Energy Efficiency Commitment - Low Energy Lighting and Carbon Reduction

It is widely agreed that there is enormous potential for carbon reduction in the replacement of traditional light sources, , principally tungsten filament types, with more efficient technologies.
By: Peter Malt, ESEA Ltd
June 22, 2009 - PRLog -- From 2002 when the Energy Efficiency Commitment first came in to force, until 2008, when this scheme was superseded by the Carbon Emission Reduction Target, some 142 million compact fluorescent (cfls) had been 'distributed'. Up to April this year under CERT that figure has been increased by a further 152 million, making a grand total to date of 294 million. Put in perspective, that is nearly twelve for every household in the country, although there is no obligation on distributors and no mechanism for central or local government to monitor or record where all these lamps have gone. Anecdotally some homes have received several and others none at all.

If all these lamps were being used it would represent a saving of over 1 million tons of carbon by 2010, but, given the general public's hostility to their look and performance, and the fact that in existing properties the scheme relies upon the householder to decide to fit or not, this is very highly unlikely.

In newly built houses, by contrast, we should be able to have a high degree of confidence that cfls are fitted throughout and are, therefore, doing the job the government intends. However, there is an inherent flaw in this approach to reducing the energy consumed by lighting – in fitting, these lamps are physically the same as the wasteful types we are trying to get rid of and, as such, for as long as the old ones remain available from the shops or the stockpiles built up by a disaffected public, they can simply be replaced by them.

The approach of interchangeability is understandable and indeed preferable when dealing with technologies with a relatively short life span. The manufacturers' figures of 10,000 hours typical operation for a cfl actually mean that a minimum of 50% will still be working after that amount of time, so replacement remains an issue as do the sustainability credentials of the product.

What then of alternative light sources?

LED is considered by many to be the technology to use – it emits neither infra-red nor ultra-violet, is solid state, therefore very robust, has very long life* (typically more than 50,000 hours for white lamps), can be fully dimmable and has the best potential for converting a greater proportion of the energy it consumes to light rather than heat. The better product already available consumes between 14% to 20% of the energy of comparable tungsten filament lamps.

Contrary to the general perception that LED is only good for narrow beam down-lighters or decorative lighting, as seen in many DIY outlets, it already has the power to match 35W halogen and 40W or 60W incandescents in all the applications you might need – ceiling lights, table lamps, standard lamps, suspended lamps, chandeliers, wall and picture lights – and because of its very long life, unlike the give-away cfl, is viable as a complete fitting (50,000 hours gives you 8 hours a day, every day for over 17 years).

This represents a genuinely sustainable low energy lighting solution and should be on the wish list for anyone considering a new build project or major refurbishment, be it for domestic or commercial use.

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ESEA Ltd provides a wide range of renewable energy systems and energy saving technologies for both domestic and commercial clients throughout the UK.
Source:Peter Malt, ESEA Ltd
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Tags:Energy Efficiency Commitment, Low Energy Lighting, Carbon Reduction, Cfls, Led
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