LED, or light-emitting diode, is a semiconductor light source that is known to cut up to 90% of power consumption compared to other types of light lamps. Besides its energy-saving property, LED lamps do not need filaments or mercury to generate light, making it a safe and eco-friendly alternative. Consequently, countries around the world are introducing various policies for wide adoption for the LED lamps
Replacing Traditional Lightings with Energy-Saving LED Lamps
Lights Stay on for Long Periods of Time in Seoul
Lights at buildings and homes consume 30% of all electricity, yet they show the least energy efficiency. While electric devices and heating/ cooling equipment can only improve by 10% in terms of its energy efficiency, lighting devices can do so by 30% or more, making the lighting a very important factor in making buildings greener. Home to 667,000 different buildings, Seoul has the highest building density in the country. This suggests that replacing all traditional bulbs with LED lamps can give Seoul far more energy reduction benefits than other cities.
Seoul’s Efforts for LED Application
In the Seoul Eco-Friendly Energy Declaration announced in April 2007, Seoul committed to cutting GHG emissions and energy consumption and raising renewable energy use to 10% for the city and 20% for the public sector by 2020. To deliver the targets, Seoul launched various projects, one of which was to invest KRW 22.5 billion from 2007 to 2010 to replace 156,000 traffic lights with LED ones. The replacement project resulted in around 42,400MWh/year of energy savings. Meanwhile, with the Basic Plan for LED Replacement announced in 2010, Seoul pushed forward with replacing traditional lightings with LED lighting in full swing. The plan outlines Seoul’s am to replace lighting in all public buildings with LED lighting by 2020 and replace 80% of lamps in the private sector by 2030.In 2012, the LED replacement project was included in Seoul’s landmark energy policy, One Less Nuclear Power Plant. As one of the core pillar of the landmark policy, the LED project set a plan to provide 7.8 million LED lightings (7 million to private sector, 800,000 to public sector) by 2014. Seoul made its commitment clear to the world when it held a press briefing in July 2012 attended by journalists from home and abroad. At the briefing, the capital of the country showed its strong commitment to make Seoul a global LED lighting city.
Seoul, LED-Lighted City
100% LED in Public Sector, 65% in Private Sector by 2018
As part of the lighting replacement project, the city government replaced about 100,000 traditional lighting fixtures, including 90,000 at 200 public buildings and 100,000 at 160 welfare facilities and lowincome households, with the energy-efficient LED lamps. Since 2014, Seoul has required all newly constructed public buildings to have LED lightings. Seoul will enforce the initiative in the public sector first, so that a precedent can be set for the private sector to follow suit.
LED Lamps for Public-Use Buildings
Places such as underground parking facilities attached to public housings have the lights on all day long, requiring more energy than other buildings. Seoul worked closely with relevant organizations such as the Korea LED Association to provide LED lamps at a price cheaper than the market price to buildings that require more lighting. This lifted the financial burden on building management to buy LED lamps by 30%. The support helped 400 apartments out of 3,640 to replace all lightings in underground parking lots with the energy-saving lamps. The rest are currently in the process of replacing them.
Lowest Interest Rates Offered for LED Replacement
Many people are aware of the benefits of LED lamps but are hesitant because of its high initial up-front investments. To help reduce financial burden on citizens, Seoul set aside a fund for BRP (building retrofit project) of KRW 15 billion. Using the find, the Seoul Metropolitan Government provides low-interest loans to buildings and energy service companies to help ease the burden of installation costs and enabling greater citizen involvement. Specifically, Seoul offers 1,000 lightings-year loans at 1.75% interest rate per year.
‘Investment First, Recover Costs Later’ Approach
Seoul also adopted a program which allows energy companies to recover their up-front investments through energy savings over time, or simply an “invest first and recover costs later” approach. Under this approach, the LED association installs the LED lightings first and then recovers the invested costs over the span of 3.5 years thereafter from saved electricity fees. The city government is currently working with some financial institutions to create a SPC (Special Purpose Company. The creation would facilitate the adoption of the invest-first, recover-costs later approach using low interest rate, which will eventually allow citizens to opt for LED lights without the burden of greater initial costs.
Energy Reduction through LED Replacement
9.7 Million LED Lamps by 2014
From 2012 to 2014, Seoul’s 900,000 lighting fixtures in public buildings were successfully replaced with LED lamps. The precedent was followed suit by the private sector which replaced a total of 9 million lightings with LED, an impressive 10 times higher achievement. The energy saved for the 2 years is equivalent to 100,000 TOE of energy, enough to power a household for 4 months.
More than 90% of Subway Stations Lit by LED Lamps
Seoul city also replaced 430,000 lighting fixtures at 243 stations of 8 subways lines in Seoul with LED lamps, saving 45% of the energy consumption of lightings. The outstanding energy saving example was award by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and is being benchmarked by other municipalities.
All 156,00 Traffic Lights in Seoul Lit by LED Lamps
Since 2007 Seoul has invested KRW 22.5 billion in replacing 156,000 traffic lighting apparatuses with LED, representing 40,000kWh/year of annual reduction of power, the amount needed to power 140 households of 4 people for a full month.