The Big Green Review | Look Up at the Lightbulbs

My brain is wired differently. I can’t help but be interested in the mechanics of everything that surrounds me. Cause and Effect.

So it should come as absolutely no surprise that while my mother was in the hospital and I walked its corridors, my eyes were drawn to the ceiling. There in front of me, an area where light has no effect on medical treatment was a 26w CFL bulb in the housing before me.

My brain naturally began to do the maths. How many bulbs were on this floor, and sadly, I counted. Time to multiply that by the number of floors my brain then insisted. I calculated the corridors and walkways were at least 200 bulbs, easily.

Naturally, this led to asking the question – what is the equivelant incandescent bulb for a 26w CFL? 100w!

The equivelant of a100w incandescent bulb (or 26w CFL) is 10w when replaced by an LED bulb, same luminescence – and so the big green review was born.

With a switch to LED bulbs rather than CFL bulbs, this hospital could more than half its annual lighting bill. The bulbs may, of course, be more expensive but not by much with bulk purchasing.

To tackle climate change and to reduce costs to our public services we must begin to look at the small things, not just the big. As most of our grannies used to say: “if you look after the pennies, the pounds look after themselves” – so why can’t that same logic be applied to energy conservation.

The idea here is simple – A Scottish Parliament funded review of every single public building in Scotland, both devolved national institutions and local authorities – finding recommendations for energy conservation and cost-saving through smarter use of appliances. The information is collated, because surely a hospital in Fife is likely using exactly the same sort of light fixtures or bulbs as a council office in the Borders, or a care facility in Glasgow. They are pretty much standard.

The second phase would be to invite businesses into the mix who also wish to make a radical change, also opening it up to the public. A site with a list of available energy-saving products for purchase – and from this, the Scottish Government take the weight of that purchasing power, of the individuals, the public services and the businesses and bulk buy all of the different energy-saving products on masse.

And what will this achieve? Put simply, a radical change across the country at ground level in the products being used, resulting in massive energy conservation, but also a massive saving on those updates across the country through combined buying power – in other words, a similar model to how the NHS buys medication.

It’s not a radical concept, but it is one that will drastically alter the amount of CO2 we consume, with a net benefit of a massive reduction in ongoing costs for our public services.

Just for the record though, I didn’t withold this nugget from the hospital, it went on a suggestion card!

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