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Not as green as I thought I was

Energy-saving LEDs 'will not save energy', say boffins • The Register
Federal boffins in the States say that the brave new future in which today's 'leccy-guzzling lights are replaced by efficient LEDs may not, in fact, usher in massive energy savings.
This is because, according to the scientists' research, people are likely to use much more lighting as soon as this becomes practical. The greater scope for cheap illumination offered by LEDs will simply mean that people have more lights and leave them on for longer.

After twenty years of enduring dark corners in the kitchen I put up two new rows of spotlights - these are additional lights - and today bunged in ten 3w LED lights. I figured they are going to be on everyday for most of the day so the investment will pay for itself. So the boffins have proof from me...

According to Tsao and his colleagues at Sandia, the fraction of gross domestic product spent on lighting has remained constant as candles were replaced by oil lamps, then again in the transition to the gaslight era, then yet again with the arrival of electric lighting. What changed with each of these innovations was that lighting became more and more common.

(UPDATE -24 hours later - one of the LED bulbs has failed and fused the house...)

Comments

Known as Jevon's Paradox.

Interesting to see it being applied to lighting though.

"What changed with each of these innovations was that lighting became more and more common.

Something else that took roughly the same path, with similar results - as sewer systems became more widely available, indoor toilets replaced the screened-off corner of the dining room with the basin. As a lad my father had the job of taking out the "night soil" from the bedrooms. How many homes still have no indoor facility and will be converted? I'd venture to guess, for most of the Northern Hemisphere, about the same increase will be made in indoor plumbing as in lighting. Yes, my cellar is dark with nut a single light, so perhaps another there - increasing light fixtures from eleven (including an outdoor light) to twelve...

"...leave them on for longer."

One of the differences between CFLs and LEDs is that frequently turning CFLs on and off drastically reduces their lifespan, whilst LEDs are pretty much unaffected. If enough people are aware of this distinction, we might actually see LEDs being turned off *more* often than CFLs. (Big 'might', though.)

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