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Light Bulbs and the Environment
Light bulbs are so numerous and commonplace in homes and buildings across the world that cumulatively they have an enormous affect upon the environment in terms of energy usage and ultimately the method of how this energy is created/harnessed. The electricity required to operate the light bulbs of the world results in a significant demand for power which is still primarily generated through power stations which burn fossil fuels to create it. This results in a lot of pollution which is harmful to the environment as well as the health and wellbeing of life on earth.
What this also means though is that a small modification multiplied by so many light bulbs means that a change in attitudes and certain actions on such a large scale can have a dramatically positive effect upon the environment through using less energy and reducing the demand for electricity.
One such alteration is through the replacement of traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient ones that use less electricity. Recent legislation to prevent older style light bulbs being sold in shops has greatly increased the use of energy efficient bulbs simply by removing any alternative, which as a consequence has reduced the demand for electricity from each light fitting.
Some bulbs are brighter than they need to be, and substituting them for lower wattage light bulbs will still provide an adequate level of light whilst consuming less power to do so.
Even better than low energy usage bulbs is no energy usage. Switching off lights in unoccupied rooms can reduce energy consumption, as does installing sensors which turn lights on when the movement of a person entering the room is detected, and automatically turns lights off when it has been empty for a certain length of time and no further movement takes place within. Whilst it will only make a slight difference to an individual in terms of energy and money saved, if everyone in the world did it the cumulative effects of not lighting up unoccupied rooms would have tremendously significant benefits for the environment.
How a Simple Action Like Cleaning a Light Bulb Can Help the Environment
One thing which should become obvious when reading through articles and pages talking about how to lessen environmental impacts is that whilst large-scale projects such as switching an entire town to energy created through wind turbines for example will have a major benefit for the environment, often significant improvements can be made by many people taking small steps. Even if they seem trifling and too insignificant to do anything worthwhile, the cumulative effect of so many people performing a similar action results in the reduction of harm to the planet through pollution.
Even a trivial action such as cleaning a light bulb which takes a few seconds and costs no money can have a significant benefit if thousands or millions of people were to do it. A dirty light bulb which is covered in dust or tobacco smoke residue will not give off as much light as it should. The bulb will still be using the same amount of energy, but a lot of the light will be prevented from radiating out of the bulb and lighting up the room. In this case, the lighting levels of the room are likely to be insufficient for certain activities such as reading or doing a jigsaw for example, which will usually cause a person to switch on a second light. If the first bulb was clean and giving out its full lighting level, this second light may not have been needed.
Obviously this activation of one extra light bulb is not likely to cause dramatic consequences either for the planet or on the finances of the household in terms of the extra cost of the electricity for powering this one additional bulb, but if this scenario is repeated in tens of thousands or perhaps millions of buildings across the country or the globe then the cumulative effects are highly significant, with tonnes of additional carbon being released into the atmosphere as a result of creating the electricity through burning fossil fuels necessary to provide the power to light these extra bulbs.
Training in environmental matters through attending NEBOSH Environmental Certificate courses or investing millions in major projects is highly worthwhile and commendable, but sometimes it is easy to forget that simple actions when applied on a nationwide or global level can also play a key part in safeguarding the planet for future generations and preventing so much environmental damage taking place that it cannot be reversed and puts the health and safety of all living creatures at risk whether through pollution, climate change or increased UV rays through a thinning ozone layer to name just a few.