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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

Pilots of LED outdoor luminaires and smart controls are being conducting worldwide by a wide variety of users and manufacturers. Independent studies that follow a rigorous performance methodology are scarce, however. Our LED program is systematically evaluating the best pilot examples available globally and will post summaries and relevant links in this space soon. In the meantime, authoritative sources of case studies and evaluations include:

  • Solid State Gateway Demonstrations (US DOE)
    Detailed reports and briefs on completed projects that focus mostly on intensively studied street lighting and parking area pilots in the US.
    Detailed reports on laboratory evaluation of LED indoor and outdoor lighting products in nine rounds to date.

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


We are working with Philips Lighting, the British High Commission and the Canadian Urban Institute on advancing LEDs in indoor and outdoor applications. A number of prominent lighting and luminaire companies participated in our ‘LightSavers’ global trial phase of LEDs. These companies supplied products for testing, sharing performance data, and collaborating with us to help ensure a robust and objective global trial. They include:  

BetaLED, Wisconsin, United States (Ruud Lighting in Canada)

  • Comprehensive range of outdoor LED luminaries, including streetlights up to 243 watts
  • Products are in the New York FDR Drive, Toronto and Hong Kong trials  

Carmanah Technologies, British Columbia, Canada

  • Solar LED outdoor products, including street lights
  • Products will be tested in the 1,000 Village Project, China

eLumen, Quebec, Canada

  • LED street lights up to 100 watts
  • Products are in the New York FDR Drive trial  

Hiyu, Tianjin, China (in Chinese)

  • Comprehensive range of indoor and outdoor LED luminaries
  • Products are in the Guiyang trials  

King Luminaire, Ohio, United States

  • Specializes in post top LED luminaries of classic, vintage style
  • Products are in the New York Central Park trials

Kingsun Optoelectronic Co., Guangdong, China

  • Full range of LED street light luminaries up to 196 watts
  • Products are in one of the Tianjin trials

LED Roadway, Nova Scotia, Canada

  • Full range of LED street light luminaries up to 240 watts
  • Products are in the New York FDR Drive trials

LSI Industries, Ohio, United States

  • Street and parking area LED luminaries up to 135 watts
  • Products are in the New York City FDR Drive trial

Neo Neon, Hong Kong, China

  • Comprehensive range of indoor and outdoor LED luminaries; street and parking area LED luminaries up to 155 watts 
  • Products are in the Hong Kong trials

Osram (Sylvania and Siemens) 

  • LED light engine for retrofit in existing post top lamps 
  • Products are in the New York Central Park trial 

Philips Lumec, Quebec, Canada 

  • Street and parking area LED luminaries up to 180 watts, as well as LED post top lamps 
  • Products are in the New York Central Park trial

Sentry, New York State, United States 

  • Specializes in post top LED luminaries of historic, antique design 
  • Products are in New York Central Park trials

Thermoking Technology International Corporation, Taipei, Taiwan

  • Outdoor and tunnel LED luminaires, including street lights up to 320 watts
  • Products are in the Hong Kong trial


LED outdoor luminaires have many advantages over conventional high pressure sodium (HPS), metal halide, and fluorescent lamps. LED chip efficiency has surpassed that of these lamps and keeps improving. LED luminaires direct more light on surfaces where it is most needed. Meanwhile, the marriage of smart controls and LEDs makes dimming easy, so energy isn't wasted at times when lighting is not really needed.

To find out why and more, check out the following:

  • LED basics and fact sheets (US DOE)
    A comprehensive archive of information on how LEDs work, their energy efficiency, luminous efficiency and color quality.
  • LED City
    An expanding community of municipalities partnering with Cree, a leading manufacturer of LED chips, to evaluate and deploy LED lighting.
  • LEDs Magazine
    An authoritative source of current news on the LED industry, products, and applications. Sign-up to receive weekly email bulletins free.
  • LM-79
    A standardized laboratory test that measures and certifies the most important performance characteristics of LED luminaries. Essential for procurement bids.
  • Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) LED Program
    North America's first electric utility LED streetlight incentive program. The site offers several tools, including a list of qualified products that meet rigorous criteria for incentives.



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