Green Light Bulbs
So, Jurong Town Council is set to be the first town council to use LED lights for common areas. If you haven’t already read the news article, here it is! The LED project is expected to be registered as Singapore’s first Programmatic Clean Development Mechanism (P—CDM) project in the United Nations.
The Clean Development Mechanism is a rather important aspect of the Kyoto Protocol. Basically, CDM aims to stimulate sustainable development and emission reductions, while giving industrialized countries some flexibility in how they meet their emission reduction or limitation targets. The mechanism is seen by many as a trailblazer. It is the first global, environmental investment and credit scheme of its kind, providing a standardized emissions offset instrument, CERs. Be warned though, CDMs are not an easily attainable status or project to be completed and recognized by the UNFCCC. The projects must qualify through a rigorous and public registration and issuance process designed to ensure real, measurable and verifiable emission reductions that are additional to what would have occurred without the project. The mechanism is overseen by the CDM Executive Board, answerable ultimately to the countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol. In order to be considered for registration, a project must first be approved by the Designated National Authorities (DNA). In Singapore, the DNA is the National Environment Agency (NEA) under Mr Suresh K.
Anyway, I was curious about LED lights and how they compare with other green light bulbs so I did a search on it. This article hopes to raise the level of awareness of the extent that green light bulbs have been successful, or their potential in lowering energy costs and ultimately, doing their part to reduce carbon footprint and save the Earth. In any case, I now know that Green Kampong is an LED light advocate! Read their article “Let there be LED Light” here. OK, so here goes.
LED stands for Light Emitting Diodes. LEDs are often used for indicator lights (not for illumination) when it first came out but increasingly in lighting as well. Using LED lights gives several advantages. For one, they produce more light per watt than candescent lights, which makes them more efficient. Secondly, their efficiency is not affected by shape, unlike candescent light bulbs or tubes thereby reducing the need to consider the shapes of LED lights in their production. Efficiency also extends to the way that the color of light is to be produced. LED lights do not require color filters like other traditional forms of lighting, which makes the production process more efficient and less costly. Next, LEDs can be smaller than 2mm, which makes them easy to embed into printed circuit boards. Plus, they light up very quickly and thus are very useful to use in communication devices. LEDs also tend to be shock-resistant and less vulnerable to damage than florescent and incandescent light bulbs. Lastly, they do not contain toxic chemicals (such as mercury) like compact florescent lights (CFLs) do.
However, LEDs come with disadvantages as well. These include a high initial price, temperature dependence, voltage sensitivity, light quality, area light source, as well as blue hazards and pollution. In order to fully comprehend the usefulness of LED lights, and especially how they might work towards creating a more eco-friendly environment in Singapore, we need to consider how other forms of green light bulbs compare to LEDs and question if they might be a better choice than LEDs. Next, I will look at CFLs.
CFL stands for Compact Florescent Lamps or are also commonly known as Compact Florescent Lights. CFLs are generally more suited to replace incandescent light bulbs and fit easily into existing features. They have much longer average life than incandescent lights, of about 8-15 times more. This amounts to a lifespan of about 6000-15000 hours of usage. In addition, CFLs only use about one-fifth of the energy used to power a incandescent bulbs, which makes it more efficient. However, CFLs can become highly toxic if not dealt with in a proper manner. “They’re very efficient, but once they’re used up they become a ticking toxic time bomb,” said Leonard Robinson, chief deputy director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. “They need to be captured and recycled.” CFLs need to be taken to a lamp recycler, where the mercury is recovered, processed and sent out to be re-used. But there is no curbside recycling program for these modern bulbs (Singapore is no exception).
So far, LEDs and CFLs are just about the only few green or energy efficient light bulbs in the market. Changing a light bulb is a small step towards creating a more energy efficient society that works towards becoming more sustainable (energy and cost wise) in the long run. Using electricity efficiently also helps of course, so remember to turn off electrical appliances (especially lap tops!) when you don’t need them and you know, the works. In conclusion, I’d say that LED lights does seem like the way to go here in Singapore seeing that there are several advantages to using them despite their high initial cost. One thing to note though is that if Jurong Town Council is going to make a shift physically, there has to be a social (mindset) shift as well in order for it to really work. Also, will Town Council fees be raised significantly if the cost is to be transferred to the public? Some things to think about…
But at the end of the day, I really do hope that the CDM thing works out, which will help boost Singapore’s stand on clean energy production and energy efficient technology. So yup! 🙂 Please feel free to leave a comment about this!