Keep the lights on and reap the benefits

Sponsored content: Lighting company Signify is calling on leaders to prioritise energy efficiency across sectors

A smart parking system set up in Albany, New York (Photo: Signify)


Immediate reductions in carbon emissions are possible by transitioning to connected LED technology.

Signify, a global innovator in lighting, is urging national governments and municipal leaders to accelerate the move towards more sustainable solutions and argues that light can spearhead the effort.

“LEDs offer solutions to fight the energy, climate, and financial crisis, a triple win for states and cities in these difficult times,” said Harry Verhaar, head of global public and government affairs at Signify.

“Although we strongly believe light can lead the way ahead, we’re also calling for a ramp-up in energy efficient solutions from across sectors to allow such technologies to reinforce each other,” he added.

Signify indicates that the electrification of areas including transportation and heating are overloading the grid to a point where countries are at or near capacity.

Light alone accounts for 13% of global electricity usage and the majority of installed luminaries are still made up of conventional technology, a technology that is comparatively fast and easy to transform with little invasive retrofitting activities involved – like upgrading HVAC systems.

While 50% of light points in the US and EU are conventional, on a global scale the number lowers to 35%, owing to a high proportion of consumer light points and LEDs in China. This suggests that there is a huge opportunity for the US and EU who are so far lagging behind.

Through a complete switch to connected LEDs, the EU has the potential to save €65.1 billion in energy costs which would free up electricity to power 47 million heat-pumps and thus keep a quarter of all households warm each year. The reduction in carbon dioxide would be equal to the sequestration capacity of a Switzerland-sized forest.

Cities, too, can find vast benefits in such a move. Signify estimates a municipality with 100,000 citizens can save €‎600,000 just by switching to LEDs and can bump savings up to €‎1.2 million with presence detection and tele management controls, all while keeping citizens more safe and secure at night.

Economic and energy savings can be huge if cities switch to connected LEDs (Photo: Signify)

And it’s not just the heads of European member states that are starting to turn.

“With the US government’s historic, $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, it has never been a more opportune time for cities to leverage their street lighting infrastructure, to tackle some of their greatest challenges such as transportation, public safety and sustainability,” said Martin Stephenson, Head of North American Systems & Services and President, Canada, Signify.

“Cities can reap immediate value from adding IoT and sensor technology, while laying the foundation for a larger transformation journey,” Stephenson added.

New York state capital Albany has recently announced it will pilot a sensor solution and connected LED system with Signify and artificial intelligence expert Upciti.

The city hopes to improve services like parking and traffic and support public safety through combining Internet of Things technology and imaging sensors with luminaries.

Ultimately, Signify argues that keeping advanced connected LED lights will help societies of the future reap more than the obvious benefits.

As part of its call to action, the company has set up the Green Switch Campaign to help European cities transition and encourage attendees of Cop27 to realise the potential of connected LED technologies to fight against the crises ahead.

“We see that the world continues to warm at an alarming rate, and we feel that we have a responsibility to take climate action in the best way we can while operating our business,” said Eric Rondolat, CEO of Signify.

“In this regard, we do not only decarbonise our own operations, and our entire value chain, but we see the huge potential that lighting has when it comes to energy efficiency. We can help keep the lights on in the world and reduce carbon emissions at the same time.”

This post was sponsored by Signify. See our editorial guidelines for what this means.