Open Conference Systems, RUC Sunrise Triple C Conference: Climate – Change – Communication

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Barriers and possibilities for low-carbon-energy consuming technologies - The case of the lighting sector
Araceli Bjarklev

Last modified: 2010-04-15


The total electricity consumption across the EU-27 showed an absolute increase of 28.7% between the years 1990 and 2005. The average electricity use per capita in the EU-27 is almost 2.5 times the global average and 3.5 times that for China. World electricity generation is expected to increase by 77% from 2006 to 2030. These are some of the facts that set a big question mark on how the CO2 emission goals can ever been achieved for 2020 even talking of a modest reduction of 20%.

These growing tendencies still take place despite the emergence of countless numbers of energy saving devises. The production and consumption of electronic devises is, at the same time, growing at high speed. As a matter of fact, the European ecological foot print is currently 2.2 times bigger than the surface required for re-producing the resources internally consumed in the EU. Though there is almost an international consensus that one of the solutions to the current environmental challenge will be based on low-carbon-technologies, there are many issues that set a barrier for its adequate development and still many actors in these sectors are sceptical about the possibilities.

Illumination is a very interesting sector to target, since it uses 19% of the total electricity produced in the world. Consequently, this paper takes the Danish office lighting sector as a study object and discusses the question: What are the main barriers and possibilities for the energy saving illumination technologies to efficiently reduce their ecological footprint.

The discussion is supported by using relevant elements of the cradle-to-grave, eco-design and environmental-innovation theories. It is based on active participation in interdisciplinary projects and face-to-face in-depth interviews with relevant actors along the entire Danish illumination technology value chain. The study points to the most relevant possibilities within the Danish office illumination sector to achieve reduction of energy within a holistic framework.

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