy, LEDs perform even better while avoiding mercury woes.
“LED is a light revolution,” said Steve Howard, chief sustainability officer for Ikea Group, in a statement. “With household electricity bills continuing to rise rapidly and global energy consumption increasing, the LED lighting will have a big impact. Building on our belief that everyone should be able to afford to live more sustainably at home, we will make sure our LED prices are affordable for the many.”
The basics of LEDs
How much do most of us really know about LEDs? Did you know that LED stands for light-emitting diodes? They are semiconductor devices producing visible light when an electrical current passes through them. LEDs are more efficient, durable and versatile compared to incandescent bulbs, while using 85 percent less energy.
If 1 million people swapped just one light bulb for an LED, “this would be equivalent to taking 6,700 cars off the road or planting 17 million trees per year,” said Lars Petersson, Ikea U.S. president. The widespread use of LEDs could save about 348 terrawatt-hours of electricity, the Energy.gov website states. That is the equivalent of the annual electricity output of 44 large electric power plants and amounts to a savings of over $30 billion at current electricity prices. In other words, ditching conventional light bulbs can have a real impact on the environment.
Did you know that the use of LEDs by Americans is increasing? Ikea U.S. conducted studies in both 2012 and 2015 and found that consumers are more open to buying LED bulbs and lighting. In 2015, 64 percent of Americans bought at least one LED light bulb, compared to 49 percent in 2012. In 2015, 51 percent of Americans bought several LED light bulbs, compared to 39 percent in 2012.
There is room for more education concerning LED lighting, the Ikea studies found. A whopping total of 68 percent of Americans in 2015 didn’t know that LED bulbs can last an average of 20 years, and 34 percent didn’t know that LEDs use less electricity than other types of light bulbs.
Image credit: Flickr/Anton Fomkin