It is constantly stated that incandescent light bulbs use vast quantities of energy and damage the environment. Adding weight to the argument there is now a light bulb ban in place. This initiative has been supported by environmental supporters who have influenced government legislation. As a result traditional light bulbs are being phased out in favour of energy saving light bulbs. Here I consider your carbon footprint and how this can be decreased by moving to energy saving light bulbs but also to compare and contrast this to other methods of reduction including travel and refined use of your other home electrical appliances.
Carbon footprint reductions from using energy saving light bulbs
A fair amount of people are bewildered by the fact that a light bulb can create C02! Clearly it cannot and it is the C02 that is created during the generation of the electricity which is relevant. If you purchase your electricity from a green supplier who uses wind power or hydro-electric this means C02 emissions are low. However, the vast majority of electricity is generated using gas and oil stations that do make excessively high carbon dioxide emissions. Lets now look at the data based on a light bulb being used 4 hours per day and accepting you pay 13p per kWhour for electricity. In this case changing one traditional incandescent light bulbs to an energy saving light bulb will save an amazing 100kg per year in carbon dioxide emissions.
How does this compare to driving my motor vehicle or using the washing machine?
This is all very factual but does 100kg of C02 released into the atmosphere actually matter and are there not alternate actions, other than using energy saving light bulbs, that can be taken to achieve the same goal? I think the best way to look at answering these questions is to check out some comparative examples.
1. If you own a Ford Focus C-Max vehicle and you can arrange to drive 340 miles less every year then this is an equivalent saving as changing a bulbs to one of your energy saving light bulbs.
2. Averting a 1000 mile train journey will save ballpark figure 100kg in carbon dioxide release into the atmosphere. Energy Saving Light Bulbs can make a comparable reduction simply through swapping just one.
3. If you fly from London to Glasgow on a full plane then this will result in the release of 100kg in C02.
Now with these options then changing to energy saving light bulbs has got to be an easy winner.
So what does that all mean?
So as well as changing to energy saving light bulbs what else can you do to improve your carbon footprint?
Dishwashers and washing machines do consume around 3 kWhours of electricity every time they are used. In comparison to a light bulb, if they were used twice a week, this is largely similar to having 2 100 watt light bulbs on for 4 hours a day. This is not a monstrous amount so the focus here should be on usage method and methods. Always make sure that the appliances are full and then do not use your tumbler dryer if you can avoid it, hang the clothes out to dry.
An introduction to LED bulbs.
The LED lamp has been used now for a couple of decades. One of the main uses for LED bulbs has been the small light on switches which glow red when the switch is turned on. This use of LED bulbs has been widespread and proven and its suitability is because the LED technology is very reliable which results in long life. Along with this the LED’s do only use a fraction of electricity which means that power consumption is kept to an absolute minimum.
The inability for the LED to produce high intensity light meant that its applications were limited. Over that last 25 years there has been a recognition of the potential of the LED which has resulted in depth research into the technology. This research has been most beneficial. It is now possible to produce high powered LED’s which has created market openings. The LED bulb can now produce light levels similar to small to medium sized incandescent light bulbs. Also the improvements now mean that the electronics necessary for the working of LED bulbs can now be fitted into the small casing needed for domestic light bulbs. The final step needed is to improve the design and manufacture processes to reduce the costs to they can be a very viable alternative to other energy saving light bulbs.
A look at the costs of LED bulbs.
When LED bulbs first hit the market in around 2008 as a contender in the energy saving light bulb arena their costs where prohibitively high. Around the year 2007 at the point at which LED bulbs were launched into the energy saving light bulb market their costs were very high. It was between 2007 and 2008 when LED bulbs were initially produced as energy saving light bulbs but at this stage their costs were very high. As an example a candle light bulb which used the LED technology rated at 3watts would be over 20 pounds in cost. At this time a 3 watt candle light bulb would typically cost in excess of £20. By contrast in 2010 then it is possible to purchase the same LED candle light bulb typically at £12 but in some cases as low as £10.
Now LED bulbs are extremely efficient, in fact, a 3W unit will produce the same lumens light level output as a conventional incandescent bulb rated at 25W. Due to this incredible efficiency the LED bulbs will only consume 10% of the electricity of a traditional bulb saving a small fortune in electricity. The LED bulb will typically have a lifespan of 30000 hours compared to 1000 hours for a normal light bulb. This means that if you work through the calculation that if you replace your old light bulb with an LED bulb then you will save in excess of £100 over the lifetime of the LED. In spite of these huge savings the original purchase price of LED bulbs is high.
Predicting future costs of LED bulbs
If we draw a comparison with computing then it is plausible to see a doubling of performance every eighteen months at the same cost. It would be necessary to have a 12W LED bulb to give the same light level as a conventional 100W bulb. This analysis says the a 4 times increase in output is needed which using the computing comparison would take 6 years to come into fruition.
It is constantly stated that incandescent light bulbs use excessive quantities of electricity and damage the environment. Adding weight to the argument there is at present a light bulb ban in place. This initiative was supported by environmental activists who have impacted government legislation. As a consequence conventional light bulbs are being phased out in favour of LED bulbs. I will now supply information on precisely what is the impact on your carbon footprint by migrating to LED bulbs and compare this to carbon footprint amount for transportation and other electrical appliances.
Carbon footprint reductions from using LED bulbs
A fair amount of people are bewildered by the fact that a light bulb can create C02! Clearly it cannot and it is the C02 that is released during the generation of the electricity which is critical. If you buy your electricity from a green supplier who uses wind power or hydro-electric as a result C02 emissions are low. However, the vast majority of electricity is generated using gas and oil stations that do make excessively high carbon dioxide emissions. So down to the figures. If you swap a single 100watt conventional light bulb for an energy saving light bulb then this will save approximately 100kg per year in C02. This calculation assumes that you illuminate the bulb for 4 hours per day and that you pay 13p for every kWhour for electricity. 100kg of C02 is clearly a staggering amount.
How does this compare to driving my car or using the washing machine?
This is all very factual but does 100kg of C02 released into the atmosphere actually matter and are there not different actions, other than using LED bulbs, that can be taken to achieve the same goal? To answer these important queries I would like to present the following factual data.
1. Let’s assume you take a sample family car the Ford Focus C-Max 1.8 (125PS). If you drive this for 330 mile less in one year then this will make a similar saving to swapping one of your light bulbs for one or your LED bulbs.
2. If you can alter your travel patterns to avoid 1000 miles of train travel, then this will save 100kg in C02 emissions. LED Bulbs can make a comparable reduction just by swapping just one.
3. Travelling from London to Glasgow by aeroplane will result in the production of 100kg of C02 released into the atmosphere.
Reviewing these comparisons then migrating to LED bulbs does look like a no brainer.
Some final remarks
It is clear to see that swapping to LED bulbs will make a massive improvement to your carbon footprint but there are other things worth contemplating.
Dishwashers and washing machines do consume around 3 kWhours of electricity each time they are used. In comparison to a light bulb, if they were used twice a week, this is principally similar to having 2 100 watt light bulbs switched on for 4 hours a day. As I am sure you can see that whilst these amounts are fairly high they are not excessive so simply make sure the appliances are full and do not use your tumbler dryer if the weather is good.
The advancement in lighting technologies now means that there are a spectrum of energy saving light bulbs available to purchase which can make it difficult to decide which ones are right for your application. The wide range of energy saving light bulbs are LED, Halogen and CFL bulbs which use their own technologies and as a result have contrasting characteristics and energy efficiencies. In this short and complete analysis I will provide a resume of the available technologies for energy saving light bulbs which ought to enable you to make a more informed choice.
Halogen Technology Bulbs
Halogen bulbs are deep down a high technology version of the early incandescent filament light bulb. Most halogen energy saving light bulbs save in excess of 25% in electricity costs and the lion’s share are compatible with dimmer switches. Halogen energy saving light bulbs have straighforward elegant looks and are of a modest size which means they have a great looking visual design.
CFL Light Bulbs
Compact Fluorescent Lamp- CFL energy saving light bulbs that use a miniaturised type of the fluorescent tube technology are extremely efficient saving around 75% in electricity costs. Modern CFL’s shouldn’t suffer from the dullness and flickering issues that were characteristic in the first CFL’s that hit the market. The main downside is that the looks of CFL energy saving light bulbs can be because of their larger than average size but there are some highly attractive globe shaped bulbs on the market. One thing is for sure and that is that the modern CFL is a considerable advancement on its predecessors.
LED Light Bulbs
LED light bulbs are the best type of energy saving light bulbs. When compared to orthodox light bulbs then LED’s can provide approximately a 90% energy saving. LED bulbs have the further benefit of being particularly eco friendly. Landfill is decreased because LED bulbs have a very long life and the carbon foot print is minimised due to the exceedingly low electricity consumption. The final matter is the visual appearance and the high technology look of the LED energy saving light bulbs can look very good with contemporary interiors, but if yours is traditional you must choose wisely.