Study: LED lightbulbs make people feel safer

A multi-year study in UK social housing developments found that LED lightbulbs made residents feel safer and more content. Energy and maintenance savings were profound.
Written by David Worthington, Contributor
A before and after shot from the report. (Image credit: Energy Savings Trust)

New lighting technologies aren’t only more efficient - they can create a social benefit. Brighter LED lighting in public spaces can affect how secure people feel while strolling empty corridors and stairwells after dark, according to a study.

Energy Saving Trust, a non-profit jointly funded by the UK government and utilities, last week published the outcome of a multi-year LED lighting pilot throughout public housing complexes in the UK. LEDS replaced incandescent light bulb.

It learned that LED lighting has the effect of making people feel safer than Edison’s bulb. Tenants observed that LEDs were “fresher and bright,” and more similar to daylight, thus providing a more positive sense of security, an Energy Saving Trust spokesperson told BBC News.

“The increase in colour temperature typically produced by LEDs also improved the environments monitored in the field trial, a factor much appreciated by the social housing tenants,” the report’s authors wrote.

Housing authorities are estimated to have saved nearly 3,000,000 kWh of electricity by making the transition, and also incurred lower maintenance costs due to the LED technology’s considerably longer lifespans. The pilot also reduced carbon emissions.

Of course, residents did not bear the cost of the upgrade as a homeowner would. It would likely take a typical household much more time to receive payback on their investment in energy efficiency than a housing complex.

However, given the outcome of this study, it's striking how a popular movement of laggards insists on resisting upgrading lighting technologies in the “new world” while the “old world” is primed to move ahead. Economies of scale happen, and manufacturers are heavily invested in the transition.

Is the incandescent lightbulb made from bald eagles?

(Image Credit: Energy Savings Trust)

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