Action 002: New Year, new lights

Light bulb and hand

Date: 02 January
Action: 002
Cost of taking action: £/$/€ LOW

 

Our second action this year is nothing new; replace any old incandescent or halogen light bulbs in your home or office with low energy LED bulbs.

This is something we have all been encouraged to do for many years; in fact in some countries it is now difficult to buy old style incandescent (filament) bulbs. However, in homes and offices they still abound, so now is the time to be proactive about changing them, not waiting until they “blow”.

The cost of low energy bulbs has been a barrier in the past, but in recent months and years the price has tumbled. Cost is no longer an excuse for not taking this simple and effective action. Also, many people stocked up on them in the same way we used to stock up on old style filament bulbs, only to find that they are not needed because their service life is so much longer, so a quick search on FaceBook Marketplace and the like will often link you to people selling them off really cheaply or even giving them away.

So why are they effective? The simple fact is that they both work better AND use a lot less energy. Replacing a 60W filament bulb with an 8W LED bulb will give you better light, eliminate the hassle of replacing bulbs as they blow, and reduce electricity consumption and carbon emissions for your lighting by over 85%.

Yes, 85%!

Maths time: If you have two 60W filament bulbs in your house, say in two kids’ bedrooms, and they each burn for an average of 5 hours a day (probably more in the winter), that’s a total electricity consumption of 2 x 60W x 5hrs x 30days = 18kW-hours each month. A kW-hour is a “unit” of electricity, and typically (in the UK where we are based) a unit costs around 20p. So that means that running your two light bulbs costs £3.60 each month or £43 a year. Reducing this by our 85% will save you over £36 a year.

A quick visit to Amazon (link good at 02 Jan 2021) reveals you can buy a pack of six 8W LED bulbs for £13 – about £2.15 each. So, an investment of £4.30 saves you £36 each year. It is, quite simply, a complete no-brainer. The maths is based on UK prices but numbers will be similar around the world.

And that’s just two kids’ bedroom bulbs, so you can see how the savings will add up significantly across a whole building, then street, then town … …

Saving money is good, of course, but saving electricity also reduces your carbon emissions. According to carbonfootprint.com, if every household in the UK changed just 3 light bulbs, enough energy would be saved to light the whole country’s street lamps.

It’s a classic example of how a lot of people taking a small action can make a big difference, which is what this site is all about.

So … please be proactive about this. In January, check all your light bulbs and swap out any non-LED bulbs for new ones.

Oh … and as a bonus, did you know that LED bulbs are recyclable, but old bulbs are not. Couple that with the fact that they last 15-20 times as long and you’ll be saving landfill as well.