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The government can hit its carbon emission targets more quickly by insisting UK businesses, not homes, switch to eco-friendly lighting, according to a leading energy efficiency expert.

By phasing out incandescent bulbs – stocks of 100-watt versions have dried up, with 60-watt bulbs set to disappear next year – it is hoped the country’s carbon emissions will be reduced by around five-million tonnes a year.

However, at least three times that amount could be saved if energy-sapping high intensity discharge (HID) lights, the kinds used in factories, manufacturing plants and warehouses across Britain, were replaced with green alternatives.

Running continually, each high level HID light (including metal halide and high pressure sodium) is annually responsible for the same amount of carbon dioxide emitted by a family saloon car driven 14,000km.

Keith Wyatt, commercial director at energy-efficient light specialist Somar International, believes the government should target these lights instead of domestic-use incandescent bulbs if it is serious about energy conservation.

He said: ‘A massive amount of energy is wasted in the UK through the use of conventional bulbs that are no longer fit for purpose.

‘If every HID light in UK factories was replaced with an energy-efficient version, the electricity saving would be such that we could close Drax power station.

‘There are many well-documented criticisms aimed at domestic low-energy bulbs, including that they are slow to light up and give off a hazy glow.

‘However, the latest energy-efficient lights for industry are instant-strike, improve light quality, and are flicker-free.’ Somar manufactures the Carbon Trust-approved Eluma light, which uses up to 80 per cent less electricity than conventional HID bulbs.

One recent 500-light installation in a supermarket warehouse is now annually saving the same amount of carbon used each year by 1,000 homes.

So the yearly domestic carbon emissions for a town the size of Blackburn could be eradicated by simply switching 100 major warehouses over to an energy-efficient light system.

Somar International

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