This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.


Now you can be tacky AND efficient!

There seems to be at least one household in every town that defies both taste and reason by adorning their property in every piece of illuminated Christmas tat they can get their hands on. Gaudy Santas riding sleighs and kilometres of fairy lights dripping from the guttering. We’ve all seen it and either marvelled or laughed disapprovingly. But an electrician from Burnham-on-Sea has proved his decision to turn his house into a festive beacon hasn’t at least meant compromising his energy spend...

It’s probably a sign of the times that many people now drive past these houses wondering, “How on earth do they afford to do that?”, almost as much as “Why on earth do they do that?” But Nick Gardner’s house has been transformed using solely LED bulbs and the cost only amounts to an extra £13 per week in electricity. Considering there are 15,000 lights on his property, that really is an incredibly small expense.

Manufacturers of LEDs claim they would use only 50 kilowatt hours of electricity if left on for a whole year, compared with 500 for a normal bulb. At EPA, we’ve been following with great interest the development of this technology due to its potential for such a wide range of illumination applications and although the story about Nick Gardner’s festive decorations may seem trivial, it does highlight (pun intended) one of LED’s most impressive and topical benefits.

A quick hunt around the internet landed me with another story from last year in which yet another electrician has taken to reproducing the house from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Alex Goodhind’s (pictured) 10,000 lights added an extra £166 per week to his bill, which provides a crystal clear real world example of the benefits of using LEDs. Goodhind also needed to have a £700 industrial 145amp power line installed to his house in order to withstand the extra load.

This week, the European Union has recommended banning all incandescent bulbs in a phasing out process between 2009 and 2012. The UK already has employed a voluntary phasing out process which has made it harder to get hold of higher wattage incandescent bulbs in some supermarkets, but there still seems to be some work needed to be done to improve the image of efficient lighting products to the general public.

On some message boards I’ve noticed that many people hold the belief that CFLs struggle to produce warm light while almost all research tests have proven that very few people can tell the difference. And occasional media scare stories about the almost non-existent health risks from CFLs have not helped either.

But back to the Christmas theme, and perhaps the more pressing concern is the fact that both the gentlemen in the stories I found happen to be electricians. Is the ritual over-adornment of festive lights on a house something all electricians suffer from? If you’re an electrician, do you find yourself wondering why other people only decorate the interiors of their homes at Christmas, and then only with a few fairy lights and the occasional wreath?

If you feel your house can compete with the examples in the photos, please do send me photographic evidence!

Best wishes for a great Christmas to you all,

Richard Scott

Contact Details and Archive...

Print this page | E-mail this page

Electrical Products