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LETTER – Claim that LEDs are ‘energy efficient’ is a false statement

(Image: BC Hydro)

Dear Mel Rothenburger, Armchair Mayor, Kamloops,

We were sent your opinion article about LED streetlights. https://cfjctoday.com/2022/03/14/rothenburger-bc-hydro-better-have-some-bright-ideas-on-those-blinding-led-lights/

We would like to assist you with this issue.  You stated that LEDs are “energy efficient.”  We can explain to you why that is a false statement.  Understanding why LEDs are not energy efficient will help you in your efforts to eliminate them.

To be energy efficient or to make a claim that LEDs save energy, the new product must be equivalent to the previous product in quality, but using less energy.  To support our assertion, here are the definitions of “energy efficient” from different sources:

United States Department of Energy – “Simply put, energy efficiency means using less energy to get the same job done.”

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection – “Energy efficiency means using less energy to accomplish the same task.”

Environmental and Energy Study Institute – “Energy efficiency simply means using less energy to perform the same task.”

United Kingdom Department of Energy and Climate Change – “On a technical level, energy efficiency is the relationship between the energy consumed and the output produced by that energy, often called ‘energy services’, for example the number of miles travelled for a gallon of fuel. Increasing energy efficiency means using either less energy to provide the same level of energy services, or using same level of energy to provide a higher level of energy services.”

Law Insider – Energy Efficiency means a decrease in customer consumption of electricity or natural gas achieved through measures or programs that target customer behavior, equipment, devices, or materials without reducing the quality of energy services.

As you can see in the definitions above, the new technology cannot produce a lower quality light and be claimed to be more energy efficient than the previous technology.

There are now two types of light in this world: point source and surface source.  From our website:

Point Source: Sun, candle, incandescent, High-Pressure Sodium. Brightness measured with luminous intensity in candela. Uniform energy. “point” means mathematical point.

Surface Source: LED, laser. Brightness measured with luminance in nits (candela per square meter). Non-uniform energy. Dangerous. “surface” means flat, non-curved surface.

LEDs emit light from a flat rectangle, creating non-uniform energy, a directed beam, and a very low quality light.  LED light is good for communications in a fiber optic cable because it is such a narrow beam, but using LED light for illumination is not appropriate.

Natural sources and previous technologies emit light from a curved, mostly spherical surface, creating uniform energy and high quality illumination.  This point source light is not used for communications in a fiber optic cable since the light spreads out so much, but point source light is great for illuminating a street.

One type of light is good for illumination, the other type of light is good for fiber optic communications, but those are two different services.  Since the two types of light do not provide the same service, no claim of equivalency or energy efficiency can be made.

Once everyone realizes that BC Hydro is defrauding us by trying to replace high-quality light with low-quality light by falsely claiming that LEDs are energy efficient, then we stop the craziness.  If anybody wants to save energy and truly be energy efficient, just replace a 100-watt HPS with a 50-watt HPS for a 50% true energy savings with no loss of safety or quality.

MARK BAKER
President,
Soft Lights Foundation

About Mel Rothenburger (8893 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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