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The Bulletin

Hasta la vista, incandescent light bulbs!

Posting in Cities

These days, Arnie is muscling up on LEDs and other low carbon technologies.

Former muscle man, action movie star and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger famously declared in the 1984 hit The Terminator, "I'll be back."

He certainly kept his promise, appearing fictitiously and real across cinemas, politics and public scrutiny as a cyborg, a wayward husband, a businessman, the Golden State's top boss and in many other roles.

Arnie left political office in 2011, but now he's back again. This week, he and his new non-profit, low carbon economy group - called R20 Regions of Climate Action - are joining with lighting giant Philips to promote regional and municipal LED lighting as a technology that can help slash the substantial carbon footprint of less efficient conventional light sources.

“Cities, states, and provinces are where the real action is when it comes to energy efficiency projects,” Schwarzenegger said in a press release. “We look forward to having Phillips join our building and street lighting efficiency campaign and help to make everyone an action hero in building sustainable communities and fighting climate change.”

At a Vienna R20 sustainability conference in Schwarzenegger's birth country, R20 and Philips jointly announced an "LED Street Lighting Toolkit" to help regional and local governments quickly install LEDs  (light emitting diodes).

R20 is a coalition of public and private entities, backed by the United Nations. It works with "sub-national" governments to help implement low carbon energy sources and energy efficiency measures, with an aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

LEDs require only about 20 percent of the electricity required to power a conventional incandescent light bulb conventionally used in homes. They are also more efficient than conventional mercury vapor and high pressure sodium street lights, and vendors rate them with a much higher life expectancy (only time will tell if they're corrrect). And they are easier to control.

In commercial offices, however, LEDs have struggled to catch on because they are virtually no more efficient than less expensive - albeit shorter lived and more environmentally hazardous -  fluorescent lighting.

But if Arnie has his way, that will change. To borrow from another of his Terminator catch phrases, it will be hasta la vista, conventional lighting.

Photo: Dessertdarling.com

SmartPlanet has built a body of stories about LEDs. A few examples:

— By on January 31, 2013, 9:37 PM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure