Wednesday, 25 April 2007


We have a bit of a light switch thing going off in our house at the moment. We have the low energy light bulbs in all of the rooms now, which potentially saves a small fortune in bill charges over their lifetime. We have two different points of view regarding the low energy bulbs. I think that they are like very small fluorescent lights, apart from the fact that they don’t buzz and flash annoyingly. The old fluorescent bulbs have a starter in them which uses more electricity getting them going than the amount of energy it takes to leave them on all day. This is why you sometimes see large office blocks with their lights on permanently. I think that these low energy light bulbs have the same sort of device, only in a smaller scale.

The mechanisms also have a certain number of times that the starters will be effective before the give up the ghost. Because I am in and out of rooms frequently I tend to leave the lights on because I feel as though I might be saving energy and prolonging the life of the bulb. Although, I might add, I have absolutely no proof that this is the case. Julie, on the other hand feels that the lights should always be switched off when we are not in the rooms. Because of this difference of opinion we tend to spend the evening switching lights on and off in every room. I think a solution could be at hand though. You can get motion sensitive light switches and they will automatically cut the light when you leave the room. Being left in the dark isn’t all that bad though. There was something magical about having no electricity at times over the Christmas period.

I appreciate there will be some who need a constant supply of power and hopefully they will have a suitable generator to hand. The rest of us were forced to blow the dust off some old candles. The cards came out of the drawer and we managed to rekindle the art of conversation without the distraction of the television for a few hours. Our estate was so dark too without the streetlights being on, and there was no familiar orange glow in the sky from the town. Lighting up the towns is something that we take for granted and some say that it’s necessary to keep crime down. Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) have other ideas, they have launched a Dark Skies campaign to make the night sky more visible and save energy at the same time. The FIE would also like to see the 15 million euro spent on lighting non-national roads reduced by either turning the lights off or at least reducing the brightness. The councils are spending about 5 million euro on low energy light bulbs a year and the introduction of the streetlights that only light the ground are being installed in places. There is a simpler answer though, the council could save a fortune by turning off lights that were not being used, and there is a member of our family that would be the ideal candidate for the job!

I think that one day a week could be set aside as a No Electricity Day. We could be free of all things electrical. No TV, washing machines, computers and vacuum cleaners. There would be fewer chores to do around the house. In the evening it would be too dark to do anything but spend time in front of an open fire playing games with the children or knitting or whatever, and only opening the fridge door when it was completely necessary.


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