LED Streetlights May Not Be Cost Effective in Reducing Energy Usage

May 17, 2016, 4:53 PM UTC
Tuesday, May 17th, 2016 Fortune Brainstorm E 9:00 AM THE ZERO ENERGY CITY San Diego has become the first major American city to pass a law to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030. Other cities have ambitious programs to apply the Internet of things and big data to cut carbon, relieve traffic congestion and air pollution, and generally make our cities more livable. Tens of billions of devices and systems are connecting online, allowing revolutionary changes to how things are done, from improving traffic flows, to boosting building efficiency and maximizing water use, to mention just a few. Some say this is a trillion-dollar opportunity. Who will the players be, and which applications show the most promise? What works? Glenn Lurie, President and CEO, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Operations Bill Ritter, Founder and Director, Center for the New Energy Economy, Colorado State University Eric Spiegel, President and CEO, Siemens USA Moderator: Andrew Shapiro, Founder and Partner, Broadscale Group Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm E
Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm E

Cities seeking to cut their emissions of carbon may be focusing on some of the wrong priorities, according to Eric Spiegel, CEO of Siemens USA.

“Cities have been spending money on some things, and when you go and look at it, this isn’t really where the big bang is going to come, where I could spend my money more wisely,” Spiegel said during a session of Fortune’s Brainstorm E conference on Tuesday.

Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter.

Studies of different initiatives across the country have shown, for example, that the cost of replacing old-fashioned street lights with lower energy LED lights may not the best use of limited funds to curb emissions in all situations, he said, adding that light rail has also proven to be an unwise investment in some cities. Results may vary in different locations.

By contrast, the biggest savings for the cost have come from installing home and commercial automation gear, which automatically reduce electricity and fuel usage, he said.

“Those two things managing energy demand are by far and away the biggest plays,” Spiegel posited. Siemens is a leading manufacturer of smart control systems.

Cities occupy only a small portion of the planet’s landmass, but they are responsible for about 70% of all CO2 emissions—a key greenhouse gas.

Thus, many municipalities are moving to reduce their emissions via improved energy efficiency, greater use of renewable power sources, and installation of automated energy monitoring and controlling devices.

Read More

Artificial IntelligenceCryptocurrencyMetaverseCybersecurityTech Forward