Cities across the world should switch to LED for street lights in the next decade to save huge amounts of energy, money and carbon emissions, it has been urged.
The Climate Group, which works with business and governments on moving to a low carbon economy, has urged every city and utility globally to schedule the switch to low energy LED technology for street lighting by 2025.
The move could deliver energy savings of 50-70% on current street lighting, the group said.
The organisation, which is hosting Climate Week in New York, is also launching a global campaign LED = Lower Emissions Delivered urging local governments, cities and utilities to take advantage of the cost and carbon benefits of LEDs.
The Climate Group pointed to Los Angeles, which has installed 140,000 LED street lights, with energy savings of more than 60% and financial savings of 8.7 million US dollars (£5.7 million) a year.
Switching all outdoor and indoor lighting to LEDs could cut global electricity demand for lighting by more than a half (52%) and avoid 735 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, the equivalent of the entire CO2 emissions of the UK and Spain, it said.
In the UK, some councils have already begun the switch and the Green Investment Bank (GIB) is providing finance for Glasgow and Southend-on-Sea, Essex, to make the changeover.
The GIB is in talks with other councils over support for LED street lighting and estimates that the UK could save £200 million and 475,000 tonnes of CO2 a year if all the country’s street lights were switched to the low energy technology.
The Climate Group said the technological barriers to moving to LEDs had been overcome and cities wanted to make the change.
In the run-up to crucial talks in Paris on securing a new global deal to tackle climate change, cities wanted more support from governments and financial institutions on business models and financing options to shift to LEDs.
Mark Kenber, chief executive of the Climate Group, said: “As an emissions-cutting and money-saving technology, LED street lighting is the big no-brainer.
“Our global trials and stakeholder consultations have shown that, when it comes to tackling climate change, LEDs are the lowest of the low hanging fruit and easiest to implement.
“It’s technically proven, commercially viable, and already resulting in major savings for cities around the world.
“With the number of street lights around the world likely to hit 350 million by 2025, local governments, utilities and financial institutions need to work together to ensure that all new and existing street lights are LED – or equivalent energy efficiency – by 2025,” he urged.