Beeny Urges Households To Switch To LED

Sarah Beeny LED lightbulbs

You’ve got to love the Beeny, not only is she the straight-talking presenter of numerous Channel 4 property shows, saviour of a historical building (Rise Hall) and all-round nice person, now she has turned her attention to our rising energy bills to try and save us all some money (and reduce our carbon footprint while she’s at it)..

Teaming up with leading lighting retailer LED Hut, Sarah Beeny has helped launch the Savvy Switch campaign that aims to get 1 million households to ditch their energy hungry halogens in favour of modern, low energy LED lightbulbs.

Perhaps what is most interesting about this campaign is the survey that was carried out into our perceptions of what uses the most electricity in the home. Now I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of what contributes the most to my own energy bills but the nation apparently gets it quite wrong. Having asked 2,000 people, the comparison with reality shows just how upside down our thinking is:

Position What The Nation Thought The Reality
1 Cooking appliances
(ovens, hobs, microwaves)
Cold appliances
(fridges, freezers)
2 Wet appliances
(washing machines, dishwashers)
3 Cold appliances
(fridges, freezers)
Consumer electronics
(TVs, games consoles, DVD players)
4 Consumer electronics
(TVs, games consoles, DVD players)
Cooking appliances
(ovens, hobs, microwaves)
5 Computers
(PCs, laptops)
Wet appliances
(washing machines, dishwashers)
6 Lighting Computers
(PCs, laptops)

*electric heating was not considered in the survey but would obviously come out on top

Stop for a second and ask yourself – did I realise that lighting was such a huge factor in my electricity bill?

Chances are you would have put lighting towards the bottom of the list too – it’s only natural to assume that heat heavy activities such as cooking and cleaning would take up the most electricity but if you think about what’s actually on the most, across a 12 month period, then of course lighting is up there behind the ‘always on’ fridge and freezer.

One thing to remember – you have to average it across the whole year because while you might be able to keep the lights off until the late evening in the early summer, even now at the start of October I find I have to turn my lights on at 6pm and then they are on in whatever room I am in until around midnight. If you get up before sunrise then you can probably add another hour or so to that in the morning and the further we head into winter, the longer lights will stay on for.

How Much Could I Save?

Obviously the amount you save depends on how many bulbs you replace and how long they are on for. According to this campaign, a typical household can expect to save up to £30 a month or over £8,000 across the bulbs’ lifespan.

When I was first given some LED bulbs to try, I did a quick video and some calculations of my own and to be honest I came up with figures that were quite a lot lower than this. Saying that, however, I did not (and still do not) have halogens in my living room which I guess is where the biggest savings will come.

The £30 a month figure above is based on a household replacing 24 halogen lightbulbs that are rated at 50w with equivalent LED bulbs that are 4w and assumes that these bulbs are on for an average of 6 hours a day.

Now I don’t know about you but a big red light starts flashing in my mind when I read these figures – 24 halogen bulbs is possible in a home but hardly typical in my opinion and I struggle to see how ALL of them could be on for 6 hours a day so take the savings figures with a pinch of salt (page 24 of this report by suggests an average light fixture is on for 1.9 hours a day).

But as I say in the video I referenced above, LEDs will virtually guarantee you a saving in the long term and their cost is continuing to come down which makes the payback period increasingly short.

And What About Emissions?

Well again, if we take the figures from the LED Hut campaign then they reckon that if a million households switched then they’d collectively reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 5 million tonnes over the lifespan of the bulbs. Strangely, while they have overestimated the cost savings, by my rough calculations they have massively underestimated the reduction in emissions (based on replacing a 50w bulb with a 4w one as above):

  • 1 bulb on for 1000 hours per year (a rather generous 2 hours 45 minutes each day) = 46kWh saving per year
  • At current average UK emissions of 0.47kg CO2/kWh = 21.62kg per year
  • Given a 25 year lifespan = 540.5kg CO2 reduction per bulb
  • Given 24 bulbs per household = roughly 13 tonnes CO2 reduction per household
  • 1 million households = roughly 13 million tonnes CO2 reduction total


As with my previous posts about LED bulbs – the conclusion has to be that they make perfect sense from both a monetary point of view and for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Thus, if you can afford to replace all the bulbs in your home with LEDs, I’d recommend you do so. Do buy from a reputable seller like LED Hut though as some cheaper alternatives are not manufactured to the same high standard and are prone to failures.

Steve (156 Posts)

I am chief writer and editor on Green Steve. Blogging since 2011, I like to delve into a wide number of topics to help people reduce their carbon footprint. You should follow me on Twitter here. And add me to your Google+ circles here.

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