A waste of energy

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Heath Lane

Halifax

I read an article in the Courier which mentioned that the council was considering installing solar panels to reduce electricity demand from the grid (“Sunlight cuts energy costs”, March 17).

Before considering alternative sources of electricity, or for that matter any power generation, the more urgent priority is always to reduce waste and consumption. This is a fundamental rule of responsible energy management.

One opportunity for example, would be to arrange a programme of converting our traffic lights to LED bulbs. I wonder if our council have considered a feasibility study of this option. It just seems so blatantly obvious, as whether I’m just over in Bradford or overseas in Bandung it seems the traffic lights everywhere but Halifax are more often LED than incandescent. Do we even have a set of LED traffic lights in Calderdale?

While traditional incandescent traffic lamps use between 65 and 135 watts each and need replacing every two years, LED lights use between six and 15 watts, depending on size, colour and type. LED traffic signals consume 80 to 90 percent less energy and generally last five to 10 years.

LEDs provide other benefits as well. Fewer burned-out traffic signals would mean safer intersections, an important improvement in public safety.

Cities that have installed LEDs have discovered additional savings in traffic-signal maintenance and lamp-replacement costs because the highways crews need to replace burned-out traffic signals less frequently.

As an additional safety feature, brighter LED lights are more visible in foggy conditions.

I don’t know how many sets of traffic lights we have in Calderdale, but across the borough there must be at least a hundred sets. Each set would have about 16 lights showing at any point in time (assuming there are pedestrian crossing lights as well as the main traffic lights) which would amount to 1,600 lights of circa 100 watts each, amounting to a total demand of 160,000 watts 24 hours a day 365 days per year.

This would mean that we use about one and a half million kilowatt-hours powering the traffic lights, worth about £150,000. Wouldn’t it be nice to reduce this to one tenth of that value, rather than continue to waste power and spend our hard earned taxes on finding alternative ways to feed the waste.

David Holdsworth