Friday, 16 March 2007

Low Energy Lighting

A few days ago the EU announced they were going to ban incandescent light bulbs by 2009 to reduce carbon emissions. Some types of bulbs don’t have a low energy equivalent yet, but its only a matter of time. Their intention is good , but it might have been better to phase this one in, apparently low energy floodlights and fridge lights aren't available yet. Also lights that get frequently turned on and off may not work well with low energy bulbs. I wish the EU would do something about the Common Agricultural Policy and fishing policies, but that’s another story.

Ive been looking at Low energy LED lights, they do them in a halogen fitting, and they are only a few watts. I found them at the green shop, at 12 volt for £8.99, ideal for a separate solar power system. They can be purchased at their store near Stroud or on their website, see below. Also at leisure power website. I’ve looked around Reading trying to find a 240 Volt version, and found some at Focus, they claimed to be 0.7 Watt. I bought 4, at £9 which was their entire stock of white bulbs, took them home with some fittings. Ive measured them now and instead of 0.7 they take around 5 Watts, but that’s still better than ordinary low energy bulbs, though the light is very focused. I tried to get more, B&Q, Homebase, Woolworths and other stores with no success. The Shop on the Bridge, 735 Oxford Road, has a more powerful version at £10 that claims to be 1 to 2 Watt, I measure it at around 12 Watts. I bought a device from C.A.T. that measures the electricity used by devices that plug in, very handy for this.

I saw a TV program called Greenwash, George Monbiot was pointing out how B&Q claim to be so green, but sell a set of 4 halogen bulbs to replace one ordinary light. So instead of a 60 or 100 Watt incandescent, they sell 200 Watts of halogen. But with these new LEDs you would have 20Watts, or less if you only put in 2 or 3 bulbs. But not at B&Q so his point is still valid, they want us to consume more to increase their profits. Unfortunately all the fittings come with 50 Watt halogen bulbs, so I’m building a collection of them. Perhaps the charity shop will get them as a donation.

The bulbs have a long life expectancy (claimed 10 to 50,,000 hour life) as well as low power consumption. Some argue that low energy bulbs require more resources, but as they last several times as long and use far less energy to run, there is a saving to be made.

Note; more information available at

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