Carbon Footprint- Putting energy saving light bulbs into perspective

In a previous post I reviewed the impact of changing from traditional filament incandescent light bulbs to energy saving light bulbs on the carbon footprint. In broad terms then if you use a 100 watt bulb for 4 hours a day then changing this single bulb to an energy saving light bulb will save around 100kg in C02 emissions!! Now you might quite correctly say; ” Is that significant? ” or indeed “Is that worth worrying about? ” or ” Well if I just start walking the children to school is that not better?” . Here I will try to put this into perspective so you can make an educated judgement yourself.

Carbon Footprint comparison for Transportation

The reason a light bulb has an effect on your carbon footprint is because electricity generation is normally gas or oil fired and this produces a significant amount of C02. So the obvious question is why do we not compare the C02 generated to private and public transportation which certainly for cars and planes results in the direct emissions of C02 into the atmosphere.

The Family Car
So lets say for example that you own a Ford Focus C-Max 1.8 (125PS) built in 2005, which is a fairly decent family car. You would need to drive this vehicle for approximately 330 miles for it to emit 100kg of C02 into the atmosphere. So comparing that to your single light bulb you would need to stop driving the car of the order of 1 mile per day.

The Train
Public transport is certainly a more efficient way to travel from an environmental perspective but the calculation is more complex because it clearly depends on how many people are on the train and the efficiency of that particular train. However accordingly to published statistics you would need to travel of the order of 1000 miles on the train for 100 kg of C02 to be created.

Travelling by Aeroplane
Planes certainly create a lot of C02 but they are a relatively efficient way of transport from a C02 perspective when they are full when compared to the passenger car. To create 100kg of C02 you would need to fly from London to Manchester and back.

Household Electrical Appliance Carbon Footprint Comparison

So that looks at the transportation comparison but you might say for example “Well should I stop using my dishwasher as often or certainly make sure that it is always full when I turn it on?” To look at this we need to compare the electricity consumption of these appliances to your electric light bulb.

The 100 watt light bulb when used for 4 hours per day will consume 146kW of electricity in a year which would cost £19, assuming you pay 13p/ kWhour for electricity.

A dishwaher will use around 2kW for each use so if you use it once every 5 days then this uses the same amount as your 100 watt light bulb.
A washing machine uses around 2.5kW for each use so in a similar way of you use this once every 6 days then it will use approximately the same amount  of electricity as your 100 watt light bulb.

Now this is quite stagering and really emphasises how much electicity traditional light bulbs use and whilst it does make sence to use your washing machine and dishwasher effectively you can make a far more significant impact by changing you light bulbs. When it comes to transprotation I will let you be the judge but hope this data should help you in making a more informed choice.

4 thoughts on “Carbon Footprint- Putting energy saving light bulbs into perspective”

  1. Loving the article, it does what the title said perfectly; Puts energy saving Light Bulbs into perspective! I would like to congratulate you on your post; it showed me to your brilliant site! You have a skill for great posts that attract people to your site. And as a real person I say that your site is brilliant; and saved me a lot of money! DO yourself a favour and check it out; it shall save you money!

  2. Extremely informative, thanks for clearing up lots of issues for me, I love the way you state how much energy you save the environment not only from using energy saving light bulbs, but from other changes in lifestyle as well! It shows you definitely care for the environment! :)

  3. Extremely informative, thanks for clearing up some issues for me on the environment! Now not only I can have a secure mind knowing not only that I’m saving the environment but how much! Also I’ve checked out Saving Light Bulbs and I’m buying some LEDs! Thank you for showing me another way to save money and the environment!

  4. You sure have a knack for making good posts! I love the way you put buying Energy Saving Light Bulbs into reality. After looking at your posts, I decided to visit your site; Saving Light Bulbs. I am very impressed at the money you can save from using LEDs, how attractive they are and how cheap they are on your site! At first I thought they looked expensive but after looking at the pricing on other sites I realised how cheap they were! I, as a real person who has benefited from this site would recommend you to check this site out. You will be surprised at the money that you’re practically burning by not using Energy Saving Light Bulbs!

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