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Bulgarian National Recovery & Resilience Plan
Switching to connected LED Lighting, the easiest renovation project for a green, smart and energy efficient EU country
AUTHOR: Gergana Djagarova, Signify - Philips Lighting

© photo: Dimitar Kalinovski

The Covid-19 pandemic is hitting hard the health, well-being and economy of the entire world. Also, the green technologies and the great opportunities that digitalization is bringing in the context of the imminent climate changes that lead to the European Green Deal objectives, are all reasons for developing today a clear, sustainable strategy for our country. In this respect, the EU Recovery Funds are a tangible chance towards green and digital transition, boosting jobs and growth, improving resilience of the society and protection of the environment and population.

Signify (former Philips Lighting) with a legacy of over 125 years of experience, as a world leader in lighting (conventional, LED, connected and lighting for Internet of Things, IoT), with over 37.000 people employed in over 70 countries, would like to kindly draw your attention that when establishing the priorities and the budgeting for the National Recovery & Resilience Plan, renovation of buildings and street infrastructure through connected LED, is a perfect tool that the economy would benefit from – with immediate and measurable indicators that we will briefly present to you below.

In 2006, lighting based on conventional analog technologies (fluorescent, sodium, incandescent) was responsible for 19% of the global electricity consumption. This has decreased to 13% by 2018, due to switching into LED digital lighting. It is estimated that by 2030, due to “LED-ification” process and the use of IoT technology, the share of lighting is to drop to 8%. At the same time, the number of light points will increase by about 35%.

We are just at the beginning of this future-proof transition that has a huge potential for economy, environment and improving the quality of lives based on its multiple applications beyond illumination, such as: the usage of lighting poles connected infrastructure integrated with different sensors, cameras, electric vehicles charging utilities, all at the disposal of the public authorities and population; increased food production achieved with dedicated luminaries (horticulture and animal lighting); air and surface disinfection through UV-C technology; beautification of the cities and of our lives.

For a clearer image apart from the indicators that smart lighting plays an important role in, we have developed an internal study considering 11 Central East-European countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia), counting over 100 million inhabitants and 1.1 million km².

For what concerns street lighting, we have estimated the total number of luminaires in place in each of the countries, and according to these data, in Bulgaria, out of the 600 thousand, only about 25% of them have been already upgraded to LED technology. This leaves room for big energy savings, if we are to replace all the conventional with LED:

  • Annual reduction of electricity consumption by 222 GWh.
  • Annual electricity cost reduction by 19.2 million Euro.
  • Carbon footprint reduction by 113.950 tons of CO2.

We have performed a similar exercise for what concerns renovation of the buildings from the healthcare system, using as basis for our study the number of beds from the public healthcare system in each of the country (Eurostat data valid for 2019) while calculating an average number of 5 luminaires per bed.  
Concerning Bulgaria, there are more than 252 572 conventional luminaires that need to be replaced in our hospitals. If all that is done, we can register for Bulgaria:

  • Annual reduction of electricity consumption by 76 GWh.
  • Annual electricity cost reduction by over 6.6 million Euro.
  • Carbon footprint reduction by 39.054 tons of CO2.

Certainly, the education system is another important focus area for each European country. The savings that replacing the old conventional lighting into LED technology could bring, together with  the urgent need for better indoor lighting our students require in order to protect their sight, were the reasoning for making calculation in this domain, as well. Starting from the European official number of students (Eurostat data valid for 2018) and considering an average of 1.5 luminaire for student, we can see that over 1.67 million old technology luminaires and most probably un-fit for the eyes of the pupils, are to be replaced in Bulgarian schools. This could contribute to:

  • Annual reduction of electricity consumption by 187 GWh.
  • Annual electricity cost reduction by 16.26 million Euro.
  • Carbon footprint reduction by 96,276 tons of CO2.

As you can see, lighting is one of the easiest renovations which does not require big capital investments and have short replacement and payback time. A complete switch to LED in just these three analyzed areas, would lead Bulgaria to achieve:

  • 485 GWh reduced electricity consumption, representing 1.5 % of the total annual consumption of 32.34 TWh that our country has.
  • Annually, over 42.121 million Euro budget savings on electricity payments, money that could represent just in 2021 the equivalent of over 2.8 million anti-Covid vaccine doses (estimated value of 15 Euro/ dose).
  • Over 249 280 tones of CO2 that can be avoided, which is the equivalent of over 11 million fully grown trees can absorb in a year.

Moreover, as already mentioned, there are a series of other benefits we sum-up here and would recommend you to always keep in mind:

  • Each 1 million € invested in renovation, equals 19 local jobs created.
  • High contribution to carbon neutrality. Just the results we get from the three presented case studies, represent the equivalent of avoided annual CO2 emissions of over 86 thousands  cars in Bulgaria.
  • The need and objectives for developing a digital infrastructure (connected LED lighting, cloud based).
  • The opportunity of turning the public buildings into safer areas for employees and citizens, while installing UV-C light technology with proven efficiency up to 99% in deactivating the SARS CoV-2 virus within a few seconds.

We trust that Bulgarian strategy for the National Recovery & Resilience Plan will contribute to a green and prosperous future for our country and citizens, sustaining the economy while further developing infrastructure and improving the quality of everyday life.

Contact: Gergana Djagarova, Business Development Manager, Sofia

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