Brighter future for the planet

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 August, 2007, 12:00am


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Energy-saving lighting

In an increasingly environmentally-conscious world, efforts to preserve, use less or find alternative energy-saving devices are becoming a more important driver for governments, businesses and individuals to combat climate change.

Taking a leading role in providing energy-saving solutions in the lighting industry, electronics giant Philips Electronics Hong Kong has launched a new range of light bulbs that can reduce energy consumption by up to 80 per cent. The key benefits in replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving alternatives include reduced energy consumption, environmental friendliness, increased safety, and lower operating costs over a longer period of time.

Because energy-efficient bulbs use less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs the carbon dioxide emissions resulting in burning fossil fuels to generate electricity is significantly reduced.

There are about 11 million incandescent light bulbs in Hong Kong homes. If these were replaced by energy-efficient lighting, such as the Philips Tornado, the latest energy-saving bulb available in Hong Kong, about HK$1.4 billion per year could be saved in energy costs. In addition, a reduction of over 500 million kg of carbon dioxide emissions, a major factor related to global warming, could be achieved.

The same applies to energy consumption by the commercial sector where 2 million incandescent bulbs and 14 million fluorescent tubes are in use. If these were replaced, up to HK$1.166 billion in energy costs could be saved annually.

Cutting back demand for electricity for lighting frees up capacity for industry and business. Energy experts predict that globally, demand for energy is likely to increase by 53 per cent between now and 2030.

In their bid to sustain economic growth, over 70 per cent of this increase is expected to come from fast developing countries such as China and India.

'Switching to energy-saving lighting alternatives such as the widely available compact fluorescent lamps is one of the simplest and most effective ways that individuals, businesses and schools can reduce energy consumption and help to combat global warming. This is an opportunity for individuals and businesses in Hong Kong to make a noticeable difference in energy consumption and contribute to creating a cleaner and better environment,' said Ravi Rajagopalan, general manager of the lighting division at Philips Electronics Hong Kong.

As a leading player in the Hong Kong lighting market, Philips has put into motion a joint action with the lighting industry, non-government organisations, energy suppliers and government departments to replace incandescent lights bulbs with the many energy-saving alternatives.

Individuals and businesses can see how much of a difference they can make by switching to energy-saving lighting alternatives. Philips has also launched an energy-saving website allowing visitors to see the difference they can make by pledging to switch to energy-efficient lighting options. For example, a household that swaps 10 of its traditional light bulbs for energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps stands to save several thousand dollars due to reduced electricity consumption and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 3,000kg during the lifespan of the bulbs, which last for several years.

According to Mr Rajagopalan, the initiative highlights how solutions for reducing energy consumption can be simple and actionable without compromising on quality of life. 'Our programme provides the perfect forum to show solutions for efficient energy use and the simple steps that we all can take in order to make a real difference,' he said.

Philips has put environmental improvement in its product design at the heart of its business. The company carries out research and development (R&D) on a worldwide basis, including a significant amount of R&D activities that take place at the company's Shanghai facility.

'A lot of important R&D takes place in Asia. The R&D work that takes place in Asia contributes to our international efforts to design and produce innovative energy-efficient lighting solutions,' Mr Rajagopalan said.

Over the past five years the company had spent more than Euro400 million (HK$4.33 billion) worldwide on R&D to produce energy-efficient lighting solutions. In 1980, Philips invented the compact fluorescent lamp and has since continued to improve the technology to reduce bulb size and cost.

The firm has also pledged to phase out incandescent light bulbs in the next 10 years.

To spread the word, the lighting expert has mobilised a team which has been visiting schools and businesses.

'The response from school students has been fantastic. From our experiences of making these school visits we really get the feeling that young people are taking notice of the environment and want to contribute in combating global warming,' Mr Rajagopalan said.