By switching to more energy efficient light bulbs households can save energy, help the environment and reduce their energy bills. The EU phase-out of incandescent light bulbs began in 2009 when 100W bulbs stopped being sold, it was then the turn of the 75W light bulb and finally all remaining clear incandescent bulbs on the market, including 40W and 25W varieties were phased out in September 2012.
Incandescent light bulbs are incredibly wasteful as 90% of the electricity they use produces heat rather than light. The use of traditional light bulbs can account for as much as one-fifth of household electricity consumption. The electricity used over the lifetime of a single incandescent bulb costs 5 to 10 times the original purchase price of the bulb itself. The average home using all incandescent light bulbs spends up to €292 per year on light bulbs.
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) use 80% less electricity and last up to 10 times longer than ordinary light bulbs. The average home changing to all ‘A’ rated CFL’s could save up to €143.88 per year.
Light emitting diodes (LEDs) use up to 85% less electricity than the standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 12 times as long as the traditional incandescent light bulbs. They offer the advantages of CFLs — lower power consumption and longer lifetimes but without the downside of toxic mercury.
Although a little more costly than CFL’s you would make your money back in one year through energy savings. A standard 50W Halogen spot light would cost about € 10.57 per year in electricity charges. If replaced with a 7W LED spotlight it would have a comparable running cost of just € 1.37 per year. *This represents a saving of €9.20 in electricity costs alone per bulb in just 1 year.
This adds up to a substantial savings when you take into account the number of Halogen GU10 spot lights that are installed in kitchens, hallways and bathrooms of most homes today.
How many Halogen down lighters have you in installed in your home?
* based on an electricity cost of 19.31 cent per unit (kWh) and the light bulb switched on for 3 hours per day for 1 year.
On one of our recent visits to Wales we visited the Osbaston hydropower project on the river Monnow. The project consists of two 3.6m diameter Archimedes Screw hydropower turbines. The turbines were designed to rotate at a speed of 28rpm, which produce a maximum power output of 150kW. The estimated annual power output is 670,000kWh enough electricity to power over 150 homes and gives an estimated annual CO2 saving of 288 tonnes.
A small percentage of the power generated is used to power the owners home and the remainder is sold to the National Grid. The fish pass and hydropower scheme was offically opened in 2009.
An earlier hydroelectric power station had been on the site from 1896 and provided Monmouth with electricity, using the weir and water channels of the forge, until 1953, shortly after the nationalisation of the power grid in 1947. Landowner Ronald Kear unearthed the foundations of a 110 year old hydropower station whilst working on his property and this prompted him to consider the prospect of building a new power station as a source of renewable energy.
Alongside the hydropower scheme is the Osbaston fish pass, built in 2008 by the Environment Agency Wales so that salmon could avoid the weir and spawn upstream. The following year migratory salmon were found 20 miles (32 km) above the fish pass. The fish pass allows river-spawning fish, such as salmon, to access an extra 125 miles of river – something which they had not been able to do since Osbaston Weir was put in place in the 18th century.
The new fish pass also provided an opportunity to significantly improve the ecological quality of the water. Additional work completed by the Agency helped reduce the build up of sediment and provide freedom of movement for other species of fish, upstream and downstream. Environment Agency Wales is working to bring all rivers in Wales up to a ‘good’ standard by 2027 as required by the Water Framework Directive, a major environmental initiative to make Wales’ natural waters even better.
The fish counter has recorded several species of fish using the pass, including salmon which have not been observed in the Monnow upstream of Osbaston Weir in living memory. Not only is this positive in terms of biodiversity, but the establishment of a river as a salmon fishery can also bring major benefits to local communities through a growth in the leisure industry supported by angling.
Once again we see the Ancient power of Archimedes being used for hydropower generation because if it’s fish-friendly credentials. The Archimedean Screw turbine provides a fish-friendly alternative to conventional turbines, ideally suited to low-head (1m-10m) sites, and sites with fish protection issues. Extensive fish passage tests have conclusively demonstrated that the large water chambers and slow rotation of the Archimedean Screw allow fish of all sizes, and debris, safe passage through the turbine. As a result, the Environment Agency has agreed that no screening is required.