I don’t think that a day goes by now without someone mentioning the phrase “carbon footprint” and we all know that this is not a fad, it is here to stay. It is a continuous source of concern to me that even in this consumer society that we live in that we all do our bit to be environmentally friendly and contribute to creating a low carbon footprint.
I wrote some articles a while ago that looked at the environmentally friendliness of the barbecue and if one argues that the energy consumed by a barbecue compared with any other form of cooking then certainly the charcoal barbecue can be considered environmentally friendly provided the wood source for the charcoal is harvested by coppicing.
As the nights draw in this fall and the patio lights come out there is an ever improving technology that we should be considering and that is solar lighting. This environmentally friendly lighting is basically is a photo voltaic cell that captures the sunrays, converts the light energy into electricity that is in turn used to charge a battery. Now we all know that battery technology has improved considerably with the advent of laptop computers and video cameras but the other area that has improved rapidly to bring solar lighting right up there is the LED or light emitting diode.
The LED is basically exactly what you get in many head torches these days and as we know these torches offer great light with little power consumption and bulb longevity and it’s this same technology that is being applied to solar lighting.
So let us get down to the nitty gritty, why should you buy solar lighting?
1. LED bulbs will never burn out during the lifetime of the product. How many times do you have to change normal bulbs and at what cost?
2. Your electricity bill will be reduced and it is environmentally friendly lighting. Your neighbors can gossip all they like but you can rest safe in the knowledge that your carbon footprint is under control.
3. Battery technology means that solar lighting can work without interruption for 10 – 12 hours which should be more than enough for anyone. Recharge time of course is dependent on the amount of sunlight available.
4. Solar panels are weatherproof so there’s no maintenance, in fact you can even use one panel to charge a multitude of lights.
5. Solar lighting is self sufficient so there’s no need for an outdoor power source. Really handy for an idiot like me that can fix a wall light but doesn’t like to mess with high voltage electricity.
6. Again the point about no high voltage electricity – it’s safe.
7. The more LEDs (or fewer) there are in the light the brighter (or more subtle) the lighting will be. This means that you can light pathways with low intensity lighting and with a few more LEDs you can creat a wall mounted spotlight.
I know I am going to have some fun this summer creating my own night time garden and preparing my patio area for some great late summer barbecues. If only someone could invent an environmentally friendly patio heater then I’d be over the moon.