Tuesday, July 04, 2006


It is really very simple:

1. Count how many ordinary ("incandescent") light bulbs you have in your home (and in your office)

2. Keep firmly in mind that an ordinary 60W bulb costs (in the US, where energy is cheap) up to USD 25 in electricity bills per year – by contrast an energy-saving bulb (a compact fluorescent light or CFL) can reduce the electricity bill by up to USD 20 PER YEAR. Since an ordinary bulb costs around USD 1.00, while an energy-saving bulb costs USD 6, your total saving in the first year of installing an energy-saving bulb will be USD 15 per bulb installed.

3. The average life-span of an ordinary bulb is around 5 months OF USSE (approx 750 and 1000 hours). By contrast, energy-saving bulbs last on average 12 times longer (that is, around five years of use). If you take replacement costs into account, you save a further six USD.

Therefore the total saving, over the average life-span (5 years) of an energy-saving bulb is USD 81. And the logical thing to do would be to immediately throw out all your ordinary bulbs and instead install energy-saving bulbs.

Immediately. Because you start saving money as soon as you start using an energy-saving bulb rather than an ordinary bulb.

In most houses, lighting accounts for approximately 15 per cent of the electricity bill, so this is certainly worth paying attention to if, like most people, you have a relatively fixed income.

So the simple set of steps outlined above helps you to save money, but how does it help the environment?

Well, 90 per cent of the energy used by an ordinary bulb generates heat rather than light (that is to say: 90% of the energy is wasted). Energy-saving bulbs generate up to 70 per cent less heat.

If every American home switched their five most-used light fittings to energy-saving bulbs, this would save the US economy USD 6bn, and reduce global greenhouse gases by nearly half a million tons.

The light used for homes and offices is a major cause of climate change and also creates "light pollution", which means that city children grow up never seeing the stars.

All the above thoughts are occasioned by the release of "Light’s Labour’s Lost" a new publication from The International Energy Agency (IEA) which sets out the policies that will be needed to implement energy-efficient lighting technologies, and to reduce energy waste and CO2 emissions. The IEA claims that this is the first detailed global analysis of the energy used for lighting, and review of the technologies, such as High-Brightness (HB) Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), that could be implemented to reduce energy consumption.

The simple low-energy light bulb and other efficient lighting systems could prevent a cumulative total of 16 billion tons of carbon from being added to the world's atmosphere over the next 25 years, according to the publication.

Moreover, far from costing money, the implementation of these already-available technologies could save more than USD 2,500 bn. Sphere: Related Content

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