Sandia researcher Jeff Tsao and colleagues have published a follow-up paper in the journal Energy Policy regarding the productivity gains to be realized with LED lighting. The paper came after an initial article published in 2010 was misinterpreted in some media outlets. Photo by Randy Montoya.
Two researchers have reprised in the journal Energy Policy
their groundbreaking finding that improvements in lighting—from candles
to gas lamps to electric bulbs—historically have led to increased light
consumption rather than lower overall energy use by society.
In an article in the journal Energy Policy,
Sandia researcher Jeff Tsao and Harry Saunders of The Breakthrough
Institute in Oakland, Calif., predicted in 2010 that the same phenomenon
might apply to light-emitting diodes (LEDs), poised to take over from
the Edison light bulb as the next, more efficient light source of
their main point, as three centuries have shown, was that increased
light availability leads to increased productivity. Workers are no
longer forced to stop shortly after nightfall, as they had in primitive,
candle-illuminated huts, but instead could continue producing through
the night in homes, offices, factories, and even at outdoor locations
not serviced by power lines.
original paper, titled “Solid-state lighting: an energy-economics
perspective,” drew attention to the increased productivity made
possible by better lighting, rather than societal energy-savings
mistakenly cited as a feature of improved lighting technologies.
of the original paper by two widely read international media outlets
led to the confusion that Tsao and his co-authors had shown that
lighting efficiency improvements were no improvements at all. This is
because reductions in neither overall energy usage nor overall lighting
costs would occur.
researchers, in the upcoming article, titled “Rebound effects for
lighting,” said the 2010 article generated both interest and confusion
in the popular press and in the blogosphere. “This communication seeks
to clarify some of this confusion for the particular benefit of energy
economists and energy policy specialists,” they wrote.
The new article appears under “Articles in Press” on the Energy Policy website.
“We were motivated to publish something, even if short, in Energy Policy, because that journal serves a community very different from that served by the Journal of Physics,
where our original article was published,” Tsao says. “We thought that
many in the energy economics community were still unaware of the work,
and of the benefit—even when there is no direct energy-use savings—of
energy efficiency and other welfare-enhancing technologies.”
authors of the 2010 article included Sandia researchers Mike Coltrin,
Jerry Simmons and Randy Creighton (retired). Harry Saunders is also
associated with Decision Processes Inc. in Danville, Calif.
work was supported by Sandia’s Solid-State Lighting Science Energy
Frontier Research Center, which is funded by DOE’s Office of Basic
Source: Sandia National Laboratories