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LED Scale-up

LED Scale-up

We're working to transform how we light our world. Lighting accounts for nearly 6% of global CO2 greenhouse gas emissions, or 1,900 million tons of CO2 per year— the equivalent of CO2 emissions from 70% of the world’s passenger vehicles. By making lighting more energy efficient we can make a significant dent in carbon emissions.

Light-emitting diode (LED) lamps can cut CO2 emissions by 50–70%, with additional savings achievable with flexible smart controls. LED outdoor lighting also reduces costs, enhances public safety, minimizes light pollution and makes public spaces friendlier at night. The potential for LED technology is unprecedented: some industry experts predict that within 10 years LED lights, both indoor and outdoor, could deliver more environmental and economic benefits than any other clean technology including renewable power.

In 2012 we conducted the LightSavers project - a global trial of LED lamps in 12 large cities around the globe to evaluate how the latest LED products performed and are perceived by the public. The results were presented in a report highlighting how LED technology is ready for full scale rollout around the world. We also published a technical summary for lighting managers as well as a series of city specific reports.

The same year, The Climate Group called for all new street lighting to be LED (or as efficient) by 2015, and all street lighting to be LEDs (or as efficient) by 2020. 

Then at Climate Week NYC 2015, we called on every single city and utility around the world to schedule the switch of their street lighting to LED by 2025, with the launch of our new major global campaign LED = Lower Emissions Delivered and a new report, The Big Switch: Why it's time to scale up LED street lighting. Following our Consultations, the report reveals that while technological barriers for adoption have now been overcome, in the run-up to COP21, cities want more support from government and financial institutions to refine business models and financing options to help make the switch.

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Many cities have announced major upgrades to LED lighting, but it is clear the vast majority have still yet to make the move. As a result in 2014 we entered the second phase of the LED-scale up project and announced the launch of a consultation process supported by our lead Partner Philips Lighting, to identify remaining regional barriers to adoption of LEDs and accelerate the transition to energy efficient lighting around the world.

We have organized a series of events and workshops around the world convening key regional stakeholders and municipalities to discuss important topics crucial for LEDs scale up in each of the visited region. A common challenge for cities is a need for independent support to city staff as they seek to assess the different business case options for their unique city circumstances, from both the technical and financial standpoints. Such capacity support in the early stages of business case review could significantly help reduce the number of technical and funding options during the tendering process - and help speed up procurement.

As a result of these and other region-specific challenges we are extending the consultation workshops into 2016.

LED = Lower Emissions Delivered

Support our call for wide-scale LED streetlighting by sharing the cost and carbon-saving facts about LEDs on social media. Click below to download our graphics.

The Big Switch: LED streetlighting facts

To find out more about our LED work please email us at

Case studies

The energy saving potential of LED lighting has been proven over extended time periods in cities around the globe, and as a result LEDs are now predominantly the first choice for cities when upgrading their lighting infrastructure. Our LED program systematically evaluates projects around the world. See latest news and relevant links and case studies below .

Global trials

report covers banner for led city trials

Adelaide, Australia
Pedestrian pathway LED retrofit in the northern parklands of Adelaide. Final report

Guiyang, China
The municipal government is testing two Chinese-made LED street light luminaires, one on a riverside pedestrian pathway and another on a local street. Results not published

Haldia, India
Haldia in West Bengal, India, is receiving LED installations on a major highway in the heart of the city.

Hong Kong, China
Two municipal universities and the Hong Kong International Airport are testing and comparing Taiwanese, Chinese, and American-made LED pathway luminaries on their respective pilot sites. Final report

Kolkata, India
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation is testing over a 100 Indian made LED street light luminaries in several locales. Final report

London, United Kingdom
Transport for London is testing high powered LED roadway lights in demanding applications on their Red Routes.

Mumbai, India
The Thane Municipal Corporation will install a trial of LED streetlights in the Greater Mumbai Region with support from the national government's Bureau of Energy Efficiency.

New York City, United States
The New York Department of Transportation is testing nine LED products in Central Park and on FDR East Side Drive. Final report for Central Park and for FDR Drive

Sydney, Australia
The City of Sydney is testing LED lighting with smart controls on George Street, a road in the centre of Sydney's business district. Final report

Tianjin, China
Local government agencies are testing two Chinese-made LED street lights products in a new ecocity development and on a university campus. Results not published

Toronto, Canada
Four City of Toronto agencies are testing parking lot, parking garage, and pedestrian pathway LED lighting products, some with smart controls. Final reports for two trials for Caledon and TCHC


  • Ben Ferrari, Director of Partnership, The Climate Group, talks about LED street lighting with Philips

  • Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public and Government Affairs, Philips Lighting, talks about climate change at CCTV


This section provides links to examples of tools that have been recently developed to support cities and municipalities in their planning for LED lighting upgrades.  

Beyond the immediate and calculable energy savings that LEDs can provide, there are many other factors that can influence the decisions of city managers around current and future lighting needs of cities.

Upgrade decisions can be influenced by available financing, remaining lifetime of existing fittings and whether needs can be met by either retrofitting luminaires, replacing lighting/poles, upgrading aging infrastructure and addressing options for future proofing fittings.  

Below is an open toolkit list for reference. To suggest links, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

A comprehensive archive of information on how LEDs work, their energy efficiency, luminous efficiency and color quality.

The DOE shares detailed reports that include analysis of data collected, projected energy savings, economic analyses and user feedback. Report briefs summarize key findings in a quick-scan format.

Developed by the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) and supported by the Scottish Government, the toolkit allows councils to input their current street lighting data which in turn calculates what the reduced electricity usage would be if they changed to new, energy-efficient LED lighting. The toolkit also calculates what level of investment is required by the council and the payback period of the loan.

  • Quality Thresholds  for LED outdoor lighting

Department of Energy, Bureau for Street Lighting General Specifications for Solid State Lighting LED Roadway Luminaires
Philips – LED Road Lighting Design Manual
4E – International Energy Agency, Solid State Lighting Annex: Product Quality and Performance Tiers

  • Abu Dhabi Public Realm & Street Lighting Handbook – Martin Valentine

The “Abu Dhabi Public Realm & Street Lighting Handbook” development process brings together contributors representing varied viewpoints and interests to achieve consensus on lighting recommendations. 



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