At the end of March, millions of eco homes, businesses and famous landmarks will simultaneously switch off their lights at 8.30pm. This is in recognition of the WWF sponsored Earth Hour – an event that has spread to 135 countries worldwide as a symbolic way of showing concern for the environment.
You can participate in Earth Hour by registering on the campaign website and then being ready to flick the light switch to join the global blackout on the 31st March. However, if you want to take proactive steps to protect the environment then you don’t have to wait until Earth Hour; you can help reduce carbon emissions all year round by investing in eco lighting in your eco home.
£1.9 billion is spent on lighting homes every year, accounting for up to 20% of electricity bills. With this in mind, investing in eco lighting can be a great way of saving money as well as reducing carbon emissions from your eco house. Lighting is also a major cost for commercial buildings, accounting for up to 60% of total electricity bills.
The government has set the bold target of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases 60% by 2050. In order to achieve this goal, schemes are available to provide financial assistance to commercial enterprises to become greener, such as the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) and Carbon Trust 0% Interest Loans. This money can be spent on eco lighting systems, such as sensors and automated lighting controls that reduce or switch off lights when an area is vacant. These eco lighting methods could save businesses up to 80% on their electricity bills.
The different types of eco lighting to choose from
In 2011, 150 watt incandescent bulbs (which have barely changed in design since they were first invented by Thomas Edison in 1879) were phased out. These bulbs were highly inefficient as 90% of the energy produced was given off as heat and they lasted less than 1000 hours. In their place, there are now a range of eco lighting options for your eco home to choose from:
Halogen bulbs – These consume 25-30% less energy than incandescent bulbs. The name comes from the halogen gas contained within the bulb which slows its deterioration.
Energy saving CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs – Using only 9 watts, these bulbs can last 10,000 hours, which is 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. They warm up quickly, have a superior light quality and are not prone to flicker. They can also reduce carbon emissions by 70%, saving eco homes £7 per year per bulb.
LED (light emitting diodes) – These are seen as the future of eco lighting in eco homes. They can last 100,000 hours (literally a lifetime) and use a mere 2 watts. They use 75% less energy and produce 80% less heat. Without containing toxic elements like mercury or lead, they are also 100% recyclable. Although they are more expensive upfront (costing around £25), you can expect to recoup the cost of LED lights in a couple of years.
Read more about Sustainable Lighting via the 50 Q & A’s kindly supplied by Clearvision, who are leading experts in this field.