Firstly, wherever you may be in the world and whatever your faith may I wish you a happy and peaceful time this Christmas.
Energy use at Christmas
I spend my year helping people to use energy more effectively, to question what energy is being used for, to more sustainable.
However, for me one of the things I have always enjoyed about this time of year is Christmas lights, be they at home, in the street or at work.
According to the Energy Savings Trust LED Christmas lights use 90% less energy than traditional incandescent lights. Added to which there are some great control options! They have also estimated that if everyone in the UK swapped one string of lights from incandescent to LED it would save £13 million over the 12 days of Christmas alone – given that many lights will be on for more like 30 to 40 days, some saving!
Of course, the other great aspect of LEDs is that they are far more reliable than incandescent. An end to the Christmas tradition of trying to find out which bulb is not working.
In America, the Center for Global Development has estimated that Christmas lights in the US account for 6.6 billion kWh of electricity a year. This is about 0.2% of the US total energy consumption. However, it is more than the total energy consumption of countries like El Salvador, which uses 5.3 billion kilowatt hours, Ethiopia at 5.3 billion and Tanzania at 4.8 billion. Food for thought.
Over Christmas day many countries tend to use less electricity as most industries and business are not working.
But a good question is what has been left on over the break?
The chart below is for Christmas day last year for England & Wales. You can see rising demand from about 06:00 with a peak at around 13:00. But still a significant ‘base load’.
The Christmas Tip:
If you have half hourly or interval metering at work then consider reviewing last Christmas day and seeing if you can use less this year.
In energy audit work I find the analysis of electricity use over Christmas Day very interesting – typically it should be the lowest of the year and if not why not? Also, what is it that is using power when you are not there?