Sunday, 6 January 2019

"LED lights making dent in UK energy demand"

From the BBC:

The new analysis of government figures comes from the environmental analysis website Carbon Brief. Its author says EU product standards on light bulbs, fridges, vacuum cleaners and other appliances have played a substantial part in reducing energy demand.

Provisional calculations show that electricity generation in the UK peaked around 2005. But generation per person is now back down to the level of 1984 (around 5 megawatt hours per capita).

It’s widely known that the great switch from coal power to renewables has helped the UK meet ambitions to cut carbon emissions. The report says the use of renewables reduced fossil fuel energy by the equivalent of 95 terawatt hours (TWh) between 2005 and now. And last year renewables supplied a record 33% share of UK electricity generation.

But in the meantime, humble energy efficiency has contributed to cutting energy demand by 103 TWh. In other words, in the carbon-cutting contest, efficiency has won – so far. And what’s more, efficiency is uncontroversial, unlike wind and solar.

All good stuff, as far as I can see, even if you put the climate change wibble to one side.

Whether the UK government would have imposed the same product standards as the EU is unknown, but there is no reason to assume it couldn't have done so; whether consumers and manufacturers would have responded the same way in the absence of such standards is also unknown, but hey. Higher electricity prices (with or without taxes on top) will tend to have this effect all by themselves.
On a vaguely related topic, a few years ago, I bought some cheap roller blinds from IKEA for the windows and back door in our kitchen, so that I could reduce the glare of the winter sun shining directly on the telly and blinding me generally when it reflects off the sink and work surfaces.

I left them down in the evening and was surprised to see that they have really good insulating properties as well. They're just thin bits of white cloth with small gaps around them, but they do make the room noticeably warmer, even when I leave the back door open a couple of inches for ventilating cigarette smoke.

So a doubleplusgood investment of about £10 per window plus a couple of hours faff.


Lola said...

Don't need the product standards. They're just bansturbation. A carbon tax though, yes.
Now that LED's are getting price competitive i am using them as replacements.

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, my thoughts exactly. I started buying the energy saver light bulbs in the early 1990s, they were hideously expensive (£10 - £15 each) but they more than made up for that in the reduced electricity bill (plus they lasted for a decade). They're cheaper now £1 each or something but don't seem to last as long.

Bayard said...

LEDs are the way forward. Now that you can get bulbs that look just like the old incandescent bulbs, but consume a 20th of the power (2W LED = 40W incandescent), why should you use anything else? Those compact fluorescent bulbs were a blind alley.

Physiocrat said...

People would buy LED lamps anyway, now that they are reliable and competitively priced. The long life is a particular advantage where the lamps are not easily accessible, especially in commercial and public situations.

The EU mis-timed the regulations, resulting in a load of waste contaminated with mercury from the CF bulbs which were the only alternative to filament lamps at the time.

Typical EU at its best - a well intentioned measure but they still manage to get something seriously wrong.

Lola said...

Physio. Standard central planning failure.

Ralph Musgrave said...

I've just put a ONE WATT LED light in my porch: that's enough to make the house look a bit more welcoming from the outside.

Re the "small gaps" round the edge of blinds to which Mark refers, I've managed to almost eliminate those gaps with bits of wood which protrude over the edge of the blinds in my study. Effectively the blind then turns single glazing into double glazing, or doubtle glazing into trebble glazing.

Lola said...

RM/MW. Heavy curtains were always as much about insulation as anything else.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, will the LED's fit in normal bayonet fittings?

Ph, in defence of the EU (for once), the low energy bulbs were around for at least ten years before LED lights, you can't expect them to predict that far ahead.

RM< they're in the kitchen, it's all just painted brick, wooden lats are going to completely mess up the look.

L, yes, what other reason would there be?

Bayard said...

Mark, you can get them for any fitting you like, bayonet, Edison screw, small bayonet, small ES, etc etc. You can even get dimmable ones, but they are more expensive and don't dim very far down.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, ta, good. I bought some new spotlights for the little girl's room a couple of months ago, they were LED. Seems to be the way forward.

Jonathan Bagley said...

Definitely replace kitchen down lights with LED. You'll save a significant amount of money.

Jonathan Bagley said...

Mark, there are two kinds of down-light bulbs. The ones which run off 240 volts and those that run off a transformer. The latter, which I bought, which have thinner "bayonets" are more difficult to find, but are available.