A few years back on a drive past the soon-to-be Barclay’s Center, I noticed that nyc’s stoplights are made up of a few hundred tiny led bulbs instead of one large one. I’ve seen this everywhere since then. The City of Little Rock calculated that energy savings from installing an led signal could be as high as 93% given the low life and low energy usage. Municipal governments like that kind of savings.
Perhaps what’s most beautiful with this type of light though is that fact that it is made of of hundreds of lights instead of one. Half the bulbs can fail and you still have a functioning stop light. In the old system, you only need one bulb to fail.
In the advertising business, we often put our hopes on one over-thought solution and we might be better served by sometimes putting our hopes on hundreds of random ones. One big light instead of 100 small ones. Because even if half or more of those ideas fail but we would still have a light. whereas if our one big idea fails, we are in the dark. What the City of Little Rock calls “catastrophic failure”.
If you think this may be inefficient, consider this: we spend time creating hundreds of versions of anything we love anyway. We just spend the time making changes to one thing we love, instead of making a hundred things we love.
And if you consider this simplistic, consider this: Using an LED light model forces everything to change, from production costs to the kinds of nerds you need around (pro tip: it includes a lot of math nerds). it can impact the way you staff. the way you ask to be compensated. the way you run meetings. almost everything.
this thinking is nothing new for most everyone i know. hopefully the illustration was somewhat useful. and the reminder. i was in fact reminded of this by a chart from albion london that i saw in this presentation from gareth kay. both things are fantastic. The chart and Gareth.
The Little Rock study is from my own lazy google research. i’m sure some math nerd out there could easily calculate the exact savings by climate.