We could need more heating

PUBLISHED: 11:34 29 April 2009 | UPDATED: 23:26 15 June 2010

I have read with interest the concerns about banning incandescent light bulbs, which I share. What also concerns me is the fact that there is little said about the different effect that the introduction of low energy light-bulbs as an alternative will h

I have read with interest the concerns about banning incandescent light bulbs, which I share. What also concerns me is the fact that there is little said about the different effect that the introduction of low energy light-bulbs as an alternative will have depending on the geographical latitude of the country to which the change is applied.As you will be aware, the objection to incandescent light bulbs is the heat that they emit. Clearly, this is inefficient in the warm countries of southern Europe but with the colder and darker winters of northern Europe, in my view, the change to low energy light-bulbs bulbs cannot produce the economy expected and may well result in increased fuel consumption.Consider a normal British home using conventional light bulbs at night in winter. The heating system is adjusted to give acceptable warmth throughout the house, but the lamps in the rooms actually in use give sufficient boost to keep them cosy.Now consider the same home with low-energy bulbs. The rooms that are not in use will be as warm as before but, because the rooms in use do not have the boost of the heat from traditional light bulbs, these rooms will be colder. As a result the thermostat(s) in those room(s) will adjust to regain the heat (thus using the same amount of energy) or, with an older system, the central thermostat will be reset increasing the temperature of the whole building, thus using more energy than before.Similarly, in early spring and late autumn evenings, the heat from traditional bulbs in rooms being used will provide warmth just where needed, instead of the main heating coming on. Thus, in my view, the only reduction in energy from using low energy light-bulbs will be in the summer when little lighting is used and this may well be negated in the winter as described.Dennis GrandOtter Valley Park

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