The Ban The Bulb energy efficiency campaign is one of Dr Matt Prescott's environmental projects  | Contact BTB  
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              A campaign to save money and help the environment by using energy efficient light bulbs

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Ban The Bulb: Campaign Aims...
This campaign aims:

1. To increase the use of energy-efficient light bulbs.

2. To encourage the taxing and phasing out of incandescent light bulbs.

3. To propose a time limit for the replacement of light fittings requiring the use of incandescent light bulbs and for altering the shopping habits of consumers.

4. To include environmental costs in the prices consumers pay for their light bulbs and to reward those who switch to using less polluting light bulbs.

In 2001, lighting accounted for 101 billion kWh (8.8%) of U.S. household electricity use. Incandescent lamps, which are commonly found in households, are highly inefficient sources of light because about 90% of the energy used is lost as heat. For that reason, lighting has been one focus of efforts to increase the efficiency of household electricity consumption.

Energy-efficient light bulbs use up to 67% less energy that traditional light bulbs, with no loss in light. They also last 8 to 10 times longer, delivering up to seven years of light.

This campaign has been established in order to illustrate that it is possible to tackle our energy and climate problems by using technological solutions which already exist, work well + save money.

However, in order to kick-start this change we must begin to turn fine words and good intentions into action. Hinting at possible solutions, but not being prepared to introduce the new laws and taxes or the binding targets necessary to guarantee the delivery of far greater energy-efficiency, has not worked.

Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs is something that we could all do, quickly and simply, without any serious loss in our quality of life. We would also save ourselves approximately £7 per bulb per year!

An average American home has about 30 light bulbs, 3 of them burning for 5 hours or more per day. If all American homes replaced just 3 of these bulbs with long-lasting bulbs, Americans could save electricity equivalent to the output of 11 fossil-fuel-fired power plants. In turn they would eliminate about 23 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year - and save about $1,800,000,000.
ref: Natural Capitalism by Hawken, Lovins and Lovins.

The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution has recommended that the UK should aim to reduce it's greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2050. In order to achieve this we will need to make cuts wherever and whenever they are possible. Making sure that we all start making use of evergy saving light bulbs would be a good place to start...

Ban The Bulb: Campaign Proposals...
1. To use the tax system to discourage wasteful energy use.

A £1 tax on every incandescent light bulb would help to increase the uptake of environmentally friendly technologies, and allow light bulb prices to include more of the environmental costs associated with wasting energy and burning fossil fuels.

Waiving this tax on energy-efficient lightbulbs would also encourage the uptake of existing technologies and drive further innovation.

Should a single-rate tax on all incandescent bulbs not be possible, one alternative might be to charge a tax of 1p on each watt of light. Under such a scheme a 20W bulb would incur a 20p charge on top of it's sales price, a 40W bulb would incur a 40p charge and a 100W bulb would cost an extra £1.

This pence-per-watt scheme would have the advantage that it proportionately charged those who used the most energy and discouraged the use of lots of short-lived light bulbs, but the disadvantage that it charged less to those who used halogen bulbs (which generally have a low wattage).

2.To support the use of energy-efficient light bulbs.

Any revenue generated by taxing wasteful light bulbs should be put towards subsidising the price of energy-efficient light bulbs, and supporting other energy saving programmes.

3. Phase out and ban incandescent light bulbs

To promote the phasing out and banning of 60W, 100W as an easy first steps, with other designs being phased out as appropriate alternative designs become available.

See the full list of campaign goals on the homepage.

What you can do!

1. Ask your local shops to stock energy-efficient light bulbs.

2. Try an energy-efficient light bulb the next time you buy a bulb.

3. Support the phasing out, and eventual banning, of wasteful incandescent light bulbs!

4. Write to your member of parliament/congress and ask for energy efficiency to be given a greater priority.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Suppliers of cheap CFLs
Ban The Bulb hopes that readers will find it useful to know that Light Bulbs Direct offer a wide range of CFLs for 99p each, that Asda stores offer Philips Genie bulbs for 47p each, and that Morrisons have recently had a 99p BOGOF deal. (Andrew)

ScrewFix have a very impressive range of energy saving bulbs, designed to fit many different light fittings and all budgets. (Derek)

B&Q currently offer a pack containing two 20w plus four 11w fluorescent bulbs (spiral design) for £8. (Simon)

IKEA have a good range of bulbs, sold in pairs, which are available for £5.99. IKEA will also take back your old light bulbs, so that the trace amounts of mercury in them (4mg per bulb) can be disposed of responsibly. (Joan + Nick).

Most CFLs are not designed to be used with dimmer switches. Special adaptors are available for larger bulbs and General Electric make Soft White dimmables which are available in the US but not the EU. LEDs might be the best bet if this issue affects you...

It has been projected that 10-watt Light Emitting Diodes units will soon be available with efficiencies of 60 lumens per watt. These devices will produce about as much light as a common 50-watt incandescent bulb, and will facilitate the use of LEDs for general illumination. At present, LED Online offer lights from £6.49 to £20.99. (John)

LEDs use 90% less electricity than traditional light bulbs, but are not quite ready to revolutionise domestic lighting in the way that they have already revolutionised traffic lights. At present, LEDs are most suitable as "night lights" or as replacements for halogen spot lights.

If you sign up to London Energy Green Tariff you get two energy saving bulbs for free. (Jessica)

Kennet district council can have two free low-energy light bulbs if local residents fill out one of their home energy checks. (Peter)

BTB has been told by a lighting expert at the UK's Building Research Establish that the mercury emitted by a coal-fired power station whilst illuminating an incandescent light bulb is likely to exceed the amount of mercury inside a CFL. CFLs have the distinct advantage that they can be disposed of safely.

I am also looking into the comparative levels of embodied energy in CFL and incandescent light bulbs. For the time being, I will point out that, over its lifetime, each CFL is likely to replace 6-7 incandescent bulbs, and that this comparison is not as simple as it may appear. The relevant facts and figures are proving rather difficult to obtain, but I will post more on this issue as soon as possible.

Please get in touch if you know of any suppliers who can match or beat the above offers.

My thanks to the readers who have provided this information.

This campaign does not endorse any company or guarantee availability.

Further reading:

DEFRA - Market Transformation Programme
> Domestic Lighting reports
> Variation of the Rate of VAT on Lamps

Oxford University - Environmental Change Istitue
> 40% House report