I started to hear a few murmurs about how electricity meters might work, and whether they really measure the current that results from equipment having a low power factor - and so recording higher energy consumption. Yesterday, I finally gathered myself together and spoke to someone who Knows About This Stuff - thank you David at Rayleigh Instruments in Essex.
It turns out that the typical electricity meter measures kWh - that's Watts as in the useful energy that makes things work; but they don't measure the baggage that comes along with some electrical components, so end users are NOT penalised for using LEDs with a low power factor.
Who pays? After all, a 5W LED with a 0.5 PF still 'consumes' 10W of energy. The answer is, of course, that we all pay. That 'shadow' cost of 5W losses is borne by the system as a whole and the utility companies spread that cost around to all of us through tariff structures.
On the one hand, we have LED users wiping their brows and saying 'phew - we got away with that one' while energy losses are carried system-wide. Maybe it doesn't matter so much at the moment, but there are LED manufacturers out there who reckon that LEDs will become the sole provider of illumination in years to come, so maybe this is an issue we could resolve now, while the techology is still in development.
Oh: another by-the-way: this ain't just LEDs. This applies to compact fluorescent lamps as well.
It really is time that the lighting industry be 'encouraged' to bring to market only those products with a Power Factor of 0.9. That would be a Good Thing.
A (very) basic guide to ethical specification
Lighting design: it's a client thing
Calculating obtrusive light: whose job is it?
When there's nothing in the catalogue
When is a chandelier not a pendant? When its a lantern!
When clients learn too much . . .
One of our details is missing
Where will light fittings come from?
The end of the light bulb?
Always something new . . . again
Always something new . . .
Combining old and new
On being in the dark . . .
Riffing The Internet of Things
John Bullock writes a regular column for lighting magazines. You can find all of the archived pieces here.
BLOGS - LIGHTING DESIGN
John Bullock writes about all things and anything concerning architectural lighting design; new technologies and old lamps; anything,really.
HOME LIGHTING CONSULTANT
John Bullock designs innovative lighting designs for people's homes. By working closely with clients he is able to deliver solutions that meet - and exceed - their expectations.
BLOGS - CPD RIBA CORE PROGRAMME 2015
John Bullock will be presenting a seminar on latest lighting design and technologies as part of the RIBA CPD Core programme 2015
BLOGS - SUSTAINABILITY
John Bullock believes that the UK lighting industry needs to embrace a sustainable way of delivering good quality product through good design, fabrication and end-of-life management.
BLOGS - LIGHTING HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Lighting has a vital role to play in our health and wellbeing.
CONDUIT (6) - Lighting for Winter Gardens
CONDUIT 5: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (2)
FX Magazine: Lighting Focus - Sustainability (Issue 258)
CONDUIT 4: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (1)
Can Smart Lighting Save The Planet?
CONDUIT 3: Home Lighting - The Bathroom
Can Lighting Save Us From Ourselves . . . NO!
CONDUIT 2: Home Lighting - The Dining Room