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Listen to this – it’s time to change your lightbulbs

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Green View by Peter Gudde
Green View by Peter Gudde

Getting my kids to turn the lights off has been a real struggle over the years.

These days, it’s less about them ignoring the old man moaning on, more about them not hearing me in the first place because their ears are full of music. But maybe they are now playing into my hands because I may have found a way to get them switched on.

I wrote a couple of years ago about the movement in home lighting technology from the filament light bulb to the LED via the fluorescent tube. With this change came a cost premium and I remember talking to people who were planning to hoard incandescent light bulbs for fear of the new bulbs.

The compact fluorescents delivered a step change in energy efficiency but they tended to flicker, be slow to reach maximum light levels, gave a harsh light and commonly could be seen protruding like a white light sabre from its shade. I bought my first LED bulb about seven years ago – give or take a year. I was replacing my kitchen lighting and managed to find, after much research, what I thought was a good quality bulb. They cost me nearly £20 each but even at that price, I achieved a payback over their life through their energy saving.

I joked at the time that I would be able to bequeath them to my kids because of the hyper-long design life. They varied a little in light colour but they did the job. A couple weeks ago I visited my local DIY store and picked up a set of three LED lights for a tenner, and a good make and quality they are too. Online, they will cost you about £2 for a typical spot light. Nearly every shape, size and light colour is out there whether into your bayonet or Edison fitting, globe, spot or candle. Last Sunday, I logged onto my energy company’s website to submit my latest meter reading. Idly, I clicked on the link to top energy saving products and there it was – a speaker bulb. It comes from the current stable of LED technologies so its energy consumption is the best of what’s available in the domestic lighting market. But, strike me - it plays your music choices via Bluetooth to your device and has an app to change colour to match the mood of what’s playing.

A gimmick, maybe, but could this be the answer to my inter-generational illumination challenge? The only thing is that now my kids will never turn the lights off.

-- Peter Goode is environment manager for St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath councils