How LED Lighting Can Save Our Planet – And Why It’s Not Happening

By Shlomo Maital  


 I recently spent considerable time with a group of dedicated entrepreneurs trying to change how Israelis light their homes and businesses.  LED bulbs cut electricity consumption by an order of magnitude.  That is, by 10 times.  (See Table).  And LED bulbs last virtually forever (more than 30 times longer in life span than a conventional incandescent bulb, 50,000 hours vs. 1,500 hours).  Problem is, LED bulbs are expensive.  They cost $20 per bulb, compared to $1.50 for an ordinary bulb.  

   So here’s the deal.  Replace your incandescent 60 watt bulb with an LED bulb.  Spend $20, instead of $1.50. (Ouch! You say).  Over a 50,000 hour lifetime,  (68 months, or 5 2/3 years) you spend (on bulbs and on electricity) only $90, compared to $940 for incandescent bulbs.  You save $850! 

  It should be a no-brainer. Yet a constellation of forces (people’s unwillingness to spend $20 on a bulb, the local Electric Co.’s resistance, etc.) keep LED bulbs from replacing regular ones. 

   LED means light emitting diode.  Instead of an incandescent filament, a light emitting diode creates the light, within an aluminum-and-glass frame.  It lasts forever. It is bright. And it is ecological. 

   So how in the world to convince the system to embrace LED?