Lighting the Way: Will Ikea Start a New Trend?
Switching off plugs, taking shorter showers and turning down our thermostats; it’s true that there is no shortage of energy saving tips out there. But often it can be difficult to remember to abide by all of our self-imposed rules of efficiency. What we need is something that we can plug in and forget about while it cuts back on our electricity usage and saves us money at the same time.
Fortunately there exists such a thing; the LED light bulb. These wonderful luminous inventions are far better than their incandescent predecessors, giving off better light quality for a fraction of the energy price. However, like solar-powered cars and houses with turbines attached, the development of LED light bulbs as an everyday household object ran into problems.
The first was that they were incredibly expensive. Due to their development costs, people were having to pay sky-high prices in order to benefit. And although they effectively paid for themselves over time, that doesn’t always soften the initial blow of moving towards more energy-efficient methods of going about our lives.
Unfortunately, a second problem came from the European Union. Despite the growing availability of LED bulbs, earlier this year the EU announced it would be postponing its ban on halogen light bulbs, which are inefficient, gobble up energy and give off heat like a bonfire, to 2018 rather than 2016. This means that wasteful halogen light bulbs are still available to buy, and are being used by households and businesses up and down the country.
Blue and Yellow Makes Green
Despite the EU delay, one of the world’s biggest and most well-known furniture retailers has taken it upon themselves to push for a cleaner and greener future and believes that just because halogens are available, it doesn’t mean we should use them.
No longer a blue and yellow beacon for fun and quirky home additions, Ikea have announced that they will be transitioning to a 100% LED range of light bulbs, making it the first large global retailer to offer a fully energy-efficient lighting range. The change will be effective from September this year when Ikea will no longer sell compact fluorescent or halogen light bulbs.
Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer at the Ikea Group, believes that energy-efficient light bulbs are the way forward: “Some of these technologies have to be driven faster. People are concerned increasingly about climate change but also about household energy bills. So how can you try something that doesn’t take 15 years to develop in this space but takes three or four years,” he was quoted by the New York Times as saying.
“We’re dedicated to helping our customers live a more sustainable life at home with simple solutions, which is why we’re so proud of our fully LED lighting range. By switching to LED our customers will use up to 85 per cent less energy which will not only reduce their carbon footprint but also help them combat rising energy prices.
“Cutting down on energy consumption shouldn’t mean cutting down on style, which is why we’ve embraced LED technology and worked hard to make products that are beautiful, sustainable and affordable, so our customers can love LED as much as we do.”
The forward-thinking move by the famous furniture store will affect over 2.3 million light bulbs that are sold by Ikea in the UK every year, as well as an undisclosed number sold in its other markets across the world, including Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa and North America.
Ikea’s switch to only selling LED lightbulbs isn’t the first measure they have put in place to make the world a greener place. In 2012 they earmarked plans to only be using renewable energy by the year 2020, and in June 2015 the Ikea Group announced that it would be pledging €1 billion towards the development of clean and renewable energy in order to help poorer nations cope with the effects of climate change.
Why switch to LEDs?
LED light bulbs are already used in our daily lives all around us. They are in our mobile phones, tablet computers and televisions, but they have yet to become commonplace in other aspects of our lives. However, the announcement by Ikea may suggest that a change is on the way and although they are the first major international retailer to take a step towards a greener future, others have already put their plans into action.
Earlier this year the first Love Energy Awards took place, with businesses across the UK showcasing their efforts to become more energy efficient. One of the categories was Super Saver, and the title was awarded to the Keel Row Shopping Centre in Blyth for being one of a handful of shopping centres in the country to use only LED lightbulbs inside. Their efforts will result in a huge reduction in energy bills, minimal maintenance and low energy usage, which is great for both them and the planet.
Commenting on Keel Row’s win, CEO of Love Energy Savings, Phil Foster, said: “It’s really impressive when a large organisation realises the benefits of becoming more energy efficient for their own budgets and the environment. I hope that more retailers will follow in Keel Row Shopping Centre’s footsteps.”
With retailers starting to cotton on to the multiple benefits of becoming more energy efficient, we encourage businesses across the UK to do the same. While you may have compared business energy prices online or implemented a plug switch-off policy at the end of every day, going LED is a quick and easy way to cut back even further. If you still need some convincing, read on for our reasons why you should replace all your bulbs with LED ones.
Safe and stronger
How many burnt fingers does it take to change a lightbulb? Anyone who has attempted this task will understand how much traditional incandescent bulbs heat up, making changing and replacing them a regular nightmare. However, LED bulbs don’t heat up anywhere near as much, keeping them cool and far safer as the risk of combustion is significantly reduced, and your fingers are saved.
They are also far stronger than their older counterparts. As they are made of epoxy lenses as opposed to glass, you will find that they are far less likely to break during changes.
Travel back in time just a couple of years and the main reason people didn’t use LED lightbulbs was because they cost too much. Today this is no longer the case. Energy-efficient lighting technology has made huge leaps forward, and their price should certainly not hold anyone back.
According to Ikea, a British household could save an average of £300 on their annual energy bill just by using 10 LED bulbs across their home. By installing LED lights to replace incandescent bulbs, businesses everywhere can combat growing energy prices through one simple change.
Bulbs don’t just give off light. Remember the burnt fingers we mentioned earlier? Incandescent lightbulbs give off huge amounts of heat which amounts to a lot of wasted energy, whereas LED bulbs don’t. This simple switch means that less is given out as heat, so you don’t have to waste more money on air conditioning or fans if things get too hot.
Another money-saving benefit, LED lightbulbs can last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs. Whilst you may breathe a sigh of relief for your fingers, you should also breathe an extra one for your wallets. By investing in LEDs you can put the cash you would have spent on lightbulbs towards something more exciting.
It’s great to see that companies as large and well-established as Ikea are finding ways to help the planet by encouraging others to adopt simple energy-saving measures. Although it may not seem like much, businesses everywhere could benefit from making this one simple change in their offices. But don’t just stop at light bulbs! There is so much more that businesses could be doing to curb their energy usage and, at the same time, cut back their bills and help save the planet. Check out our Energy Guides for amazing expert advice and tips.