Lightbulb moment: ‘I pay just £14 a year – and you can too’

(The Guardian, 19 Jan 2019) A retired engineer has slashed his lighting bill by using LED bulbs – why isn’t everyone doing it?

There is an electrical puzzle that retired engineer Rodney Birks just can’t solve. After a lifetime spent designing instruments for cars, Birks, 72, can’t quite work out why the government and millions of households are ignoring the single, simple way we can all cut the electricity bill for lighting our homes by 90%.

It will shave nearly £2bn off the energy bills for Britain’s 25m homes. It requires just a small investment, that will be repaid within three to four months – and give you a payback lasting more than 20 years. It will stop as much as 8m tonnes of CO2 entering the atmosphere and the energy saved at peak time equates to the output of three power stations the size of Hinkley Point C.

And all you have to do is change a light bulb.

The 40 bulbs in Birks’s Swindon home have all been replaced with low-energy LEDs. He has paid as little as 92p for the bulbs – such as the candle-style one pictured below, which fits into chandeliers in his living room.

“I probably have more lights in my home than most,” he says. “LEDs used to be quite expensive but have evolved and are now cheaper than most people think. The payback time is 10 weeks if you use lights for four hours a day. Lighting was making up 18% of my electricity bill, now it’s just 1.8%.

“If you change your fridge or freezer to an A+++ appliance, you’ll probably get about an extra 20% energy efficiency. But if you change your lights, the new LEDs are 10 times more efficient that the bulbs they replace. There’s nothing like it in terms of electrical efficiency.”

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The Guardian, 19 Jan 2019: Lightbulb moment: ‘I pay just £14 a year – and you can too’