Over a quarter of carbon emissions come from the home. According to Great Britain’s housing energy fact file, a report drawn up by the government, energy use for lighting has increased by 66% since 1970 despite widespread take up of low energy lights. This usage needs to come back down; it can and it will with LED lighting.

LED lights are a favourite for eco-friendly homeowners and businesses. Not only do they save you masses of money on your energy bill, but this goes hand-in-hand with reducing your carbon footprint, in even more ways than you originally thought! But how exactly do LED lights reduce your carbon footprint?

Trina Solar says the UK solar industry could be set to boom this year, with an additional 2GW doubling its current installed capacity.
The company’s sales director Richard Rushin said new stability following the government’s announcement last year of a graduated degression timeline for incentive programmes would also see a revival in the residential and commercial sectors.
Speaking ahead of the Ecobuild 2013 event at London’s ExCeL, he said: “Now that a sensibly staged path to an industry fully independent of subsidies has been signposted, there is reason to think the impressive momentum of 2012 can continue or be exceeded through 2013.
“We have an understandable programme of rolling reductions over the next few years, offering manufacturers and installers stability that is the envy of the global solar PV community. A new installed capacity of 2GW is a realistic projection for the year.
“Applications until the official deadline on January 15 indicate a total of between 800MW and 1GW to be installed across solar farm sites during the first quarter as people look to benefit from the peak Renewable Obligation Certificate level before it is lowered on 1 April. But we also expect the reduced rate of 1.6 for ground-based arrays will enable expansion of the large-scale segment to continue through the rest of the year.”
Rushin will chair a panel at Ecobuild 2013, which runs from tomorrow to Thursday, to discuss the opportunities that exist for solar technologies to revitalise the commercial market.
He went on: “While solar parks have come to the fore recently, 2013 will also see a resurgence in residential and commercial installations thanks to the new clarity regarding Feed-in Tariff and ROC.
“What the industry has managed to achieve in the UK is a sustainable model for future growth. We are now very well placed to achieve the 20Gw of total installed solar PV capacity that DECC has indicated is technically feasible by 2020.”
Source - Trina Solar

I know from my travels discussing voltage optimisation, some folk are yet to be convinced of the benefits of voltage optimisation, so in this blog I will give some real life examples of how it works within a domestic environment and dispel some of the rumours.

One of the assumptions that is often made is that ‘voltage optimisation would make no difference to energy costs for the domestic customer as you are charged by KWA and not by voltage, although there may though be carbon efficiency reductions.’ The VO4HOME unit makes a difference for both energy costs and carbon efficiency reductions. The VO4HOME unit optimises the incoming voltage to a constant 220V giving householders (or indeed small businesses) immediate energy savings. Typical savings with VO4HOME are around £90 per year. Yes, householders are charged by the KVA but excessive voltage results in greater KVA / Power demand, hence increasing your electricity bill. So aside from reducing costs and carbon, the unit reduces wear on household appliances caused by electrical over-supply and power surges. Another common assumption is that… ‘Devices that require a certain amount of electrical power, like an oven - it takes X kWh to heat up a particular oven and keep it hot for 90 minutes. Voltage optimisation will do nothing for this sort of device as it will just take longer to get the oven hot by powering it at a lower voltage and the thermostat will cut the element in for slightly longer to keep it hot therefore no savings are achieved.’ A conventional oven is designed to work perfectly well on 220V as much as 240/250. It does not take the same amount of kWh to heat an oven to a specific temperature and keep it hot for 90 mins and there are benefits in voltage optimisation in these appliances as less energy is wasted in the cooling/re-heating phases due to thermostatic control. Typically 7% savings can be observed, not to mention that all modern household appliances are energy rated which is rated on the appliance been run at 220V (the optimum voltage for use in the EU). However, it does take exactly the same amount of energy to boil a cup of water whether you use 220v or 250v. Also there are significant benefits from the appliance been run at a lower voltage than 240V in fact the following, originally published by the IEE underpins this technology: “A 230V linear appliance used on a 240V supply will take 4.3% more current and will consume almost 9% more energy.” (UK Electrician’s Guide, 16th Edition BS7671.) “A 230V bulb used at 240V will achieve only 55% of its rated life.” (UK, IEE Electricians Guide) Fridges/Freezers benefit significantly from Voltage Optimisation as the motors run at their designed speed & heat, reducing excess heat produced by over voltage thus reducing the need to run in order to cool the appliance, typically inductive loads such as these types of motors can see a reduction in energy usage of up to 17%, the same goes for the motors on Air Con, (though not modern units using variable speed invertors) washing machines/tumble dryers and dish washers. Not to mention again the benefit in the extended life expectancy of the appliances due to them being used at the optimum voltage of 220V. VO4HOME have run test cases in conjunction with Npower & Hurley Palmer & Flatt where we achieved savings of 12% and currently whilst running a number of test studies to obtain our CERT value we have been showing savings of between 14-17%. I hope this gives you a clearer understanding of the benefits of voltage optimisation in the home and the savings which can be achieved. Mohamed Ghodawala - V4HOME Blog

When you are considering which lamps to use, you will obviously look at energy efficient lighting and developments in LED mean that you can acheive better light quality than old lamps, while using far less electricity.

Another thing to bear in mind is the expected life of the lamp:


In the current financial and environmental climate, it is getting to the stage where homeowners must be more careful on how and where they spend their money.

There are of course many ways to save money around the house.

From the traditional tactic of turning the thermostat down a degree (saving £65 and 260kg of carbon dioxide per year), to the new ways, such as investing in light-emitting diodes (otherwise known as LEDs).

But what are LEDs?

LEDs use a different type of way to produce light from traditional light bulbs. The diodes within the light represent simple solid state devices that allow the electricity to flow in one direction only; the diode therefore emits light as the light flows through it.

Although LEDs have been around since the 1960sm it has only been until relatively recently that they have started to appear in our homes. Although LEDs can sometimes be more expensive than conventional lighting, they can save you money, help protect the environment and are recommended by the Energy Saving Trust.

So how much can you save?

For example, if you buy a GU10-SHORT Spotlight bulb, use it for 12 hours a day, for seven days a week, you will be looking at an annual saving of £20.73; on one light bulb.

Bearing in mind that the average bulb costs just under £10, the bulb itself will pay for itself in roughly 5 months and offer you a lifetime saving of £189.84.

GU10 LED Bulbs from TE Energy are just one of the great LED lighting options available for your home.

And how good are they for the environment?

Not only will LED lights save you money, but they shall also improve your energy efficiency. Whereas conventional light bulbs use only 20 per cent of their energy to produce light, you can find in LEDs, this statistic reversed.

One of the reasons that the bulbs save you so much money is down to the fact that the average LED light will operate at an 80 to 90 per cent efficiency rate.

With conventional bulbs you will find that they lose 80 per cent of their energy through the heat that they produce.

This isn’t the only environmental benefit to LEDs however, as in reality, there are quite a few.

Another reason why they are so popular is due to the fact that they live far longer than conventional bulbs and are able to survive up to 100,000 hours; a total of 11 years of operation.

Conventional light bulbs only offer lifespans roughly spanning 5000 hours – offering a stark contrast.

In addition to this, LED lights come free of any toxic chemicals. Whereas fluorescent light bulbs contain many toxic chemicals including mercury, LEDs do not contain any, and are fully recyclable.

In fact, if you were to fully kit your house out with LED light bulbs, you could actually reduce your carbon footprint by up to one third.


Retailers’ electricity, gas and waste costs have soared nearly £3billion over the last two years.

Six in ten UK consumers distrust their energy suppliers because they don’t give good value for money and due to lack of openness and transparency.

New research by price comparison site uSwitch.com showed the number of people distrusting energy companies have risen, with 45% trusting suppliers less than a few years ago. Poor communication is claimed to be key, with a quarter saying suppliers don’t provide easy-to-understand bills and information and 17% think they communicate badly.


Households must prepare for a sharp rise in energy bills within two years as Britain comes “dangerously” close to power shortages, the chief executive of Ofgem has warned.


I am delighted to be at Sandown today, launching the first in a series of six Solar Roadshows across the UK. As the Roadshows journey across the UK, so can the industry grow on its foundations to reach out to new markets and customers, and succeed across the country.

Domestic energy bills in the UK will rise by 54% by 2020, driven by a combination of rising wholesale prices and green energy measures, according to new analysis.