Rewiring the subject

Further to the articles on renewable power generation, Prof Salter et al should be applauded for their astonishing inventions.


Further to the articles on renewable power generation, (Feature, 8 April and Interview, 22 April) Prof Salter et al should be applauded for their astonishing inventions. However, domestic (white goods) product design could have worldwide impact in a shorter term.

It is said that changing our light bulbs to low power types will save power stations around the world. A single 12V transformer to feed the whole of the house lighting circuit makes the new led technology much lower power consumption than current ‘low energy’ types.

Consider the savings if we re-thought domestic electricity usage: where do we really need high voltage mains electricity? Mainly in the kitchen/laundry.

Most portable domestic electrical equipment could run from 12V. The only exceptions would be irons, vacuum cleaners and electric heaters, which is why house wiring uses so much copper and thick insulation, to reduce the risk of fire and electrocution. Modern houses should not need portable electric heaters. The rest of the house could use cheaper 12V wiring.

We could then use cheap solar-charged batteries and the benefits would be worldwide. But it has to start with the designers of mass-market white goods. We could have a truly international standard of 12V that is safe, cheap and easily adaptable to renewable domestic-scale solar and even wind power.

David Cutter

Knaresborough

North Yorkshire