Switching to LED street lights could save millions of pounds a year for local authorities across Scotland, new figures suggest.
Of the country’s 890,820 street lights, 5% are currently run using the more energy-efficient bulbs, according to Scottish Futures Trust (SFT).
The organisation’s data shows that £40million is spent every year on energy for street lighting, and it said 50-70% could be saved by switching to LEDs – or £19million to £26.6 million.
The cost of running a conventional street light is 13p per night, which could be cut to 9p using the alternative lamps.
The figures emerged ahead of a conference hosted by Scottish Renewables in Edinburgh next month where speakers from across the world will gather to look at ways to tie together energy, transport, industry and civic society to save energy.
Jenny Hogan, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, said: “Technologies like these let us reduce the amount of power we use in everyday life, and help the renewable energy we generate to go much further – crucial if we are to cut the carbon produced by our society and slow the effects of climate change.
“LED street lighting is a perfect example of this transformation in action. The financial and carbon savings that can be made by adopting this widespread technology are simply enormous, as these figures for Scotland show.”
Lindsay McGregor, associate director at SFT and leader of the street lighting programme, said: “The latest electricity cost predictions from the Department of Energy and Climate Change indicates that prices are set to more than double over the next 10 years.
“Investing in new LED technology now will protect councils from year-on-year electricity rises and the unenviable decision of having to cut back local services to fund increasing electricity costs.
“Once the energy efficiency measures have been implemented, councils can take comfort from the fact that in 25 years’ time they will still be paying less for electricity than what they currently pay. Plus the many millions they save over the next 25 years could be used to support and maintain vital local services.”
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “Some councils have estimated that street lighting makes up 10% of their carbon footprint. Therefore, a nationwide shift to more energy-efficient lighting such as LEDs would make a significant dent in council-related carbon emissions.
“Pound for pound, improved energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to cut energy demand and the associated climate pollution.”