John Bullock Lighting Design
John Bullock Lighting Design
Lighting Product DesignLighting Product Design
Heritage Lighting ProjectsHeritage Lighting Projects
Home Lighting ProjectsHome Lighting Projects
Exhibitions Lighting ProjectsExhibitions Lighting Projects
Leisure Lighting ProjectsLeisure Lighting Projects
Exterior Lighting ProjectsExterior Lighting Projects
Commercial Lighting ProjectsCommercial Lighting Projects

Reducing our energy usage


We are seeing the end of the traditional incandescent light bulb as governments around the world seek ways to reduce our energy consumption. In the EU, all incandescent lamps will be banned by 2012. We all grew up under the warm glow of the filament lamp and its a sad prospect that we are due to lose such a simple and practical lighting tool, but we have to accept the reality that all of us are using far more energy than the world can afford � and things have to change.

What it means in practice is that we either use less energy to produce the level of lighting that we currently enjoy, or we reduce the amount of light we use � or, of course, we use less energy AND reduce the amount of light we use.

Let�s look at the technology that�s available to reduce our energy consumption.
An ordinary light bulb � the incandescent filament lamp, operates at 10lm/W, which hasn�t really improved in a century. Please � no pedants giving me the actual improvement. Its still not good enough.
(Explainer: lumens (lm) are the measure for the light produced / watts (W) is the power that�s measured through our electricity meter)
The small spotlamps that we see in kitchen ceilings / high street shops / bars and restaurants / museums and art galleries � in fact EVERYWHERE, like a rash, use tungsten halogen technology. They are still incandescent filament sources, but they are twice as efficient as the ordinary light bulb, so they are around 20lm/W.
But the figures for fluorescent lamps demonstrate how much more energy efficient these lamps are: from 60lm/W to 100lm/W.

The Government and environmental groups everywhere would like us to use more energy efficient lamps � so that means more fluorescent lamps, or does it? There is a new light source on the block, and the LED lamp will soon be knocking on the door of the fluorescent lamps suggesting that they seek employment elsewhere.

The simple answer, then, is to look at all of the lamps in your home or place of work and seek to swap any incandescent lamp for either a fluorescent or LED source.

But are we using too much light?

Think twice about leaving lamps burning when rooms aren�t in use.
Here�s a simple idea: if you�re the last person leaving a room, turn off the light!

One of the �smoke and mirror� techniques that lighting designers employ is to use multiple lighting points, rather than have a large fitting in the centre of a room. On the face of it, this doesn�t make a deal of energy sense because we�re likely to be replacing perhaps 200W of light with 300W of light (incandescent figures). But if you only have one or two lamps on, then the overall consumption is reduced. Furthermore, if you�re able to dim your lighting, then that will reduce energy consumption as well.

As a designer, I look forward to the challenges of any new technology, and reducing lighting energy whilst sustaining light quality is as good as it gets. Just because we need to use less energy, it doesn�t mean we have to reduce the QUALITY of our lighting. We live busy, sophisticated lives and our homes and the places where we work and visit deserve to be embraced with a positive aesthetic approach to design.

RIBA CPD in 2015

Here are the links to my event calendars



John Bullock Lighting Design
4 Miller Way

Website designed by Alacrify