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Workshop lighting / energy costs

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Robin Graham05/10/2021 01:25:21
884 forum posts
265 photos

I've not worried too much about my energy costs, high as they are, until now . I live in an old and poorly insulated house and thought that's just how it goes. But I'm sure I'm not alone in having had an email advising of a substantial hike in prices - around 30% in my case. That made me think.

My energy provider estimates my annual electricity consumption at 7,857 kWh. That translates to about 900W continuously, which I thought was reasonable.

As I've been unable to get into the workshop recently for health reasons, I thought I'd make a graph of background household consumption:

elecgraph2.jpg

 

The slope until the sudden upturn at the end amounts to about 325W. The upturn was coincident with me going down to the workshop and leaving the lights on.

I was really surprised by this - I'd thought that my workshop was a tick on the back of overall household electricity costs, but it seems that it is in fact dominant. It seems odd to me that a continuous 325W is enough to run a house with an electric oven, microwave oven, electric kettle, washing machine, dishwasher, two computers, two TV's and lighting. That's three and a bit of the old incandescent lightbulbs! But that's how it seems to be. I'd be interested to know how others fare.

At the moment my workshop is lit by four T8 58W fluorescent tubes:

workshop1.jpg

which between them give around 20,000 lumens I think. I had a look at LED tubes, but it seems that to get the same level of illumination wouldn't actually save me much. Maybe I could do better by more strategic placement of lighting. Any advice would be welcome.

Robin

PS - please don't nag about the hanging sockets, I know and I'm working on it.

R

 

 

 

Edited By Robin Graham on 05/10/2021 01:47:04

Paul Lousick05/10/2021 01:55:03
1868 forum posts
666 photos

A couple of suggestions.

A typical fluoro tube is is about 45 Watts while a similar LED tube consumes 18 watts. Don't run them all at the same time.

The dark roof will soak up the light. Paint it white or cover it with reflective material and you will not need as many lights.

Paul.

Andrew Johnston05/10/2021 08:17:16
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6315 forum posts
677 photos

Overall consumption seems high? I use about 2400kWh a year, a daily average of 6.5kWh. My background consumption, with most things off, is 60W. That's the mains powered doorbell, 3 DECT 'phones and TV and microwave on standby. I have 5 fluorescent tubes in my workshop. It was noticable how much power I was using, about 300W just having the lights on. The fluorescents were old and created a poor light so I changed to LED tubes nearly 2 years ago, followed by converting the rest of the house to LED. It's made a huge difference to my background electricity consumption in the workshop, down to less than 100W and the workshop is much brighter. But I still turn lights off when I leave the workshop, even for a few minutes.

Andrew

Clive Brown 105/10/2021 08:46:10
720 forum posts
34 photos

+1 for the OP painting the ceiling and walls white. A good coat of emulsion would make a big improvement to overall light levels

Then install LEDs.

Bob Stevenson05/10/2021 09:32:10
570 forum posts
7 photos

+1 for painting with white emulsion...

Looking at the photo I can see that the basic workshop is well lit with the ful length tubes,...however, personally I know I could not manage without specific lighting for the machines and important work areas such as the (tiny) bench areas where I assemble etc. There are some really excellent LED fittings now that have been a revelation for me, and most are not true work or machine lights so much as good domestic angle and spot lights. You might experiment with not using the tubes but using more specific LED lighting and see how that works when actually making stuff....could be much mre cost effective to keep the light exactly where you need it ...if that makes sense!

Samsaranda05/10/2021 09:59:09
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1244 forum posts
5 photos

+ 1 for painting with emulsion, your fluorescents seem to be arranged centrally down the centre of the workshop which will mean that at times you have the light unit behind you, I would take the plunge and arrange the light units to the side of the workshop, staggered with half on each side, I would take the plunge and go for LED, my workshop is so much brighter since I changed to LED. I supplement my lighting by using a rechargeable LED head torch, it’s surprising how much easier it is to see fine details at the tool when it’s illuminated adequately. Dave W

vic newey05/10/2021 10:11:12
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109 forum posts
60 photos

I find LED tubes to be excellent, instant light and very bright. so bright that we had to fit the old diffuser back on the 6ft light in our kitchen.

I can't tell from your photo, but it looks like you have diffusers fitted over the tubes? if you tried just one LED in each light and left the diffuser off it would work very well, more so if you paint the ceiling as suggested

Brian Wood05/10/2021 10:13:20
2474 forum posts
39 photos

My average electricity consumption in an old house is close to that of Andrew at about 2800/3000 Kwh per year, some of which [400+] is used by a converter heater in the inner sanctum which I try to keep a shade warmer in the cooler months.

We are gradually switching to LED lighting in the house from earlier miniature fluorescents, the difference in light output is really noticeable as these things begin to age.

I too am careful about switching things off after use and have some interesting stand-by loading figures to add to the discussion. A domestic shredder uses about 15 watts when not in use, the extractor unit over the kitchen hob gobbles 45 watts on stand-by. The unit I have used for such measurements is a Brennenstuhl PM 230 which has a number of functions such as current demand, power factor, voltage, frequency drop and so on of things that are plugged into it.

Brian

not done it yet05/10/2021 10:32:50
6430 forum posts
20 photos

At present, I cope with four LED lamps in my L-shaped workshop.

One is on a PIR with timer, so turns on when I enter and turns off some short time after leaving. The other three illuminate different areas and usually only two are on at any one time. I have another couple to put up, to improve the illumination, but don’t expect to particularly use any more leccy.

The PIR is 20W, the overhead tube is about 20W and the two floodlights are 45 and 25 Watts. I usually turn off the PIR lamp and turn on the lights I need. LED torches are used for hunting in dark cupboards and corners.🙂

Now my daytime energy costs have suddenly sky-rocketed - by ~65% - I have taken to rising earlier to get a couple hours in at the E7 rate, which currently ends at 08:30h. 2 hours (at a time) is more than enough for me, most days.

SillyOldDuffer05/10/2021 10:51:00
Moderator
7675 forum posts
1693 photos
Posted by Brian Wood on 05/10/2021 10:13:20:

I too am careful about switching things off after use and have some interesting stand-by loading figures to add to the discussion. A domestic shredder uses about 15 watts when not in use, the extractor unit over the kitchen hob gobbles 45 watts on stand-by...

+1 for investigating what's causing the background load.

First, I unplugged everything and checked the meter: it was still turning! This was traced to my daughter's electric blanket, powered by an inaccessible socket under her bed. Anyone in your family leave stuff running all the time?   People who don't pay bills are remarkably careless!

Then I went round my house in the same way as Brian a few years ago with a plug in watt-meter and measured everything. Worst result was from a HiFi unit that used 40W on standby and only 15W when ON but idling. A number of devices, like a clock radio, turned out to be surprisingly greedy and worth turning off at the mains. Others, like my TV, use so little power on standby it's hard to measure it. Older gear tends to be much worse than modern, I think because the Energy Rating system requiring products to be labelled encourages energy saving design. Unlikely to find filament bulbs in modern kit! Anyway, I ended up with a list of devices worth turning off or replacing.

A friend found an unnecessary 80W Black Heater in his airing cupboard and that his wife* had left a 60W bulb on in the loft. *Wife got the blame: I reckon it was him!

Many domestic appliances use kilowatts in short bursts that don't add up to much in total. The devices that do the damage are those that sit quietly consuming tens of watts continuously rather than apparently obvious big hitters like washing machines. In my workshop the fluorescent lights use far more power than the machines and will be replaced with LEDs in due course.

Well worth checking power consumption around the house - I ought to do it again!

Dave

 

Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 05/10/2021 10:51:54

J Hancock05/10/2021 10:59:46
773 forum posts

No mention of the fridge/freezer by anyone .

V8Eng05/10/2021 11:07:57
1644 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by J Hancock on 05/10/2021 10:59:46:

No mention of the fridge/freezer by anyone .


Got a Chest freezer one side of my workshop (helps keep the temp up a bit in winter).

Something that did rather surprise me is TV sets. We have a three year old one without an on-off switch and one about 7 years old with an on-off switch and green energy compliance label (same make).

Never bothered to measure the house consumption being frugal we switch stuff off as we go.

 

Edited By V8Eng on 05/10/2021 11:27:45

Bazyle05/10/2021 19:43:15
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6079 forum posts
221 photos

My old fridge freezer used over a KWh per day but died in the spring and the new small fridge only uses about 350Wh/day. However it did contribute to keeping the kitchen warm.
Modern TVs etc are required to have a <0.5W standby mode, or an off switch.

My desk angle poise had a 3W LED but I needed a small bulb yesterday to replace the bulb in a cramped bulkhead lamp. So popped a 7W LED in into the anglepoise. Wow. I think all one needs in the workshop is a 35W LED strip for general walking around then these 7W ones on the machine you are actually using.

Roger Best05/10/2021 20:52:07
318 forum posts
36 photos

smiley

Great discussion.

I have painted brick walls in my workshop and it makes a huge difference. I used masonry paint.

I also have six double 4-foot luminaires and still like some local lighting. You can't have enough when doing fine work in my book, CIBSE says similar but they do have numbers.

Generally you can throw a new fluorescent lamp away, replace it with LED and still be in profit in a few years, the same was true of compact fluorescent over old filament bulbs. LED are also getting cheaper now and come in most sizes, even 2D which amazed me when I bought one.

Robin Graham06/10/2021 02:42:40
884 forum posts
265 photos

Thanks for an (ahem!) illuminating discussion. Unfortunately painting the ceiling white isn't an option if I want to remain married. My wife has fantasies about turning the cellars into living space when my love affair with the lathe &c has run its course. She likes the raw brickwork.

Reading replies I think my best option is to change to LED's and make the light more focused on important areas. I've certainly found that LED bulbs seem to be subjectively 'brighter' than fluorescents with the same nominal lumen output.

Further measurements suggest that our background usage (measured overnight with everything turned off except the fridge and freezer, TV's/computers sleeping and a single light) is 225W. I guess that's mainly the fridge and freezer, which is pretty good I reckon.

SoD makes a good point about the small things adding up with the 'high ticket' / short duration appliances being less important. I'm trying to convince my wife that it's still OK to use the electric kettle and the dishwasher! And convince myself that it's still OK to use the 2Kw lathe - actual turning time is a small fraction of workshop pottering time. With those lights on.

Workshop heating is the next thing to attack. I've been using 3kW electric fan heater, blissfully ignorant that I was using in an hour what the rest of the house uses in a day until I made these measurements.

Robin..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited By Robin Graham on 06/10/2021 02:46:07

Edited By Robin Graham on 06/10/2021 02:48:23

Edited By Robin Graham on 06/10/2021 03:04:28

clogs06/10/2021 08:31:56
595 forum posts
12 photos

I have a large 4bed 4bath house thats rented out in the summer.....

first years rental the electric was horrendus......

so went nuts, upgrade all the light fittings (mostley wall lights) trying to get the same type of bulbs.....

then ordered a job lot from China.....

what I pay for 1 and 1/2 bulbs here (a foreign land) I can buy 10......allowing for breakages (non occ) and duff bulbs we are now quids in.....

most clients leave every light and fan on all day.....even the outside lights (prob 10'ish, thankfully led x3w)

so to cover the costs rental went up......

for a laugh, we often get asked to put air con in the house, so that would at least 5 unitsx2kw'ish.....can u imagine the electric bill then.....better to have a couple of weeks empty than have that lot running.....

strangely we live 1/2 way up a hill and there is always a gentle breeze and plenty of coverd patios.....why do u need air-con even in 38-40 deg of heat......

water heating is solar and this works well for 95% of the year.....the cold days we go back to live there so heat with wood....mostley Olive....a bad winter we use 2 ton.....

so in answer to ur question, I'd def go LED and find something to cover those bricks, gotta be something easy to fit and removable.....actually some white vynal sheeting like truck curtains (used)(fire proof) and battens would do a treat.....

Perko706/10/2021 09:17:43
400 forum posts
31 photos

Our daily electricity consumption during April to July (effectively our winter months) was 5.11kWh/day for a 4-bedroom house with a swimming pool. We have gas hot water so that helps. My workshop is only 4.5m x 3m but has light-coloured painted walls and ceilings. I have four 1200mm long LED battens which are switchable between 18W, 25W, 30W and 36W. I currently have them set on 18W which I find more than enough. I think the machines in the workshop would consume considerably more energy than the lights.

Samsaranda06/10/2021 09:49:38
avatar
1244 forum posts
5 photos

I was really shocked a few years ago when I worked out our average electricity consumption over a year and it came out to around 20 kWh per day, my first thought was that my machines in the workshop were power greedy. Analysis of our consumption illustrated that relatively large amount of consumption was down to my two large ponds with filtration pumps that were not very eco friendly, air pumps and uv lights burning away 24 hours a day. I had been trying to persuade the wife of the advantages of PV solar, the realisation that we could reduce the cost of our electricity substantially with generating our own convinced her. We now have panels that can generate 4kwh and batteries that can store 7.4kwh and on a good day in the summer we generate 25 + kWh. We have adjusted our living style so that if the sun is shining then we use the dishwasher or washing machine and tumble dryer and the impact is virtually nil on our electricity bill. I now do not feel guilty using my machines in the workshop during the day because in reality I am using “free” electricity, however I did change all the workshop lights for LEDs and they use considerably less power than the old fluorescents that were in there and the bonus for me is a much brighter more user friendly light, I didn’t realise that as we got older better lighting makes so much difference to our deteriorating eyesight. Dave W

Dave Halford06/10/2021 09:57:24
1816 forum posts
19 photos
Posted by Robin Graham on 06/10/2021 02:42:40:

Thanks for an (ahem!) illuminating discussion. Unfortunately painting the ceiling white isn't an option if I want to remain married. My wife has fantasies about turning the cellars into living space when my love affair with the lathe &c has run its course. She likes the raw brickwork.

Reading replies I think my best option is to change to LED's and make the light more focused on important areas. I've certainly found that LED bulbs seem to be subjectively 'brighter' than fluorescents with the same nominal lumen output.

Further measurements suggest that our background usage (measured overnight with everything turned off except the fridge and freezer, TV's/computers sleeping and a single light) is 225W. I guess that's mainly the fridge and freezer, which is pretty good I reckon.

SoD makes a good point about the small things adding up with the 'high ticket' / short duration appliances being less important. I'm trying to convince my wife that it's still OK to use the electric kettle and the dishwasher! And convince myself that it's still OK to use the 2Kw lathe - actual turning time is a small fraction of workshop pottering time. With those lights on.

Workshop heating is the next thing to attack. I've been using 3kW electric fan heater, blissfully ignorant that I was using in an hour what the rest of the house uses in a day until I made these measurements.

Robin..

Try a sheet of hardboard £9 painted white or £8 plain it should take the roof curve OK. just fix at each end.

I use a 3 bar Leccy patio heater one one bar 600W on my back and move it around so suit where I am working.

Martin Kyte06/10/2021 16:30:43
avatar
2597 forum posts
45 photos

Sell the bandsaw and buy a hacksaw. You can turn the heating off then.

;O)

Martin

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