Do you turn off lights? Research in 2019 shows you probably don’t. A report commissioned by furniture maker Utility Design showed the average household was needlessly burning through up to £800 a year by leaving lights on in unoccupied rooms and not turning lights off at night when everyone was fast asleep. With the recent surge in power prices the cost of failing to turn lights off now comes to £1003.
Many of us waste less that this of course, but even one bulb left on overnight could be costing you close to a pound a night. Multiply that by 365 and the yearly cost quickly mounts up.
To put it another way, there are hundreds of pounds you can save this year by simply remembering to turn off unnecessary lightbulbs. Even if we forget about saving the planet for a moment, saving ready cash is always a good thing.
Just think what you could do with a few hundred pounds extra, simply by flicking a switch?
As the graph above shows, the cost of electricity has risen steeply this year and we, the consumers will end up footing the bill.
Never forget to turn off lights
There are ways to help us remember to turn off lights (or to let tech do it for us). If you have wifi in your home you could be controlling your lighting by computer.
Tapo is just one manufacturer that offers smart bulbs that can be set to turn off automatically at night and can be controlled via a computer, tablet or smartphone as well as the wall switch.
The cost of these bulbs might mean they don’t save money in year one, but over a bulb’s lifetime they should do so.
Another option is a set of low cost mini smart plugs that sit between the wall socket and the plugs of non-fixed lighting. They can offer the same functionality as smart bulbs at a reasonable cost. They will pay for themselves in saved electricity within a year and they are Alexa and Google Play compatible too. By combining tools like this with online services such as IFTTT you can get very clever about your home lighting to ensure your house remains safe and secure but doesn’t eat up a small fortune in electrical costs.
The Kasa brand of smart plugs score highly and are recommended but there are plenty of others on the market. Things change so often so I strongly recommend you check Which? or a similar expert testing service to find out what is the best buy at the point that you are looking.
We are assuming you are already using led bulbs. Its no use telling people to remember to turn off lights if they are still using filament lighting when they turn them on. The old filament bulbs were enormously less efficient so our bills would have been astronomical had we all still be using those. Even the halogen bulbs that seem so popular in kitchens are pretty poor performers in comparison to LEDs.
In lab tests LED lights last much longer than halogen bulbs, up to 40 times longer. The reason is that LEDs remain cool. Very little goes on except the output of pure light, whereas Halogen bulbs put out almost all of their energy as heat. LEDs use 85% less energy than halogen bulbs emitting the same amount of light. Sure, they might cost a little more up front, but the benefits are enormous to both your pocket and the planet.
So, at the risk of repeating myself, I urge you to make sure you and your family are turning of unneeded lighting. If you need a little technological help to remember to do it, go ahead and get some clever kit. Either way, you will be doing both the entire planet and your wallet a huge favour.