A field trial of LED light fittings in social housing says the new technology can deliver huge energy savings, reduce costs and makes residents feel safer.
The study, carried out by the Energy Saving Trust (EST), measured the performance of more than 4,250 LED light fittings installed at 35 sites.
The EST said it carried out the trial because an increasing number of LED lights were now commercially available.
It is predicted the technology could dominate the lighting market by 2015.
“We like to test things in-situ in order to understand their real performance rather than rely on manufacturers’ claims,” explained James Russill, EST’s technical development manager.
But, he added: “We are at one of those rare times when there is a revolution, I think it is fair to say, within the lighting sector.
“LEDs promise to be the way forward for the whole sector, to be honest. There are so many benefits: they can be smaller, brighter; it is one of those rare technologies where the trial has shown it performs better than the lighting systems it is replacing but, at the same time, using less energy.”
At the 35 sites in the field trial, the authors of the Lit Up report calculated that the LED fittings saved more than three million kilowatt hours (kWh) each year when compared with the previous lighting.
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What is LED lighting?
Communal area with standard lighting (left) and LED fittings (right) (Image: Energy Saving Trust)
Light-emitting diodes have been around for years.
Traditionally, they have been used as indicators on electrical devices, such as standby lights on TVs. This was because LEDs were only available in red, but recent advances means that other colours are now available, and the light emitted is much brighter.
White light (used for general lighting) using LEDs can be created via a number of techniques. One example is mixing red, green and blue LEDs.
It is suggested that LEDs can last for up to 100,000 hours, compared with the 1,000 hours of traditional incandescent light-bulbs and compact fluorescent lamps’ (CFLs) 15,000 hours.
The technology is also much more energy efficient, using up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs.
The long lifespans and low energy use make LEDs economically attractive because even though the fittings cost more, the running and maintenance bills are lower.
“The trial has shown that the installation of LED light fittings can be used to maintain or enhance light levels, and in both cases can generate energy savings,” the report’s authors wrote.
They added: “The increase in colour temperature typically produced by LEDs also improved the environments monitored in the field trial, a factor much appreciated by the social housing tenants.
“With the rising price of electricity, the high efficiencies of LED lighting technology will make it an even more attractive investment in the years ahead.”
Mr Russill said that he thought that there would be a natural take-up for the new lighting systems.
“I am already aware of many people that have bought LEDs without any subsidy or incentive,” He told BBC News.
“As with any new technology, there is a higher initial cost – these products are new to market – but people seem to be looking beyond that and seeing they last much longer.
“LEDs will take over the market in due course because I think they are such better products, but I do think introducing them into a subsidy scheme would be a real benefit to speed things up,” he added.
As well as the technical benefits, Mr Russill said feedback from tenants involved in the trial highlighted social benefits too.
“Some of the comments we had was that the light was fresher, brighter and more like daylight,” he said.
“Generally, the feedback was that the lighting make it a nicer place to live.”
The brighter light levels also had a positive impact on people’s sense of security, he observed.
“We also did fit some lighting in external area, such as balcony areas and car parks.
“People also did comment and did make the areas outside feel like a safer environment because it was better lit.
“That also applied to stairwells as well which could be perceived to be an area where shadowy figures like to hang out.”
Manchester United Tops CRC Performance League Table while Virgin Atlantic is amongst worst performers.
The Environment Agency has published its first Carbon Reduction Commitment Performance League Table (CRC League Table) ranking 2,000 registered organisations on how they manage their business electricity usage and carbon emissions. According to EA’s data more than 60% of the registered companies have installed smart meters or gained good energy management and Carbon Trust accreditation.
2010-2011 CRC League Table
Out of the 2,000 organisations 22 ranked joint first with a weighted score of 202.95 while 800 organisations ranked in the lowest possible position of the CRC League Table with a weighted score of 402.
At the top highlights to Red Football Limited, popularly known as Manchester United, energy regulator OFGEM, UBS, British American Tabacco and the Department of Energy & Climate Change.
On the opposite side of the table there are well known organisations that failed to improve their business energy efficiency or cut down on their carbon emissions. They include Centrica, Virgin Atlantic, Peugeot, the Zoological Society and London and Zurich Financial Services.
The Environment Agency did not disclose information on those organisations that failed to comply with the legislation and will now face fines starting from £45,000.
How the PLT is compiled
The Performance League Table (PLT) ranks the relative performance of the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme participant against the three weighted metrics: Early Action Metric, Absolute Metric and Growth Metric. Participants with the same weighted score are sorted alphabetically.
Weighted Score – The sum of the score for each metric multiplied by the weighting for that metric. The weighting applied to each metric is dependent on the compliance year to which the Performance League Table relates. The higher the score the better the ranking in the PLT.
Emissions (Tonnes of CO2) – Your “CRC Emissions”. These are the CO2 emissions associated with the CRC supplies of a participant for an annual reporting year.
Early Action Metric (%) – The average percentage of i) the proportion of non-mandatory CRC electricity or gas supplies which are measured through voluntarily installed “automatic meter reading” meters or dynamic supply in year 1 and ii) CRC emission coverage by the Carbon Trust Standard or equivalent.
Absolute Emissions Metric (%) – The percentage change in the CRC Emissions of a participant (not applicable for the first reporting year).
Growth Metric (%) – The percentage change in CRC Emissions per unit turnover or revenue expenditure for an annual reporting year (not applicable for the first reporting year).
Those interested in the CRC League Table can download the PLT here.
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Air pollution from industry costs Britain €4-11bn a year in health and environmental damage according to the European environment agency. When CO2 costs are included, the figure rises to between €11-18bn – more than what the government spends each year on the arts, environment, transport and security and intelligence combined.
In a first attempt to link financial costs to emissions from large power stations, refineries, waste plants and factories, the Copenhagen-based agency calculates that air pollution cost Europe €100-169bn in 2009. It has used government figures and has arrived at the costs by factoring in population densities, health costs, building damage and crop losses from pollutants such as low-level ozione. By far the biggest single pollutant is CO2, one of the main climate change gases. Costs have been calculated by using the British government’s “marginal abatement costs” – an estimate of what it expects it will cost to cut CO2 emissions in 2020.
Emissions from power plants made up the largest share of the damage costs at €66–112bn. Production processes cost €23–28bn and manufacturing combustion €8–21bn. Sectors excluded from the EEA analysis include transport, households and most farming activities. If these were included the cost of pollution would almost certainly be more than doubled. Half of the total damage cost (between €51bn and €85bn) was caused by just 191 facilities.
Britain emerges as Europe’s third greatest industrial polluter, behind Germany and Poland, which depends almost entirely on coal for power. Britain’s largest, and most costly polluter is Drax power station which, says the EEA, emits 20.5m tonnes of CO2 a year and costs the economy over 1 billion Euros a year. Drax emerges as Europe’s fifth most polluting plant.
Britain has 16 of Europe’s top 100 polluting plants, second only to Germany with 17. Longannet, Cottam, Ratcliffe on Soar and West Burton power stations together emit more than over 30m tonnes of CO2 and other pollutants and cost the economy up to €2.7bn a year.
While there are stringent laws on air pollution, European governments have found it difficult to cut emissions in areas such as transport, and are mostly in breach of EU laws.
The report is published following a plan announced in March by EU environment commissioner Janez Potočnik to make 2013 the “year of air”. Potočnik says he wants stronger air quality laws across the European Union but many member states are already failing to enforce current rules. The European commission has begun a comprehensive review of existing laws that could lead within a year to changes in the 2008 air quality directive.
“It’s very clear we’ve been able to reduce emissions but that those emissions have not translated into ambient air quality,” said Jacqueline McGlade, who heads the Copenhagen-based EEA.
The EEA’s 2011 report on air quality, released this month, shows broad historical improvements, levels of nitrogen oxide (NO2), ozone and particulate matter have risen, fuelling concerns about overall air quality especially in urban “hot spots”.
Poor air quality has been shown in some studies to lead to nearly 500,000 deaths a year in the EU, while the EEA’s upper estimates show that anti-pollution measures could cut prematuyre deaths to 230,000 in 2020.
Germany, with its large industrial facilities and large power plants, is the biggest polluter Europe-wide – resulting in a cost of €21.5bn – €33.8bn of the overall €100-€169bn bill. Five of the top 10 emitters are German.
The two biggest polluters, which are in Poland and Bulgaria, are followed by the largest German brown coal power plant, a 3,000 megawatt power plant in Jaenschwalde, in the federal state of Brandenburg, which is owned by Vattenfall Europe. It was taken into operation in the 1980s, and modernised in the 1990s, but has been a target of environmentalists for years. This month activists from Greenpeace and Oxfam protested in front of the plant, claiming that brown coal is a “climate killer” and its mining should be stopped.
Vattenfall plans to open five new mines and to build a carbon capture and storage demonstration plant in Jaenschwalde. The other four big Geman polluters are power plants owned by the German energy company RWE.
The greatest refurbishment of Britain’s homes since world war two will be revealed on Wednesday by Chris Huhne. The “green deal” aims to retrofit 14m homes to increase their energy efficiency by the early 2020s, according to ministers.
The programme is at the heart of the coalition government’s plan to meet the UK’s legally binding carbon emission cuts, and focuses on an area seen by many as the cheapest and easiest way to tackle climate change. Of the UK’s carbon emissions, 29% come from homes. Improving the warmth of people’s homes will also help tackle rising fuel poverty – there are over 25,000 excess winter deaths a year – and the politically toxic issue of soaring home energy bills, driven upwards by rising wholesale gas prices. Fuel poverty campaigners protested on Monday outside EDF Energy’s headquarters in London.
The green deal will offer homeowners a loan for insulation and other measures that will meet the so-called golden rule: that the energy savings delivered by the measures will be bigger than the loan repayments.
But there has been widespread concern from businesses, consumer groups, environmental campaigners and opposition politicians that the policy, due to be revealed in a consultation by Chris Huhne today, will be unable to meet ministers’ high ambitions.
Getting homeowners to install energy saving measures is notoriously hard, even when provided for free. A cashback incentive of £150 has been discussed but some fear this will be insufficient. The rate of interest charged on the loan is also key: the higher the rate, the less can be done while still meeting the golden rule. A green deal finance company has been proposed to group together loans, and therefore reduce interest rate, but it lacks start-up finance. Ministers had initially talked about household names such as B&Q and Tesco being involved as providers, but as yet none have pledged to take part.
The UK’s ageing homes are far less energy efficient than European counterparts, with, for example, energy bills for Norwegian homes being lower than those in the UK. In Britain, 10m (43%) of all lofts remain unlagged or very poorly lagged, and 8m houses with cavity walls (42%) have yet to be insulated.
We’re pleased to report that in the last year we have seen a 1% drop in the carbon footprint, in relation to building energy use in the NHS in England.
This is despite a 2.8% increase in levels of activity and a cold winter.
This reduction is an excellent sign that progress is being made and becoming apparent in annual measurements.
The last year’s decrease represents a saving of at least £2.9m for the NHS in England.
In addition, an increase in recycling of 39% (by weight) has significantly reduced carbon emissions and improved use of limited resources. Read more about building energy use and waste and water CO2e emissions.
Please note: The 1% drop in the building energy carbon footprint must be viewed in the context that the last four years have seen a rise of 4.3% in building energy usage. However in the last year building energy usage has started to reduce. See graphical representation below.
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Solar panels biggest earning contributor, the feed-in tariff is to be halved as of 12th December 2011. Although solar panels, with their ability to reduce electricity bills and CO2 emissions, have only become hot news over the past year or so, the Government has announced plans to cut the subsidy from 43p to 21p meaning investors will earn only half of the money that is currently up for grabs.
How does solar work?
When installed, solar panels catch the sun’s rays and absorb solar energy. When harnessed using renewable energy technology, solar panels enable you to generate your own electricity.
Solar panels have a number of benefits. Aside from reducing investors’ carbon footprint, there are three main areas where solar panels can make you money.
The energy you generate via solar panels is immediately available to you free of charge. It does not get drawn through your electricity meter, so reductions in your electricity bill are achieved from the date of install.
Get paid for the electricity you generate
This is one of the ways where the feed in tariff (FIT) comes into play. Under the current subsidy, you can be paid for the electricity you generate, whether you use it yourself or not. At present, the Government pay 43.3p to home owners for every unit of electricity that is generated, but recent reports have revealed this will be cut to 21p as of 12th December 2011. A cut meaning only half the amount of money can be earned using solar PV.
Sell electricity back to the grid
Aside from being paid for the electricity you generate, you can also be paid for any excess electricity you sell back to the grid. This equates at 3.1p for every kWh of electricity that is sold back.
Act now to make £55,000 over 25 years
The US Department of Energy has granted $9.5 million to a company in California that plans to build America’s first recycling facility for lithium-ion vehicle batteries.
Anaheim-based Toxco says it will use the funds to expand an existing facility in Lancaster, OH, that already recycles the lead-acid and nickel-metal hydride batteries used in today’s hybrid-electric vehicles.
There is currently little economic need to recycle lithium-ion batteries. Most batteries contain only small amounts of lithium carbonate as a percentage of weight and the material is relatively inexpensive compared to most other metals.
All aspects of food – production, processing, distribution, retail, consumption and waste – must be addressed, says Hilary Ben.
Regular wheat already reflects large amounts of sunlight ? new varieties could Photograph: Graham Turner/Guardian
Fewer cut-price supermarket gimmicks and other measures to help target food waste are central to a new government food security strategy to maintain UK food supplies for the next 40 years.
The strategy is highly critical of bogof – “buy one get one free” – offers and heavily reduced “loss leader” lines that encourage shoppers to buy food they don’t need which eventually ends up in the bin.
Broadcaster is assessing ‘health issues’ of tap water after a freedom of information request revealed cost to licence fee payers.
The BBC spends nearly half a million pounds a year on bottled water for water coolers. Photograph: Getty Creative
The BBC has been accused of wasting public money and creating unnecessary environmental damage by spending nearly half a million pounds a year on bottled water. Responding to a freedom of information request from the Guardian, the public broadcaster said it spent £406,000 annually on large bottles for its water coolers.
Reduce your home and office usage of water with our range of water saving devices.
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Researchers at Imperial College London embark on ‘artificial leaf’ project to produce power by mimicking photosynthesis.
It is one of evolution’s crowning achievements – a mini green power station and organic factory combined and the source of almost all of the energy that fuels every living thing on the planet.
Now scientists developing the next generation of clean power sources are working out how to copy, and ultimately improve upon, the humble leaf.